Cleophas - Lourdes.jpg

I cannot wait to go back to Lourdes one day because my adventure was truly fun and amazing as I had to reflect on my faith and also to help children.

When Fr. John told me that I may have opportunity travelling with HCPT group 56 From Preston to Lourdes I couldn’t believe at first because I thought he was joking as Lourdes is one of the places I studied about during my High school and wished to visit.

Being a non-European citizen, the journey to Lourdes wasn’t easy at all as I had to do some paper work like applying for French Visa but I can’t thank enough both my team leaders at Castlerigg Manor and Mr. Richard of HCPT group 56 who provided me with necessary support.

Lourdes is well known to millions of religious pilgrims, but you don’t have to be religious, to enjoy a trip to Lourdes as it has a lot of attractions that everyone must enjoy ranging from good weather to nice hotels.

My aim in Lourdes was not to stay in Five-star hotel but to serve God through serving his people as HCPT takes vulnerable people especially children to Lourdes every year.

I am a person who believes that we don’t need to be strong church attenders in order for us to prove that we love God but we need to focus on helping people as the best way of serving God.

This year’s HCPT pilgrimage theme was summarised in three important words that is “YOU ARE IMPORTANT” indeed through sermons from different preachers, Priests, Deacons and Bishops I became to know that everyone is important and that we all deserve the same.

I can’t explain enough, my time in Lourdes but what I can say was a well spent worthy Easter week as I met different people but mostly to see a place where Mary met Benedetti, the little girl who became a source of faith to people both young and old in this world.

I remember many people in wheelchairs at all the processions and services, the pilgrims who waited patiently to take their turn in the baths near the grotto. Over 25,000 pilgrims gathered in Lourdes in the shrine, several huge basilicas and churches dominated the grounds.

My favourite moment was when my face was painted by our HCPT group 56 members and also to hold Group banner during torchlight processions for which Lourdes is famous, a flickering ribbon of light held by pilgrims singing hymns of praise in a long line of groups of men and women holding large banners aloft bearing the names of their cities and churches

I can’t finish my experience in Lourdes without talking about grotto the most respected small place in this world because I considered it to be the heart of the sanctuary.

CLEOPHAS TUKAMARWA