We had a wonderful pilgrimage to Lourdes last week, with 90 pilgrims – our thanks to Canon PJ, Sue and the support team, not least our youth, for organising us so well. The pilgrims came from across the Diocese, and included some of our seminarians, youngsters and staff from Oaklands School as well as priests and deacons. The weather was mercifully overcast for a lot of the time, sparing us the intense heat that everyone back home endured. We flew directly to Lourdes-Tarbes airport on Monday from Bournemouth on our own charter plane, although there was quite a long delay to the flight and so we got to the Hotel Solitude late in the evening. Even so, we were able to have Mass and a late supper, before the first full day of the pilgrimage. Every day we had Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church together and Mass. On Tuesday, after the group photo on the steps of the Basilica, one group visited the Baths whilst the other went on a walking tour of the town to see the place of St. Bernadette’s birth, the mill where the family worked and the cachot or prison room where they lived after the bankruptcy of the business. We joined the Torchlight Procession. On Wednesday, we participated in the impressive International Mass in the St. Pius X underground basilica and after lunch. went on an excursion to Gavarnie, up in the Pyrenees, the source of the River Gave that flows past the basilica in Lourdes. That evening we had a Holy Hour with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick in the chapel Mater Dolorosa, the first basilica built in Lourdes and consecrated in 1876. On Thursday, the Tour de France came through town! Even so, we were able to do the Stations of the Cross, with an opportunity to visit the Chapel of Reconciliation. That afternoon, we paid another moving visit to the Grotto, where I deposited the diocesan Prayer Intentions and lit the Diocesan Candle. We then joined the Blessed Sacrament Procession, of which I was the main celebrant, and returned for supper and an entertaining social evening. Friday morning was free time before lunch and the return to the airport for the flight home. As it happened, the return flight was delayed but it didn’t matter as it gave us even more time in Lourdes; the hotel kindly provided us with an early supper before heading to the airport. We got back to Bournemouth late and a little weary, but full of gratitude to the Lord.