Tuesday, 29 April 2008

My Favourite Place...

I love Lourdes. I may have mentioned this before!

Anyway, the annual Parish Pilgrimage to Lourdes is at the end of the month, and I am the lucky soul who gets to do all the organising.

There was a rumour that the Holy Father was going to be popping along too... I heard it from the hotel owners last year, and also from a nurse who assured me that the hospital room where John Paul II had stayed last had been booked for the 31st May.

It seemed too good a chance to miss, and so we extended our stay by a day and moved it to include the weekend. Sadly, it seems that the Holy Father has changed his mind (I refuse to believe that two totally independent sources could both plump for the exact same day by pure chance!)

Anyway, I've managed to arrange the times of Mass for the group - the main difficulty with this is persuading the Shrine authorities that we want Mass in a particular chapel, and will move the Mass to whatever time is necessary. Of course, the official tour operators are more interested in herding their pilgrims round to various attractions according to a military-style timetable, which is why they often end up taking groups over to some of the more austere* chapels... and it is also why we no longer use the tour operators!

*I'm attempting to be charitable. For "austere", substitute "Protestant, minimalist, garage-cum-broom-cupboard"!

5 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

that little rumor sounds like the thing hotel operators mention so as to encourage other people to book there.... yawn! It's a new one on "George Washington slept here...."

Mac McLernon said...

Karen, spoken like a true cynic... but the hoteliers we stay with are really nice people, and they bend over backwards to give us as many rooms (provisionally booked) as we want, and they give us a great deal of leeway for finalising numbers etc. This year was a little different simply because of the Jubilee, but they still allowed us to provisionally book a year ahead.

It's our regular week for the pilgrimage...

...and the manageress actually told me it was a rumour, and suggested waiting until February or March to confirm any change to our usual stay, as they'd know for definite by then.

...and the nurse had no contact with the hotel. She was Irish (I think) and we just happened to get chatting... she was volunteering at the hospital where JPII stayed, which is how she got to hear the rumour.

Cathy said...

I've been telling anyone who would listen that it was a 'dead cert' that Papa Ben would go to Lourdes for 31 May. I'm going to have to keep my head down for a little while now! Thankfully, I had the good sense not to believe my own hype :-)

Brendan Allen said...

He's going in September!

Elizabeth said...

Who knows the Pope may still surprise you!!!

I love Lourdes, can't wait to visit again, maybe next year?

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