HCPT in #Lourdes: ‘Let your light shine’

The HCPT group from London outside the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes.

Nearly 2,500 pilgrims went on the 2024 Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes of Hosanna House and Children’s Pilgrimage Trust, including around 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children. Hundreds more joined the main HCPT Trust Mass online.

“Let your light shine” was the theme of the pilgrimage, based on Matthew 5:16.

With the Scottish HCPT region leading liturgies, the Mass last Thursday in the cavernous underground basilica started with large screens showing a light being passed around areas of Scotland with HCPT groups, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and John O’Groats.

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell was the main celebrant at the Mass with seven other bishops, and around 60 priests. Scotland’s newest Bishop Frank Dougan of Galloway was there as a group chaplain and deputy regional chaplain for Scotland. The five seminarians for Motherwell Diocese were there too. Bagpipes were played during a Mass with a strong Scottish flavour and a tartan cloth placed on the altar.

Bishop Toal told The Tablet after returning home: “I spent the week in Lourdes with Group 121, a group made up of young adults and their helpers from Scotland. I was group chaplain and enjoyed being part of the group liturgies and activities as well as the liturgies for HCPT, which the Scottish region led this year.

“The model of living together in family groups for this week in Lourdes creates its own atmosphere of caring and sharing and it certainly lifts our spirits and helps us to appreciate the gifts and talents everybody has and has opportunity to show in the group we become part of for this special week. When we are trying to understand better what it means to be a synodal church, the HCPT group structure offers an example which people love to be part of and live their faith in a joyful and loving way.”

Andy Clare of HCPT told The Tablet: “We’re immensely proud of our dedicated team of volunteer helpers, chaplains, and nurses who join us in making a profound difference in the lives of so many disabled and disadvantaged children and young people.”

The HCPT Easter pilgrimage was started in 1956. Other key events this year, when all 104 groups came together, were a Blessed Sacrament procession and a torchlight procession with displays of luminous headgear and battery-operated candles.

The week saw chapels around Lourdes hosting regional and group Masses, marked by popular music and children’s participation. Groups in their distinctive colours could be seen praying at the Grotto, doing the Stations of the Cross, visiting Bernadette’s humble house and singing in cafes. Most groups had decorated large candles to place in the Grotto area at the end of the pilgrimage.

Groups were from throughout the UK and Ireland along with international groups from Italy, Poland, Croatia, West Indies and the U.S. During the week there was a meeting to advance the cause for canonisation of the founder of HCPT, Brother Michael Strode


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