To describe our pilgrimage to Lourdes as incredible would be a huge understatement. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and have made memories and friendships which I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Something which really struck me was the incredible atmosphere between everyone in Lourdes. Knowing that Our Lady has brought us all there links everyone in a way which is completely special, unique and unlike anything I have ever experienced. The phrase “diocesan family” was used many times throughout the week and I think that really sums up the atmosphere between all of the pilgrims.

I really enjoyed spending time with the VIPs and pushing them to the Masses, services and events we had scheduled each day. This was also a great opportunity for me to get to know them better and also to hear their amazing stories. Many of our pilgrims have had some incredible adventures in their lives! I cherished these opportunities because it is not often that there is time to just sit and listen; however this is something which is hugely important in Lourdes and was very beneficial to me.

The atmosphere within the Youth section was absolutely incredible and I loved spending the week with such lovely people. We had a fantastic time together, growing in faith and friendship as the pilgrimage progressed. Our evening trip to Bartres was especially memorable, in particular being able to visit St Bernadette’s parish church and the hillside where she worked as a shepherdess. The Emmaus walk we did on the way back was also a great experience and I really enjoyed getting to know other people in the group a bit better. We had a fantastic time again on the fancy dress night- it was great to let our hair down, have a dance and show off our outfits!

After loving last year’s pilgrimage as much as I did, I thought it couldn’t get any better… But it did and now I can’t wait to go back for the third time!

Anna Jordan (Pictured as 'S')