Every year Comunità Cenacolo has participated in the Pilgrimage of O.F.T.A.L. (The Federation for Transporting the Sick to Lourdes) based in Cuneo, Italy, from August 3 thru August 8. At the sanctuary of Lourdes, a group of girls from Community, Sisters, missionaries and friends from Peru and fr. Michel arrived in Lourdes after participating in the Festa della Vita in Italy. The pilgrimage consisted of a total of 650 people dived between 2 airplanes and 11 buses including two buses of the sick and two buses of youth, young men 14 - 16 years old from Saluzzo and Cuneo led by Fr. Bernardino and other priests. They came to be closer to the world of sufferance and to experience a stronger faith, prayer and commitment to service. The busses were chosen rather than using the train, to make the journey quicker, more organized and more comfortable for the various groups attending the pilgrimage. The penitential celebration at the Basilica of St Bernadette included the meditation of Fr Mauro Biodo, the responsible for religious services, who introduced us to the sacrament of reconciliation to ensure us a clean heart in meeting our Lady at the Grotto. The silent passage into the grotto with the sick let us into the Spirit with this pilgrimage. It is here where Comunità Cenacolo is present to serve the sick, providing the little necessities and offering them friendship, joy and many smiles.
The celebration of the Holy Mass at the Basilica of St. Bernadette opened the pilgrimage. At the grotto was the anniversary of marriages, ordinations of priests and religious professionals and at the Basilica the rosary was lead by S.E. Cavallotto Monsignor Giuseppe, bishop of Cuneo and Fossano and president of O.F.T.A.L.
The homily of by the director of linguistics, proposed questions for personal reflection and poetic images that have helped us reflect on our journey in this year of faith. At the Sanctuary, Fr. Paolo, Responsible of O.F.T.A.L., presented a simple spirit of Lourdes using the figure of St Bernadette to welcome the participants and those with the stretchers who are in the 1st and 2nd year at the Chapel of St Josefh.
There were strong moments during the Procession of the Candles with the sick, at the Stations of the Cross on the lawn, the Pools, the Eucharistic procession, the International Mass for the pilgrims at the basilica of Padre Pio, the guided visit at the Sanctuary Basilica, the house of Bernadette, the River of Lourdes and the Stations of the Cross at Calvary.
The group of youth participated in a moment of testimony, Adoration and confession at our fraternity, The Virgin of Providence, then followed by testimonies that Andrea and Roberto offered on the stories of their life and the joy to be part of Comunità Cenacolo with pilgrims and others personnel.
We were also able to visit the girls at our fraternity in Bartres, Mother of Mercy, and to celebrate the birthday of Sr. Maria Pia with song, dance and testimonies, living together a moment of joy.
Then we were guests at a Festival of Joy at Accueil at St Frai where there were popular songs, dances and fun of Piemote, home of Cuneo.
The guys of the youth also involved the sick in simple dances and we from Comunità Cenacolo animated the songs with dance and gesties.
How beautiful it was to have lived these moments together in diverse realities where we all collaborated together as one body.
We thank Cesare Parola, director of O.F.T.A.L., and his wife Franca for offering to Comunità Cenacolo the opportunity to participate in this year’s pilgrimage. We also thank them to be able to serve our suffering brothers while enriching our hearts with an experience of much love given and much joy received.