In a different style of report, “Lourdes Pilgrimage 2017” provides a narrative organised in a series of interviews, photos and video clips. It is hoped that this will reflect the energy, the humanity and generosity of spirit that was so evident on this pilgrimage.
Interviews with Team Leader, Mr. Dave Postlethwaite, members of staff and young pilgrims, by Mr. Bruce Hicks.
Bruce Hicks: How many years have you been going to Lourdes?
Dave Postlethwaite: I have been to Lourdes 26 times and 18 of these, have been as a pilgrimage with Archbishop Beck Catholic College.
Bruce Hicks: Do you realize that you have travelled 37,752 miles, and that is not counting all those marathon runs you do while in Lourdes, so I feel that we could easily move that up to 40,000 miles. That is quite a stint! But why Lourdes 26 times?
Dave Postlethwaite: Well, this is a unique place and each pilgrimage has been different. It is a calming place, a place to think of other people and you come to the conclusion that you are indeed very blessed in your own life.
I want our young people in the college to experience the joy I got when I went with my school all those years ago. As one Year 11 parent said to me recenlty “There are certain things in life you can measure but you cannot measure the change I have seen in my child following their pilgrimage to Lourdes, Fantastic.
Bruce Hicks: What is the funniest memory of your trips to Lourdes?
Dave Postlethwaite: Well, asking a priest how do you get promotion in the church? He said he did not know but when I found out I could let him know.
We now move to other Pilgrims
Bruce Hicks: Why are you on the Pilgrimage 2017?
Mrs Jessop: It is something on my bucket list, I have always wanted to go to Lourdes, I knew my husband would never take me so I was truly delighted to be asked to travel with the group.
Mrs Howarth: For me it was a return visit after an absence of 11 years, I wanted to come back it seems that I was being drawn back, I felt it was for me personally the right thing to do at the right time in my life. I felt an almost magnetic pull back, or maybe Our Lady saying, please come and be part of Lourdes 2017. There is such a message of hope in Lourdes , where people show witness to their faith, all on a journey for different reasons, but all drawn to Lourdes.
Dominic: For me this was my third time in Lourdes. I really love the atmosphere of the candlelight procession. It is so hard to put into words this experience, but experience it you do!
James (Year 11): You get to realise how tough it is for some people when you see them in Lourdes. It is such a calm, peaceful and amazing place. I was just so keen to return.
Kieran (Year 9): This was my second time to Lourdes. I like being part of a group of like-minded students. So good to hear, and watch the story of Bernadette. I am really looking forward to taking in the atmosphere again.
Katie (Year 8): I liked my experience last time and really enjoyed the wide range of experiences that came my way. I am very excited for the 2017 pilgrimage.
Part of the wide range of experiences was a stop in Paris for a late evening cruise on the river Seine. Following this interlude back on the coach, overnight journey to Lourdes.
We arrive in Lourdes - Sunday
We gathered as a group to celebrate Holy Mass with our dear friend, Father Paul from South Africa. In his homily Father Paul told our students to do 3 things.
- Look at the stories in the Gospels, see how they relate to you and your life.
- Try always to pray, so that you can hear what Jesus is asking of you, but take things seriously.
- Do what the scriptures tell us. Try to be obedient to their message and do what Jesus asks you to do.
We were delighted that Molly and Lucy were readers at the Mass.
We now turn to the Candlelight Processions. We ask students for their responses.
Bruce Hicks: What were your thoughts on the candlelight procession?
Isis (Year 8): This was a very different experience, I had never seen the like of it before. It was beautiful, the singing amazing, it was a magnificent night. I also enjoyed the trip up the mountain top earlier in the day.
Bruce Hicks: What brought you to Lourdes 2017?
Olivia (Year 10): I had been when I was in Year 8 and just loved it, and wanted to come again. The grotto, the procession, the river really catch your imagination. On my first pilgrimage I was praying for my Aunty Pat who was very ill at the time and, who has since died, so I wanted to come to Lourdes to remember her in a special way, light a candle to her memory and pray and pay my respects to my Aunty Pat.
(On a lighter note, Olivia had an attraction to the goat herd on our visit to the Lourdes Zoo. Olivia earned the title of “Goat Whisperer of Lourdes”)
Mr Postlethwaite sums up the 2017 Pilgrimage:
Let us conclude with a prayer composed by St. Bernadette's. "Grow Jesus, grow within me, in my heart, in my spirit, in my imagination, in my senses, through your humility, your zeal, your love. Amen"
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria Lourdes 2017.
Finally, special thanks, prayers and blessings to those who helped us travel to Lourdes 2017
- Phil Fletcher Trade Line Shipping Ltd.
- Liverpool Faith Group 2017 Peter Bull.
- The College PTA
- The parents and friends of the college who supported our fund raising activities.
- Sainsbury's for allowing us to bag pack in their store on Rice Lane.