'Called to serve' – HCPT 2010 Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Group with Brother Michael Strode

Group with Brother Michael Strode

This year’s annual Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes of HCPT – The Pilgrimage Trust attracted groups from many UK and Irish Dioceses and from as far afield as Croatia, Romania, United States and the West Indies. The lively Trust Mass on 8 April was celebrated by Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam Diocese, President of the Trust, and the congregation of 4,800 included 1,600 disabled children. The bishop used signed language for the deaf throughout the service. The theme of the Mass was 'Called to Serve' and large ‘hands’ could be seen waving in time with the hymns throughout Lourdes’ underground basilica. The dedication of thousands of young people to the pilgrimage was particularly remembered in the bidding prayers.

In the congregation was Brother Michael Strode, who, as a young doctor, brought a group of disabled children to Lourdes 55 years ago and founded HCPT – The Pilgrimage Trust. He is now a Cistercian monk at Caldey Island in Wales. Each time he visited the Grotto, groups lined up to meet him and he greeted all the children with great enthusiasm.

HCPT – The Pilgrimage Trust brings disabled children to Lourdes annually during the week after Easter, organised in small family groups and each group with a chaplain and a nurse. Around 200 groups went his year, and helpers wore distinctive sweatshirts and hats, and even luminous headgear in the torchlight procession. Seminarians with Westminster’s Allen Hall seminary group reflected that the week was “the best pastoral experience of the whole year”.

For more information see: www.hcpt.org.uk.   
A webcam of the Trust Mass can be seen at: www.dailymotion.com/video/xcvh18_video-de-la-trust-mass-2010-du-hcpt_webcam

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