Meeting our Guide
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The religious area was one block from our hotel. I planned to do the religious parts of the trip on my own, but Tiron came with me to make sure I was settled.
We walked past all the trinket stores, crossed a street, then through the large gates and down a wide hill.
At the bottom of the hill, we easily found the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and starting looking for the green sign that said Day Pilgrim in English. We noticed Day Pilgrim signs in other languages, as well as people putting flowers in the fence surrounding the statue.
This place was MUCH larger than I expected, in every way. Across from the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, there is a cathedral with beautiful mosaics. There were also two large, temporary white signs in front of the cathedral saying Lourdes Cancer Esperade. (Lourdes Cancer Hope) in large green letters. The cathedral had a paved area in front of it, I suspect for gathering.
The information building was nearby with a sign pointing to the bookstore around the back. There were a few other relatively non-descript buildings. One had a large sign in English: CONFESSIONS.
Looking back toward the entrance, there was a steady stream of pilgrims filing in.
Among them walked a woman carrying the green Day Pilgrim sign in English. She was thin, with grey-blonde hair, maybe in her late 60’s. She had pale skin and a calm voice.
“Hi, I’m Rose. I’m from the United States, and I have the honor of being your guide.”
Rose described the schedule for the day. I could do any of it that worked for me.
9:00 Mass in English with Fr. Brian (pronounced Bree-un)
10:30 Way of the Cross with Fr. Patrick
2:30 Tour of St. Bernadette’s life in Lourdes
5:00 Eucharistic procession
9:00 Candlelight procession
Tiron returned to the hotel, and my day began.