The Raphael Pilgrimage to Lourdes: 1098328
Our Lady of Lourdes
Pilgrimage Programme & Application Forms
Main party travel
Youth Group travelling by coach
Travel details from other locations
Accommodation for the sick
How to apply?
How much will it cost?
Chief Medical Officer
Leonard Cheshire VC
Treasurer and financial matters
Why must Raphael be a charity
Declaration of Trust
Terms of Reference
Health and Safety
Financial Management, Control & Accounting
Disclosure of Abuse
Review of Raphael Operations and Management
The Gilbert Thompson Memorial Fund
Trustee awareness of Charity Commission Act 2011
Children on the pilgrimage
2002 2003 pilgrimage
Requiescat in Pace ARCHIVE
Guest Book Archive
WORKSHOP 2009 - South (Archive note)
WORKSHOP 2009 - North (Archive note)
Michael Arditti's visit toLourdes with Raphael...
Lourdes 2008 : Flikr contribution
2009 pics & comments
Dedication Service September 2009 (Archive note)
Raphael Reunion in the South 2013
Catenian Association Bursary Fund
REUNION IN THE NORTH 2013
In memory of....
'Raphael - Looking to the future' A workshop day for all
Group picture 2009 zoomed in! (Plus other pics)
|If you came to Lourdes with us this year then please send in your pictures to go on the website.|
How to send in pics
|Please email your pictures as an attachment to
When emailing the pictures....
|...please only send in a maximum 5 pictures per email.|
Please send pictures .jpg format
|The pictures are then sized down to fit onto the site.|
Do send some text to go with the pictures...
|...so that a bit of dialogue can go with the pictures.|
These are pilgrim comments
|I came to Lourdes as a helper and although it took me a long time to recover, it was worth every second.
It was a fantastic week. I have come back feeling energised and committed to Raphael and have (fingers crossed) lined up my parents to look after our daughters next year so hopefully both my husband and I can come. So many parents from my school have asked about Lourdes & even expressed interest in coming too, I'm sure numbers will continue to increase.
My stay at the Accueil Notre Dame...
|.... was a wonderful experience. From the beginning, I never felt alone. There was always someone to help me. Nothing was too much trouble, for the band of helpers. I shared a room that had two bathrooms and looked out onto the Domaine. I would thoroughly recommend it to other disabled people whatever their disability. I will certainly be back!
It was a privilege....
|...to be part of the 2009 pilgrimage. It was my first visit to the Baths and it was so moving and a wonderful feeling. The young people were so kind and helpful. They were fantastic and I would love to meet them again.
What a laugh! When Fr Leo started talking the bell rang: trying to tell him something!
|Thank you for a great Pilgrimage
Wonderful week !!
|Thank you for a wonderful week we have both really enjoyed ourselves. As members of the Raphaël family we have a sense of pride and warmth. Roll on next year.
Gerard and Katerina.
The spirit of cooperation....
|.... and care was very evident. Strangers became friends and a tremendous amount of healing was achieved.
Thanks once again. Cheers.
2009 was my third time in Lourdes...
|... so I feel that I know quite a bit about the Raphael pilgrimage and the people. I was introduced to Raphael by two people from my church, Chris and Jane Koe, who have helped out for several years. I really enjoy it each time I go. I now feel like I am meeting new friends. The accommodation is good and you never feel alone. The itinerary is packed but also allows for some free time. The day out on the Wednesday is good and allows some variety to be brought into the week. I particularly like the fact that for the three years that I have been to Lourdes the days out have been in different places. The highlight of the week for me this year was the Jubilee Way for the Sick and the free time afterwards that allowed me to visit more of the places associated with St Bernadette. I am told that I managed to wear my helper out with the amount of walking we did!
This was my first ever trip to Lourdes.
|This was my first ever trip to Lourdes.
I had a fantastic time in Lourdes and I have penciled next year into my diary.
From our director...
|The sun shone on Raphael during our Pilgrimage in 2009. Indeed, it was unbroken sunshine throughout our entire stay. Our pilgrims were sunny, too. Perhaps it was the sun which first dictated the tone of our pilgrimage.
Our first Mass was not till late in the day of our arrival. We had to wait till evening for the Manchester flight bringing Fr Leo and nine fellow pilgrims from the North West and further. However, even the venue of the Chapel Notre Dame, which is not the best place to celebrate a liturgy, seemed right for the occasion.
We are fortunate to have such engaging priests as Fr Leo and Fr Vincent. Like the pilgrimage itself, they were few in number but great in stature. We were twenty assisted pilgrims staying in the Accueil Notre Dame with two doctors, ten nurses, some twenty five in the youth group and some forty other helpers. The atmosphere on pilgrimage was one of intimacy and prayer. During the reconciliation service held on the prairie many were visibly moved. We visited the new Stations of the Cross on the prairie before making our passage through the Grotto. It was appropriate that the Hospitalité Chief on duty was a man called Raphael. We had our pilgrimage photograph taken and repaired for lunch.
Our Mass in the afternoon was celebrated in the Chapel of St Joseph which is just about the right size for our group. Because of the intense heat, it was decided not to walk in the Blessed Sacrament Procession in the afternoon. Instead we went into the underground Basilica of Pius X and watched on the big screens and waited the arrival of the Sacrament and the Blessing of the Sick. In the evening, we attended a new liturgy, a Service of Dedication at which helpers make a promise to Our Lady and to her sick pilgrims in Lourdes.
Wednesday was the day of our picnic at the City of the Poor. We chose to use the altar at the Cathedral of the Trees where three thousand seats have been carved out of the mountainside but the approach means a steep climb. It was our Mass of Anointing and most, if not all, of our pilgrims were anointed. It might have been our Mass of the Cloches since it seemed that each time Fr Leo went to speak the large bell behind us sounded.
After Mass we descended the hill to the cairn where he held our picnic and had entertainment until the coaches came to bring us back into Lourdes.
Not everybody was well enough to go on the outing and although we had ordered packed lunches for everybody all the lunches were loaded onto our coach. This meant there was nothing for the two Accueil pilgrims who had not travelled. We need not have worried. The Pilgrimage from Dublin came to our rescue and from their kitchen provided a veritable feast which was served to our two pilgrims.
Wednesday is also the day of our attending the Torchlight procession.
Thursday is our last full day in Lourdes. We had Mass in the morning in St Joseph’s Chapel and attended the Baths in the afternoon. In between we divided into two parties for a short visit to places associated with St Bernadette: the Boly Mill where she was born and the Cachot where the Soubirous family lived at the time of the apparitions. After the Baths and sometimes, perhaps instead of the Baths, pilgrims took the opportunity to visit the town and to go shopping.
In the evening we had further entertainment with the lads from Stoke providing their inimitable rendition of Singing in the Rain. Others, too, were brave enough to get up and perform their party piece including some risqué jokes from a certain Frank. Stuart, too, was on form drawing on his repertoire of songs. Arthur, too, showed his talent borrowing a guitar and singing ballads from Ireland.
Friday comes all too quickly. The Accueil was transformed from our base for the week into a sparkling empty shell awaiting its next visitors. We celebrated Mass in the small chapel of St Paul and almost straight afterwards a coach came to take the Manchester pilgrims to Lourdes Airport.
As much as the preparation for the pilgrimage requires time and attention to detail, the execution requires teamwork. The various heads of department Vickie, Francis, Angela, Catherine, Rachel and Danny worked seamlessly well together and with Frs. Leo, Vincent and Deacon Chris very much on song we enjoyed a prayerful and fulfilling pilgrimage.
It was a satisfying week for the directors who twice encouraged pilgrims to spread the word and to become ambassadors both for Lourdes and for Raphaël saying ‘We are not diocesan based and we rely on word of mouth to promote our pilgrimage. You must be our mouthpiece and you must do what you can to recruit new helpers of every description, particularly priests, doctors and nurses’.
We offer a heartfelt thank you to all those who came on pilgrimage. To our clergy, musicians, doctors, nurses, handmaids and brancardiers. We would like to think that as many as possible will return bringing friends and family. Special thanks to the Youth group which provides a necessary impetus to the pilgrimage. Perhaps one day some of these will be able to return to Lourdes
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