Enjoying Lourdes

As it is the summer half-term break, I am in Lourdes as customary, with some pilgrims from the parish. This year, we are joined by Fr Charles Briggs and some parishioners from St Mary's Chislehurst, and Fr Bernard McNally. This means that we can have High Mass - as we did this morning in the Crypt Chapel of the Parish Church; the people there are always very helpful and hospitable. We will have High Mass again tomorrow for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Yesterday, Fr Briggs celebrated a Low Mass at which I gave some catechesis along the lines of the practice of Pope St Pius X when he was a parish priest. This need not be too intrusive (I hope) but is a way of helping people to participate spiritually at the Mass. Yesterday's Mass was the votive Mass of St Bernadette and today we celebrated a votive Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes.

As usual, our pilgrimage coincides with the large diocesan pilgrimages from Birmingham, Middlesbrough, and Plymouth. On Monday, Fr Briggs and I met Archbishop Bernard Longley who has been appointed to Birmingham since our last visit to Lourdes. We hope to see him again to catch up since we both overlapped with him as students at one time or another.

Yesterday we did our Stations of the Cross, with me leading one group up the Espelugues Hill and Fr Briggs leading another group on the Way of the Cross on level ground in the Prairie. This afternoon we will be taking a trip to Bartres to see the parish Church which St Bernadette attended when she was staying there. Some will also go to the sheepfold that she knew. Then it will be back for the nightly Torchlight Procession and Rosary.

I will remember all of the readers of this blog at the grotto where Our Blessed Lady appeared to St Bernadette and commend to Her Immaculate Heart all of your intentions.

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