THE recent CASA pilgrimage to Lourdes which travelled in June had two very lucky escapes. The pilgrimage was scheduled to travel to Lourdes on Tuesday 11th June. Unfortunately due to a strike in France, the pilgrims were delayed in getting out. For some of them, who were gravely ill, this created great difficulties as they had no option but to spend Tuesday night in the Dublin City North Hotel.
As Wednesday morning dawned, their hearts were filled with hope that soon they would see the ‘Blessed Grotto’ in Lourdes. More delays were caused by the strike, uncomfortable hours were spent sitting on the aeroplane and it was not until Wednesday midnight that the weary pilgrims finally arrived in Lourdes.
However, for them, their pilgrimage began the moment they left the comfort of their own homes. Mass was celebrated in The City North Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday morning, and all of the pilgrims bravely regarded the delay as being just all a part of their personal journey to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Three wonderful days were then spent in Lourdes. The pilgrims visited the Grotto many times, took part in the beautiful candle lit procession, bathed in the baths of Lourdes, and managed to experience much of what is the magic of Lourdes. Sadly for some pilgrims, they knew their time was limited on this earth, and they would never get the chance to travel again. Those people more than anybody else, appreciated safely reaching the Grotto.
As the pilgrims were departing Lourdes on Sunday morning, the waters of the Gave de Pau River were rising. Within hours of their departure the whole grotto was flooded. In the comfort of their own homes, they watched on TV the frightening scenes of torrents of water flowing through the grotto. Many gave thanks for their safety.
130 people travelled on the CASA pilgrimage. The most privileged travellers were the fifty sick and disabled people who were treated with so much care and attention. They were cared for by volunteer doctors, nurses, priests, nuns, and many lay carers. Each sick person received one to one care for the duration of the pilgrimage. The carers were plucked from all walks of life, everybody feeling privileged to be able to spend some time with those brave people.
The CASA pilgrimage to Lourdes would not be possible without the fantastic support which they receive in Cooley. On behalf of the sick and disabled who travelled, and those who accompanied them, CASA would like to express their gratitude for the constant support which they receive in Cooley and surrounding areas.
The next parish collection for CASA will take place in October.