So.... We are here! Lourdes is an amazing place. But I'm getting ahead of myself. So, let's start at the beginning...
Tried to blog last night but with all the techno-geeks in our group I was unable to access the French internet. Sorry about that.
So, on Aug. 10, in Fort Wayne over 80 of the pilgrims gathered at St. Vincent de Paul, (others gathered in South Bend) for a blessing by Bishop John M. D'Arcy, bishop emeritus, who spoke of his own pilgrimages of past days.
We boarded busses after fond farewells and were transported to the Detroit airport. It's been reported that at WYD pilgrims from across the globe meet and trade cultural items. So some of us crafted rope rosaries as we traveled the highways to share with our Catholic friends from abroad.
We arrived at the Detroit airport with time to spare and boarded our flight after having dining on subs and burgers. We shared laughs, stories, books and even prayers for safe flight. After spending over eight over night hours in the air we touched down in France! The weary travelers found our way to our connecting flight that would take us to Toulouse.
Waiting at the de Gaulle airport was a hoot! One glazed over pilgrim extended her hand in greeting when the French customs officer asked for her passport. We all got a laugh out of that as we made our way through customs. One group left at 1:15 and the other made it out after 3.
The first bus load arrive just in time for 6 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Rhoades at the St. Pius X Basilica, concelebrated by Bishop McFadden of Harrisburg and many other priests. After the prayerful Mass we walked to the grotto. Oh my, what a sacred place to see. Many knelt to pray before the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes while others washed in the healing waters. I have witnessed many prayerful tears and contented smiles as we walk this journey.
Walking back to the hotel, the Arcade, we met up with the recently arrived second group for dinner and then off to bed. Some courageous souls even ventured out for gelato!
Early Mass this morning at the Ss. Cosmos and Damien Chapel, movie of St. Bernadette and a prayerful penance service at Mater Dolorosa. I have so many stories of conversion already to tell you but I'm off to the baths with some of the pilgrims. More later.