For the second time the school joined in the Catholic Schools National Pilgrimage to Our Lady's Shrine at Lourdes, which took place during the Easter holiday. Once again our number was a round dozen, and we assembled at Westminster Cathedral along with some eighteen hundred other pilgrims on the afternoon of Wednesday, 1st April. There is an atmosphere which is really indescribable about this assembly. It seems incredible that any sort of order can be achieved with so many children of different ages and sizes, literally all over the place. Nuns in their dozens shepherd little groups with the authority and air that one usually associates with them. Coaches arrive and disgorge their human contents, whilst other groups wait patiently for the inevitable late-comers. Eventually all are assembled in the Cathedral for Benediction and the Pilgrimage has commenced. It would be impossible to describe the events which followed in detail. One can only recall details and hope that the imagination will do the rest.
One recalls the rough sea crossing - the long train journey through France and the thrill of arriving at Lourdes. The excitement of getting to the hotel and settling into rooms; the first visit to the Grotto and the impression that this leaves; the coldness of the water in the baths, the sight of the sick pilgrims, and the realisation of how lucky one is to have good health; the taking part in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the torch-light procession at night; the trip to Gavarnie, the little village high up in the Pyrenees, and remembering how it snowed most of the time we were there; the hunt for souvenirs to bring back, and the memories which the word "Lourdes" recalls for all those fortunate enough to visit it. Perhaps one day we shall be able to return, and we are thankful to those who made it possible for us to go - Our parents and families.
A feature of the National Pilgrimage is the number of handicapped children who, go each year, under the devoted care of the handicapped Children Pilgrimage Trust. This year 240 children went to Lourdes, and we from the school were particularly interested, since we had undertaken to sponsor two boys. We started out to collect for one, but such was the generous response, that eventually we collected enough to send another. A total of £78 was the sum obtained, and we hope to be able to collect enough this year to Sponsor another two children. If any reader would like to help, would he please contact Fr. Louis at the school, as all donations will be gratefully received.
The following boys made up the school party: B. Gillespie, M. Howlett, G. Borgeat, I. Bloodworth, T. Fanning, T. Brophy, D. Steel, E. O'Connell, J. Murphy, A. Korek, G. Burke, K. Hussey.
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