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‘Don’t be too rushed, don’t be too busy.’

This was the advice shared by Cardinal Vincent in his homily at the opening Mass of our 2023 Lourdes pilgrimage, as he implored each of us to take the opportunities that the Lord gives us to deepen our relationship with him.

The encouragement was given to travellers from Westminster as they gathered at the St Bernadette Côté Grotte to celebrate a votive Mass in honour of St Bernadette in thanksgiving for the visit of her relics to the UK.

The Cardinal recalled the beautiful memories of the relics’ visit to Westminster Cathedral, before highlighting the risk of being caught up in the many activities of this week in Lourdes.

‘Make time and space so you can let the message of Christ, coming to us through Mary, find a home in you. Don’t be too rushed, don’t be too busy. Our timetable has a lot of space in it, so use those times in peaceful quiet to let that message to find a home in you.’

Before this, in the morning of our first day, many pilgrims took the opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross. Cardinal Vincent led the Lower Stations, which attracted many of those who cannot climb the steep hills of the Upper Stations, as well as many of the Redcaps who are in Lourdes to assist them.

Simultaneously, Bishop John led the other group in the Upper Stations, including many pilgrims who were making their first visit to Lourdes.

As the sun sets, it is fair to reflect that it has been an intense and full-on day; however, it has been a day in which the Lord has acted in our lives. In the midst of these activities the Lord brings each of us exactly the gifts that we need, and we will head to our beds knowing that he will be with us once more tomorrow.

Please pray for us, and be assured that we are praying for everyone back home.

Michael, a seminarian, has been working hard to get as many beautiful photos as possible so please do take a look!