The Diocese of Dunkeld Annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes has again been a resounding success, reports Andrew Kelly.
After our overland group left Dundee on Tuesday 9th July, the main pilgrimage group, led by Bishop Stephen Robson, flew from Edinburgh on 12th July to join them in Lourdes. We were also joined for most of the week by a group from Xaverian College in Manchester, who helped the Dunkeld group in the Accueil Notre Dame.
With pilgrims in the Hotel Esplanade Eden, the Hotel Panorama and Accueil Notre Dame (where pilgrims who required medical assistance were accommodated), the pilgrimage participated in a busy and spiritually rewarding itinerary, starting with a penitential service, where each pilgrim had the opportunity to go to individual confession.
Each day, the entire pilgrimage came together for Mass in a different church within the Sanctuary. On Sunday, Dunkeld led Mass in the Grotto, before participating in the Blessed Sacrament Procession that afternoon.
Pilgrims were given the opportunity to be led in the Stations of the Cross – the physically demanding “High Stations” or the more accessible, but no less beautiful, “Low Stations”.
On Tuesday, we all travelled to Bartrès, a town near Lourdes where St Bernadette spent much of her youth. Mass was celebrated at the parish church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, with the Sacrament of the Sick and the opportunity to venerate a relic of Saint Bernadette offered to those in attendance.
That evening, Dunkeld participated in the Marian Torchlight Procession – most of the pilgrimage group took part in the procession, but some were able to join the choir.
On Wednesday, the group split for Mass, with some attending Mass at the Grotto (led by the Archdiocese of Glasgow) and some attending the International Mass in the underground Basilica of St Pius X. That evening was the party night, where a variety of very talented performers entertained the entire pilgrimage.
Thursday was our final full day in Lourdes, and after the Closing Mass, some pilgrims went to the Baths while others participated in a short prayer service on the banks of the river.
As well as helping those who needed our care, the youth had plenty of time to relax, with time off shift spent in various cafés around Lourdes, catching up with friends new and old. A number of helpers went to see “Bernadette: The Musical” while others visited the town centre.
On Friday, the flight left Lourdes airport, with an easy journey straight back to Edinburgh, while the overland pilgrimage made their way to Orléans. The youth then spent a couple of days at Disneyland Paris before returning home – a well deserved reward for a week of working hard!
For more information about the week, including reflections from the volunteers on each day of the trip, see the pilgrimage website – https://dunkeldlourdesservice.com/dunkeld-lourdes-2019/