Over the May half term, a group of 39 students and 5 staff made the journey to Lourdes for the last time as part of the old “St Bede’s” pilgrimage with the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes. On a beautiful sunny Friday we set off on the coach, excited for the week ahead.
After a long 22 hour journey, broken up by rounds of Bingo and sing-a-longs, we arrived early morning, ready for our first croissant. Wasting no time, we set up at the campsite and headed into town, ready to start with a welcome Mass.
Our days were made up of early starts, to help with the breakfast service for pilgrims staying at the hospital (and in some cases also lunch and dinner service), helping out at the train station with boarding travellers, carrying banners and representing our school, making sure the less physically able could get to where they wanted to go, and of course making friends with the pilgrims and other helpers alike. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny for the start of our trip, with only one really rainy day, which resulted in a trip to the seaside with all the boys and a special group of pilgrims.
Our evenings were full with treasure hunts with the Holy Family pilgrimage group, the torchlight procession, and several entertainment evenings, at the last of which the boys sang a very moving version of Baeda and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Before we knew it, it was time for the farewell Mass and the long trip home. We left early afternoon, completely exhausted, but with the satisfaction of knowing we had helped so many people, and had so many new experiences, that will stay with us and enrich our lives.
It was an absolute privilege to be invited to go on this trip, as the boys were outstanding. The staff received too many compliments to count regarding the boy’s behaviour, attitude and work ethic, and it was wonderful to see them getting as much out of the experience as the people they were helping.
Next year, being the first co-educational Year 10, the boys and girls will be will be going together to Lourdes with the Diocesan pilgrimage in late June/early July. A big thank you must go to the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes for allowing our boys to work with them for the past 28 years. Report by Miss A Baggott