Joy: That was the theme of Bishop Paul McAleenan’s homily and perhaps the most resounding emotion on the third day of our Lourdes pilgrimage.
We started the day with our Anointing of the Sick service for the pilgrims which may not strike us as joyful, and yet the presence of the Lord was clearly with us in this sacrament to offer healing, and joy radiated from an emotional congregation.
Having had lunch, we then made the short journey into the hills to Cite St Pierre, also known as the Cathedral of Trees, for Mass. Many of the pilgrims will surely not celebrate the Holy Eucharist in a more beautiful setting, a setting for which we were able to give thanks to the Lord.
Bishop Paul, in his homily, repeated the words from the first reading from the Prophet Zephaniah: ‘Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! The Lord your God will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.’
The Lord our God is a dancing God, full of joy and happiness that he wants to share with us, the assembly heard.
At the end of Mass, seminarian Francis Thomas spoke for a short time about his vocation with vigour and humour, inviting us all to support vocations to the priesthood in the many ways we are able!
In the evening, for those who sought some quiet after three eventful days, an hour of Adoration was held as preparation for Adoremus, the Eucharistic Congress taking place in Liverpool in September. In the quiet, and in front of our Lord Jesus Christ, the assembly shared a beautiful hour of prayer in communion with one another.
Please be sure to check Flickr for all the photos from the day, and if you want a photo tomorrow be sure to stop Jakub and ask!
This morning, ahead of the Anointing of the Sick, Cardinal Vincent recorded his daily video message:
The day through the eyes of a seminarian…
Lourdes presents us with a glimpse and vision of what we hope the kingdom of God will be like. The sick, the disabled, the poor, those in most need and those suffering the most are put first and prayed for most fervently. As I continue the early stages of my formation for the priesthood, I embark on an adventure with great trepidation but also hope and joy because I know that as long as I 'Do what ever he tells you', then all will be well.
Francis Thomas, Allen Hall