Our Mass this morning was at 8am in the Crypt chapel, the first to be built and the only one to be visited by St Bernadette herself. The relics of St Bernadette used to be housed here in one of the side chapels. This meant that people at Mass were often distracted by people shuffling round to venerate the relics. They have been moved now: I’m not sure where and I intend to find out. This is one of the many small practical improvements made by the Shrine authorities. Mass in the Crypt Chapel is now uninterrupted and the addition of an extra pair of glass doors in the corridor leading to the chapel means that it is much quieter than before.
After Mass, some of the pilgrims watched the official film about St Bernadette and in the early afternoon went on the tour “In the footsteps of St Bernadette” run by the very efficient shrine guides. They give a tour which is historically well-informed, doctrinally sound. The guides are friendly and full of faith which they gently share with their pilgrims.