Friday, 4 August 2017
The West Fife Lourdes Group had our annual trip to the Marian Shrine in Lourdes from 20th to 29th July 2017. For this trip we had 20 pilgrims including 9 sick / disabled (our VIPs) on our specially equipped Across Jumbulance which has 18 reclining seats and 7 beds. The journey from Lochgelly to Lourdes was a very long, but not unpleasant one. During the journey we had meals, prepared in our on-board kitchen, served by our very willing and able helpers and we travelled via the Channel Tunnel.
Our Parish Priest, Fr Chris Heenan was our Chaplain for the trip, and we were also joined by three of our senior Altar Servers: Chloe Jaconelli, Michael Doherty, and Orla Kerr who worked very well with our nurse and other regular carers and helpers giving the best care possible to our VIPs. The weather was very changeable in Lourdes, much like our Scottish weather, but this did not stop us doing all we had planned including our, at least daily visits to the Grotto and taking part in torchlight and Blessed Sacrament Processions. However, there were some really warm and sunny spells and we were very fortunate to have these during the two picnics we enjoyed.
We stayed in the Mediterranee Hotel, which is only a short walk from the Grotto, and in the evenings when we relaxed before bed Fr Chris very kindly entertained us with his excellent accordion playing. This was enjoyed, not only by us but by many others including English, Italian and Irish pilgrims. Our nine days together in Lourdes was a truly wonderful and uplifting experience for all of us but especially for our VIPs, some of whom would ﬁnd it very difﬁcult to travel without the special equipment provided by Across on the journey, and in the hotel. Not to forget of course the excellent care given by our team of helpers, without whom the trip would not be possible. Tom Condie (Group Leader).