This morning we had the traditional Mass with the theme of the family up at the Cathedral in the Trees. It was lovely and warm. In his homily, Father Paschal Ryan, who was the chief celebrant, spoke of the significance of Catholic Social teaching and how, very often, it's in the family that we first learn to share and to care for the needs of others. He reminded us that we must always protect the family even when it goes against the grain of, and is a scandal to, current secular social thinking. He was able to give illustrations whereby he's learned that other religious groups such as the Mormons and Evangelical Protestants are discovering the value of the traditional teaching of the Church in this area.
I said earlier in the week that I would tell you more about the Jumbulance. I've now had the opportunity to speak to Krystle Dayalan, who's leading the Jumbulance team. She's very enthusiastic about this part of the pilgrimage.
They started with a challenge as you might expect with any new venture but she's been learning every step of the way. The Jumbulance pilgrims are staying in hotels, rather than the hospital and they are receiving one-on-one care. A family member or a carer is sleeping in the room with the malade, so it's quite like home-from-home for them. Even though they're a small group, they're aware of being part of the wider pilgrimage and there have only been one or two events at which it wasn't suitable or appropriate for them to be present.
Everybody is very pleased with the way the Jumbulance has integrated into the whole pilgrimage and we're definitely hoping that it will become a permanent feature.
We were meant to lead the Blessed Sacrament procession this afternoon but it was too hot so the entire liturgy took place in the underground basilica. Westminster still led the event though. The place was packed but at least it was quite cool. The liturgy was very dignified and moving, as you might expect.
And so to Thursday night. Once again, one of our pilgrims, Michael Slater, had prepared a sing-song-come-open-mike concert for us and many of us gathered in the bar of the hotel Solitude for a convivial evening of song and laughter.
It hardly seems possible that our pilgrimage is nearly over.