Our pilgrimage to Lourdes is one of the highlights of our year. Over 700 people from the Diocese of Leeds travel to Lourdes each year. Over half of these are young people in Years 10 and 12 from all over the Diocese. Famous for wearing our yellows, the youth section of the pilgrimage love serving the sick pilgrims and assisting the hospitality team as together we draw closer to Jesus through Mary.
Be ready to be surprised!
In a world that often seems obsessed with money and fame, the Lourdes story provides a sharp contrast. It’s the startling encounter with Our Lady of a small, poor, sick, barely-educated 13 year-old girl. Since it happened, millions have made the pilgrimage to Lourdes and many, many lives have been changed for the better. What about Bernadette? Her name was known worldwide within her lifetime but she continued to live a simple, prayerful life. What did she want in life? Nothing but God’s love. How did she judge success in life? Her attempts to return that love.
Our journey to Lourdes is the result of that encounter. We take the place of Bernadette. We’re being challenged in the same way to acknowledge God’s love in our lives and to respond in love. Take time to think of that young girl. Take time to pray that you may find her strength of faith and belief. Most of all be prepared to be surprised by the talents and strengths, the capacity to show love, that you discover in yourself during this week of pilgrimage and encounter with God.
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
“Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by the newness that Christ alone can give. May his tenderness and love guide our steps.”Pope Francis