At 1:30am on Saturday 25th May, two members of staff and six students met at school, a little bleary-eyed, but ready for the week ahead! Some knew what to expect, having experienced this pilgrimage before, but for others, it was brand new. For everyone however, the memories from this special trip would certainly be unique and extraordinary.
A mini bus journey to Stanstead airport was full of excitement and trepidation, but before we knew it we were on the plane and on our way to Lourdes! We arrived at the hotel before lunchtime and explored the area before the pilgrimage officially began on the Sunday.
Our first duty was to welcome all schools in the Diocese to the introductory Mass, then later on we observed the torchlight procession at the heart of Domain, which was magical. Seeing hundreds of people come together in faith and unity clutching candles, representing their love and commitment was incredible.
Other duties throughout the week included leading Grace at the Accueil (this is a hospital based in the Domain, near to the churches. People who are unwell stay there and are cared for by volunteers). We also led night prayer, read in Mass (in front of hundreds of people!), carried banners that represent the Diocese and St Thomas More and participated in the night procession. All students carried out their roles diligently and respectfully. They were truly fantastic ambassadors for St Thomas More.
Other highlights of the week included a trip to Giovanni, a wonderful mountainous town, a concert led by Jo Boyce, an evening of fun, music and togetherness. Also, leading our own evening prayer at the Grotto, where we lit candles for our loved ones and our St Thomas More community. Again, the students were a credit to the school and demonstrated such love and respect.
Lourdes – a place where back in 1858 miracles happened and a young girl named Bernadette saw Our Lady, the Virgin Mary. In 2019 we have seen for ourselves that it is still a miraculous and special place. It is a place of fun, laughter ad fervent faith. I look forward to spending more pilgrimages with our students in the future!
Mrs C Rowley
(Special thanks to Mary Bridges, Mr A Blank and students, Charlotte Parry, Molly-Anne Cooper, Jessica Bullock, Daniel Ridgway, Oliver Heath and Hayden Peake.
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