Greetings to all! 18th September 2012
I am pleased to say all of us returned safely and mostly without incident although there was a hiccough at Manchester where Stuart’s carer became lost and Stuart needed to be rescued by Anne Marie and Colette.
We all return from Pilgrimage on a high but this year there was a special atmosphere running through the week. It was, perhaps, a combination of the weather, the return of helpers after a break together with the injection of new volunteers all sharing and praying with our core supporters. We have come to expect Fr Leo to take his customary starring role but he is ably supported by Fr Vincent, Fr Cecil and Deacon Chris. Talent new to us emerged as Barry took centre stage entertaining us not only on our party night but during the week as well. Plus, too, a certain teacher from Essex!
Our pilgrimage means so much to so many people although this year the planning was fraught with difficulties through a change in the flight arrangements from the North West plus the difficulty in securing sufficient early volunteers with medical skills. Special thanks to Angela who along with Tony and Catherine have to make difficult decisions about who we are able to take and to care for. Sadly, this year we did have to turn down prospective applicants who, in many ways, because of their disabilities or illness were the more deserving. 2013 will be different if we continue with the existing support and that all involved with the pilgrimage act as ambassadors and publicists. Tell your friends and neighbours and encourage nurses and doctors to join us.
As Fr Leo says, everybody makes a contribution and highlights of our week included our Mass of Anointing at St Savin where we always receive a warm welcome. Following the Mass we enjoy a picnic in the warm sunshine but, as last year, there were games involving water and instigated by leaders who should know better. Loyalty demands we do not name names.
Our dates for next year, 2013, are already reserved: from Monday 2nd September until Friday 6th September. Next year will be a significant one for Ellen as reaches her majority and she will have completed her first 50 years on pilgrimage with Raphael: we may even hold a party. Indeed, the pilgrimage itself should be our 60th and so this ought to be a reason for a double celebration.
I will be pleased to receive any feedback, suggestions, memories, photographs so that we might publish some either in a newsletter or on our website. Thank you for your contribution to the pilgrimage.
With best wishes and looking forward to next year in Lourdes.
Paul G Affleck
If you would like to make a comment to improve our pilgrimage please feel free to do so, my email address is: