Kirsten Friedman, a student at the University of St Andrews who is on her first trip to Lourdes, reports on the pilgrimage on Tuesday.
Tuesday was one of our busiest days yet. In the morning we headed up to a little town called Bartrès, about 15 minutes north of Lourdes. St Bernadette lived there for a number of years and we had our morning Mass in the church of St John the Baptist, where she had her Catechism lessons. Again, we were joined by Bishop Stephen at this Mass, who helped administer the Sacrament of the Sick to our assisted pilgrims.
After Mass, we had a picnic at a nearby café before getting the bus back to Lourdes. It was, as ever, incredibly warm and sunny so a lot of ice cream was consumed!
The highlight of the trip for me (so far) was the Torchlight procession later that evening, where many different pilgrimages join together to process around the domain with candles, singing hymns in honour of Our Lady and praying the rosary together. Most of our group processed behind the Dunkeld Banner, but some, including me, joined the choir for the procession, which was incredible.
In the choir we were grouped together by the language we speak, and there were many different language groups including English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, and Russian. The Hail Marys in each decade are started by a few people who are selected from the choir, and I had the honour of leading three of the Hail Marys in English. The view over the domain, looking out at thousands of people holding up candles and praying the rosary together, is something I’ll never forget.