And again this year this wonderful group of parents and friends was ready and willing to get on the bus that would take them to Lourdes! It was also nice to be accompanied by our priests: Father Massimo and Father Rinino who, with their good mood and prayer helped make the journey more pleasurable , they were even able to make it seem shorter. We arrived in time for dinner and then… we went straight to the Grotto to greet “our Mother” who was waiting for us with a gift: exactly there we participated in the mass concelebrated by Father Massimo and followed by adoration and a Eucharistic blessing and there the peace started to enter into our hearts.
The next morning we went to the Grotto again for the mass celebrated by our priests and animated by some of the boys and girls of the Community who were able to meet their parents, embrace them and pray together with them.
After mass we were all invited to a catechesis given by Father Nicola, a priest from the sanctuary of Lourdes, who surprised us with his availability and deepened certain aspects of the personality of Saint Bernadette which filled our hearts with admiration for her: we felt very very small comparing ourselves to this girl who was so humble and we couldn’t do any less than reflect on how long we still must “walk” towards our conversion.
After lunch the bus took us to the girl’s house at Bartres; where we were invited by the Community to a penitential meeting with the possibility to become involved with the sacrament of reconciliation. During each day of the pilgrimage there was the invite towards God’s mercy, that with faithful love waits for us and never tires to wait for us, just as our Pope Francis said.
We got back at 6 o’clock in the evening for the rosary at the Grotto and then late in the evening or during the night there were some who came back for some time to “talk to Mary”, by themselves, one to one with her… and to be healed by her. The silence of the night encourages more confidence, the ability to listen, prayer and thanksgiving.
The next day, after mass in the basilica above, the boys were waiting for us at their house “Virgin of providence” for lunch, exquisite as always. We discovered from what we were told by Franco, the responsabile, why the house was given this name, the fruit of one of providence’s true miracles! After a moment of calm with the recital of the rosary in the chapel, we went back into the hall where in the mean time the girl’s of the Community had prepared a funny play. Each one of them gave their best showing commitment, fantasy and earning our admiration. The day ended with the “au flambeau” procession that, blessed by an abundant rainfall, saw also some of the dads of our boys and girls of the Community proud and honored to carry the statue of the Immaculate Virgin.
Saturday: the last day of the pilgrimage. Seeing as it wasn,t possible, because of the rain, to do the stations of the cross on the hill, as an alternative we visited the places where Bernadette lived with her family and the museum that collects some objects which belonged to the saint and which illustrates her life. In the afternoon we participated in the pre festive mass , celebrated by our priests and also in the rosary at the Grotto which was also prayed by our very own Father Massimo and Father Rinino linked with Mother Elvira in Italy through TV 2000.
We finished our pilgrimage in the evening in the best of ways: in the adoration chapel, guided by Father Massimo and accompanied by songs sung by our boys and girls from the Community to adore Jesus and thank Our Lady for having welcomed us one more time into this holy land and for having taken us by the hand to meet her son.
We realize that we’ve received many gifts: the encounter with God’s mercy, the peace in our hearts, the embrace with our children or with our friend’s children, the forgiveness, the intense moments of sharing, the testimonies, the friendship and above all the certainty to be loved very much by God and his mother, so much that we know we’ll never be left alone, even in the difficult moments.
Thanks to the Community for this opportunity, we won’t let it escape next year either!