Ampleforth Lourdes Pilgrimage
The 2023 Ampleforth Lourdes Pilrimage ran from 14 - 21 July 2023 with 250 Pilgrims journeying together.
Build a Church
The theme of Lourdes this year was "Build a Church", part of the message Our Lady told St Bernadette.
This year our Pilgrimage had a real feeling of building community and an active Church body amongst those who accompanied each other for the week.
We were delighted to have so many pilgrims returning with us from previous years, some rejoining after a long break and others back for their second time this year, joining the Ampleforth Pilgrimage Hospitalite. There were many new pilgrims this year, who quickly became part of our Pilgrimage family and brought new life to our community.
A real highlight this year was that we were blessed to have so many enthusiastic younger helpers, many having recently left Ampleforth College, some recruiting friends from University to join them. We were also extremely grateful to the staff of Ampleforth College (UK), Portsmouth Abbey (USA) and Sacred Heart (USA), who brought school groups to join us.
The Assisted Pilgrims and Younger Helpers, supported by so many experienced hands, as well as our fantastic Clinical Team, made this Pilgrimage very special.
We are very grateful to have had the spiritual guidance of a fantastic team of six Ampleforth Monks, one Monk of Portsmouth Abbey, two Secular Clergy, other religious and lay Chaplains, who made the week so full of prayer and meaning for all who came.
A busy and happy week
The week in Lourdes was full and happy, with a variety of activities, processions and Masses on offer every day.
At the heart of the Pilgrimage were the 9 Groups, each made up of a cross section of all types of Pilgrims. On the first full day the morning was spent together exploring the theme "build a Church" and getting to know each other. Half way through the week the Groups each had Mass together at different locations around Lourdes, and on the Wednesday the whole afternoon was spent together as a group doing different activites. By the end of the week, every group felt like its own family.
Ampleforth took centre stage at the Torchlight and Blessed Sacrament Processions, offering many pilgrims the chance to take on roles such as candle bearers, carrying the statue of Our Lady and other important roles. One Ampleforth Pilgrim had the great honour of reading the First Reading at International Mass on Sunday in front of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. We visited the Baths together as a Pilgrimage and were delighted to see so many Ampleforth volunteers working in there, supporting us through this prayerful experience.
There was time for socialising, with the ever popular Café Society taking place, outings for ice cream, drinks in the evening and meals together in the St Frai and hotels. There was also an evening of Praise and Worship Music and Adoration led by younger members of the Pilgrimage which was incredibly moving. The annual Ward Party saw fantastic acts offered by many pilgrims and everyone went to bed full of laughter and joy, ready for a good night's sleep.
And, hearing that Ampleforth was in town, Andrea Bocelli, the world famous opera singer decided to offer a special concert in Lourdes which many pilgrims were able to go down to enjoy!