Day Three was Sunday, and so it was a busy day! We had a veryyy early start to the day as International Mass began at 9.30am and we were aiming to be in the Underground Basilica for 9am at the latest, having processed with the VIPs in their chairs from the various hotels to the Basilica.
International Mass is always one of my favourite parts of the pilgrimage. Having everyone from all over the world come together for Mass is a really special and unique experience. This year, the Bishop presiding over Mass was French, and so the majority of Mass was said in French. However, all of the readings were read in several languages (including English) and all the hymns included at least one verse sung in French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and a couple of other languages. Attending International Mass in Lourdes really helps you to realise how worldwide the Catholic Church is, and how we may speak different languages and have different cultures, but the one thing we have in common – our faith – means that no walls can exist between us.
After Mass, we took our VIPs back to their hotels for dinner, before returning to our own hotel for our own meals.
It was then time for us to head
back to the hotels to take the pilgrims to the Reconciliation service which was being held in the Underground Basilica. This was a lovely service and the music was especially beautiful during the time of confession. It was nice for everyone to come together at this time and for us to receive God's forgiveness at this point in our pilgrimage.
After this, we had a few hours of free time to spend with the other pilgrims. My friend Rachel and I took the VIP we'd been pushing to the service out for a drink in a cafe just outside the domain. We spent a good hour or so just chatting with her, sharing stories and having a laugh. It was really lovely for us to be able to get to know her more and to just spend that quality time with her.
A while later, we returned to our hotel where we had tea before going to get ready for the youth fancy dress night. A group of us had planned our outfits beforehand, and so we all went as characters from Alice in Wonderland. It was so much fun to all get dressed up and it was clear that the other pilgrims really enjoyed seeing us be dressed in our costumes and enjoying a night off.
After we'd been out for a drink in a local bar, we went back to our hotel because Mass at the Grotto in the morning was set to be a very early start!!
[To be continued tomorrow…]