Over 300 pilgrims gathered in Lourdes from July 6-13 for the annual pilgrimage of the Ampleforth Lourdes Hospitalite. The pilgrims included Fr Abbot and nine other monks: Fr Geoffrey Lynch, Fr Luke Beckett (Spiritual Director to the Pilgrimage), Fr Chad Boulton, Fr Edward Corbould, Fr Francis Dobson, Fr Gabriel Everitt, Fr Hugh Lewis-Vivas, Fr Philip Rozario and Fr Julian Stead (Portsmouth Abbey). Fr Jock Dalrymple (E75) of Edinburgh Diocese was also present.
Before work began, there was a chance to visit the either the male or female Cenacolo Communities on the outskirts of Lourdes where groups of those recovering from drug addiction live and work in community, and sell examples of their own artwork.
The Ampleforth pilgrimage included hospital pilgrims, current and former students and staff from Ampleforth College, Abbey parishioners, and students from Mayfield, New Hall and Portsmouth Abbey School, Rhode Island. Highly varied weather included one shower of giant hailstones, and accompanying heavy rain. Fortunately, both the Blessed Sacrament and Torchlight Processions were unaffected. An attempt to lead groups through the low-lying Stations of the Cross opposite the Grotto had – however – to be abandoned, due to torrential rain.
Fr Abbot preached at the Grotto Mass on the Feast of St. Benedict – shared with a large group of young people on the Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage – at which Bishop Arthur Roche presided. Although overnight rain prevented use of the open air amphitheatre at Cité St. Pierre for the Mass of Anointing, a brave decision by medical staff to defy the drizzle and change to a nearby alternative venue – wheeling the sick uphill to a chapel slightly below the originally-intended site – was vindicated.
Among awards conferred at the closing Mass, Mrs Norma Campbell received her Hospitalité medal for her 25 years’ service to the Ampleforth Pilgrimage.