For the past 40 years, groups have travelled from all over Ireland on Easter Sunday and participated in a unique week in Lourdes. Together with friends from the wider community of HCPT, over five thousand pilgrims enjoy this unique experience every year. In 2012 The Trust was honoured by our 40th anniversary of travelling to Lourdes by celebrating Mass in the underground basilica on Thursday morning. The theme for 2012 Pilgrimage was Praying the Rosary with Bernadette.
The groups share a wonderful fun filled week together that includes playing games on the Prairie, a day trip up the Mountains, fancy-dress parties, large Masses full of music and colour, the Candlelight procession, visits to the Grotto and sharing in the water from the spring that Bernadette uncovered in 1858. While no week is the same year after year and no group follows the same programme, there are certain characteristics which make up a visit with The Trust to Lourdes.
Each pilgrim with The Trust is assigned to a group and are identified in Lourdes by their group number. From the first moment at the airport each pilgrim becomes familiar with this number and wears it with pride during the week in Lourdes. While there can be a certain reservation by 'new' comers at the beginning of the week within a few days it becomes the most natural thing in the world.
Often it is only when we return to Irish soil that we become self-conscious of walking around with funny hats, colourful sweatshirts and numbers!