In six more days, my friends, the group of 120 pilgrims from across our diocese, including yours truly, will be bussed to airports in Chicago and Detroit to take flight to Paris, France. We will not be long in Paris, as we fly immediately out to Toulouse, also known as la Ville Rose or Pink Town, in southwestern France. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France and is known for its large university and aerospace center. (Can you find it on the map?)
From Toulouse we bus to Lourdes where we will spend Aug. 12-13 in spiritual retreat. Lourdes is a market town at the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous, of course, for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes that are reported to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous. Our Lady visited with St. Bernadette in the grotto of Massabielle some 18 times, where Bernadette is said to have dug in the very ground where the healing waters of Lourdes now flow.
I'm so excited about this opportunity to experience Lourdes. As a young girl, I chose St. Bernadette for my Confirmation name after learning about her inspiring life story. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to actually walk that sacred ground. I've already begun to pray to my Confirmation saint for a rich and moving visit to this site.
From Lourdes the group will travel to Burgos, with its grand Gothic-style cathedral, with a stop in Loyola, where St. Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1539, hales from. Read more about him here. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1093
On Aug. 15 we'll depart for the five-day WYD event in Madrid, with the overnight stay at the vigil site on Aug. 20 and Papal Mass on Aug. 21. These days hold so much promise for our youth and all who attend. God is good!
The spiritually energized (and bone-tired, I suspect) travelers will arrive home late Monday, Aug. 22. I'm so pleased to be a part of this spiritual pilgrimage and hope to bring you exciting reports and lots of inspiring photos as we go. So come along as we journey toward God.
In prayer and joy!