Faith in Practice
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 Saturday 14th July.
The theme of the pilgrimage this year was based on the last recorded words of Mary in scripture, which were spoken at the Wedding in Cana, "Do whatever he tells you." The focus was on listening to what God was asking us to do and acting upon it.
Our first night in Lourdes featured the World Cup final and as France were in the final there was a great atmosphere in the hotel. The French flags were out in force after the result!
The group then celebrated their first mass in St Joseph’s chapel, a small underground chapel in the domain.
The assisted pilgrims arrived on Monday after long delays and a weary group of pilgrims celebrated mass together at 10.15pm! We then visited the grotto for evening prayer, a truly inspirational place for prayer, particularly at night.
After a late evening we then had a full day of duties, students had to have their pilgrims at the grotto for mass at 8.30 am, then to the baths by 10am. After lunch they had the Stations of the Cross and in the evening 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. The Trinity group then did a quick tour of the dwelling places of St Bernadette, ‘The Boly mill and Le Cachot’. After a catechesis session on the rosary, the group then attended the rosary service at the beautiful Rosary Basilica. The Torchlight procession that evening was taken indoors due to torrential rain and thunder storms. Pilgrims processed around the Underground Basilica whilst reciting the rosary. It was the first time the procession had taken place indoors, so we became a part of Lourdes history.
It was another early start on Thursday for mass with the anointing of the sick. The Diocesan candle was then lit and processed down to the candle area in the domain. Students then spent time with their pilgrims and 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 Blessed Sacrament procession which in the heat of the afternoon proved very challenging for everyone.
The torchlight procession went ahead outside and the Nottingham Diocese were once again given the honour of carrying Our Lady’s statue.
On Friday we had our closing mass in the open air, at the Autel de l’Esplanade’, in the domain, another beautiful setting . 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.