Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Note from Lourdes

During these days of Easter week I am in Lourdes with the Irish Pilgrimage Trust. I have travelled with a group of the Trust each year since 2001. Somehow, Easter would not be the same if I were not in Lourdes for Easter. Despite the terrible weather here, the people of the Irish, English, American, West Indian, Slovakian, Romanian, Welsh, Scottish and Croatian trusts have brought colour, vitality, joy and a palpable sense of prayer to Lourdes. It is unlike any other week in Lourdes - and I must say a week that should really be experienced by many.Just a very brief history of HCPT: It was founded by an English doctor, Michael Strode 52 years ago. On bringing some young people with special needs here, he decided that they should not have to stay in hospitals but should, like all other pilgrims, be accomodated in hotels. He was responsible for setting up the Trust pilgrimages in such a way that each group would provide one-to-one care to the young people and that each group would have a leader, health professional and chaplain. Through his vision, the Trust has grown immeasurably and is a sign of hope in a world that often fails to see beyond the faces of people. Michael Strode is still alive and well. He should be justifiably proud of the legacy that he has left behind.

The Irish HCPT website is

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