Monday, 25 May 2009

And I'm Off...

Day 1 of the Blackfen Parish Pilgrimage to Lourdes... however, most of it will be spent travelling. We are starting in the best possible way, with Mass at the Lady Altar at 8:30am (well, that is the plan!) and then we'll have tea and coffee before boarding the coach to Heathrow Terminal 5.

I've never been to Terminal 5 - all I know about it is that they completely mucked up the opening and lost lots of luggage. I had originally planned to do a recce beforehand, but I have been so totally exhausted in the past few weeks that I just couldn't face it. I may regret this...

We are expected to land in Toulouse at around 5pm local time - that's 4pm British Summer Time - and will travel to Lourdes by coach, arriving at around 7:30pm. The hotel will have dinner ready for us, and I get to do my Courier bit by distributing all the room keys (no rest for the wicked) during the meal; we've found that it is simpler to do it this way, rather than everyone making a mad dash for the reception desk and the lift, especially as the dining-room staff will have been hanging on for us.

Then, for anyone with the energy, there is the Marian Torchlight Procession. This is such a moving experience: thousands of people walking round, praying the rosary, singing hymns, and raising their candles when the Ave refrain is sung. It is daylight when the Procession starts, and the light gradually fades... and by the time everyone has reached the square in front of the Rosary Basilica, the sky is dark indigo, lit by thousands of candles held up in the air... Mind you, given the timings, we'll probably only make it for the end of the Procession on the first evening.

I will probably finish off with a drink in the hotel bar and a chat with Odette (the night receptionist) before heading off to a very comfortable bed... 

6 comments:

E.F. (p.e.) said...

Every good wishto you and Fr. Tim and parioshioners for a fruitful pilgrimage.

Ches said...

It's now nearly twenty years since I was in Lourdes but, as a teenager, I went every year as a brancardier for a while. I still remember it all vividly.

Please say a prayer for poor, old, sick England while you're there!

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

On a plane! Cheats!

Elizabeth said...

How exciting, I love flying and I am sure the children will too. The thought of dinner on arrival sounds wonderful too, as for the Procession - well you could feel that you have one foot in heaven.

'Pray for me as I will for thee so that merrily we can meet in Heaven'

Enjoy the break, if you get the chance?

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Mulier Fortis. Because I am unable to join the Blackfen Pilgrimage to Lourdes, the next best thing (of course) is to follow the perigrinations on your excellent blog. Thank you for the first day's report. I feel as if I were there. I hope you will have lots of beautiful photos to appear on the blog. God Bless to Fr Finigan, you and all the pilgrims.

Patricius said...

Have a great time in Lourdes Mac! I shall pray for you all this evening at Mass, and if you get the chance, look at the post I put on my blog to see you off (something Elvish for a lady as Elvish, if I may make so bold, as Our Lady of Lourdes)...

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