Saturday, 4 June 2011
I remembered you all at the Grotto at Lourdes. We had a great week: the children were very well behaved and a credit to their lovely parents. The adults were not too bad either :-)
Mass at the parish Church in Bartres (above) on Wednesday was a particular highlight for me. It was moving to think that St Bernadette had prayed before the statues in the Church and that we could celebrate Mass in a form that she would have recognised. The pastoral team at the Church were friendly and helpful. (If you are taking a group and wish to celebrate Mass in the older form, there is no problem about using the High Altar in the Church.)
At the procession each evening, there was the customary large crowd. Some years ago at a school (not my parish school) I remember people complaining that Marian processions were a thing of the past. At Lourdes there is a daily disproof of this, with thousands of "people out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" singing Ave Maria with gusto.
At the end of the procession, priests are invited to go to the front. One of the Bishops who is present with a pilgrimage group gives the Pontifical Blessing. On Thursday night, Fr Briggs and I met our old friend, Archbishop Longley, who was looking after a large group from the Birmingham Archdiocese: