Following months of fundraising a group of students and staff from Trinity joined with groups from five other schools in the Diocese and departed for Lourdes on Friday 12th July.
The theme of the pilgrimage this year was ‘Blessed are the Poor for the Kingdom of God is theirs’
The first day was spent getting to know the other students from the other schools as well as finding their way around Lourdes and in particular the hotels their assisted pilgrims would be staying.
We celebrated Sunday mass in the beautiful Rosary Basilica and then did the High Stations of the Cross.
In the afternoon we took part in a water liturgy as we were unable to use the baths this year. Sunday evening saw the arrival of the assisted pilgrims and after welcoming them and settling them into their hotels it was time to watch the fireworks for Bastille day. For the rest of the week the helpers were on duty every day taking their assisted pilgrims to the various masses and processions throughout the week.
Our opening mass as a full pilgrimage took place in the open air, at the Autel de l’Esplanade’, in the domain a really beautiful setting. We then processed through the Grotto and were able to place the many prayer petitions we were given from loved ones and friends from home. The Assisted Pilgrims were taken to the Baths, followed by Rosary for Vocations, once again in the Rosary Basilica. The rosary was led by primary school pupils who were accompanying us on our pilgrimage. On Monday evening we took part in the Torchlight procession.
Tuesday was mass with Anointing of the Sick, followed by some catachesis work on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Trinity group then did a tour of the dwelling places of St Bernadette, ‘The Boly mill and Le Cachot’. We then took the Assisted Pilgrims on the Eucharistic Procession which finished with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Underground Basilica. That evening we took part in a Reconciliation Service.
Wednesday was the International Mass in the Underground Basilica. The school groups were then given some free time which was spent at Lac de Lourdes. It was a time to recharge the batteries and get to know each other better. Afterwards it was time to take the Assisted Pilgrims to stations of the Cross in the Prairie area followed by the lighting of the Diocesan Candle. At 9pm we took part in our second Torchlight procession of the week.
We had an early start on Thursday for mass at the Grotto, always a very special mass in the very place where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette. Students then spent time with their pilgrims and then after lunch there was a garden party in the beautiful grounds of the Hotel Galia. The entertainment was provided by students, staff and clergy. The sun was shining and it was a very pleasant afternoon. At 5 o’clock we had to be ready for the Eucharistic Procession which in the heat of the afternoon proved very challenging for everyone.
On Friday we were back in the Rosary Basilica for our closing mass. After a final shopping trip to buy presents and collect water to take home, the group left Lourdes, exhausted, exhilarated and with great memories of a school trip like no other.