No matter how much training we do before Lourdes, no matter how many checklists you tick off, no matter how many times you check your passport and prayer journal is in your bag. I never think we are prepared for what Our blessed Lord has in store for us during our week together.  

Life is so busy and it can be easy to go with the flow. But, what flow?
Pope Francis encouraged us to go on Pilgrimage in this year of Mercy which has really opened many hearts and pulled so many people back to him so we can see the face of our Father who welcomes each of us with open arms freeing us from our burdens.

Jesus is the ultimate face of mercy it has reminded me that the flow we need to be in is the flow of Christ. To be also merciful like him. To accept and be respectful of those around us in every challenge each person faces. Every person is facing personal struggles and we can be that face of Christ to others, we can be the hands of Christ. St Teresa of Avila says that “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” It is so beautiful and what an honour that God calls each of us to be like him to serve others.

Our lady again and again guides us to her son so we can reflect his light to others. We can do this in every moment and every conversation and have done this  during our time in Lourdes. I am so proud to be part of the youth service and I have learnt so much from so many people from the different teams the medical, the Brancs, the van men. From our wonderful pilgrims and assisted pilgrims, you bring so much joy spending time with you talking about life and sharing experiences. We are so blessed to have our priests who walk with us spiritually on our journey. Thank you all and a special thank you to the team of young people even though the number was small this year they did amazingly. Thank you to Fr John Millar who led the youth this year, teaching us about St Bernadette and how our Lord is so loving to all. Thank you to Daniel our seminarian, Kate and Charlotte our volunteer leaders who helped and supported every minute of the day (and night).

I thank the Lord for you all and thank him for all he does for our Diocesan family every day, in the joys and hard times.
For me this year in the Gospels Matthew 11:28 has reminded me to hand everything over so our Lord can help me (and you) with our pains, our hurt and he is with us every step of the way. Our blessed Lord will give us peace and happiness and we will find rest in him.

 You are all in our prayers.

Patricia

Castlerigg Manor