Thursday- 9th September
By Team Lourdes 2011
Author: Ailbhe Kelly
Today was our first full day in Lourdes and it did not fall short of our high expectations. We were all exhausted getting up at 5.45am but we were all so eager to meet our pilgrims and get to work. We were given the task of handing out leaflets in front of the grotto, so we got a chance to meet and chat to many pilgrims from Dublin, France, and Italy. Task one completed!
The mass was the first offical welcoming ceremony of the Pilgrimage. It was celebrated in numerous languages and the atmosphere in the grotto was amazing. We had the opportunity to see the Lourdes gift shops after lunch when we brought the sick pilgrims ( AKA VIPS) out to buy gifts and rosary beads for their friends and families.
There was a Eucharist procession at 4pm and all the volunteers and sick pilgrims made their way to the Grotto area where it begun. Everyone gathered together to observe the procession down the centre of the courtyard. Then, we made our way down to the underground Basilica with the VIPS where the prayers finished. It was a great experience to see so many people gathered together in prayer from so many different countries.
We finished our day with night prayer with all of the other fifteen schools represented here in Lourdes. The theme of Night Prayer was how we give service in the Kingdom of God. All of us were encouraged to reflect on the impact that we may have made in the pilgrims during the day. We finished our night prayer singing “Lean on Me” in candle light.
The day was exhausting but we met so many different and exciting people that we can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow! 🙂