Lourdes was one of my best experiences ever. I was unsure of what to expect but once I arrived the feeling was so extraordinary. The group that I was with were all class crack and they really made an impact on me enjoying the experience. Lourdes is so peaceful and every part of Lourdes is so peaceful and every different part of Lourdes, be it the Baths, the Chapel of Bartres or even being in the hospital with the assisted pilgrims brings a new fantastic feeling. I couldn’t believe the feeling I got after I went into the baths for my first time. You’re ducked into the water and you get soaked in cold water for only a second and you come out dry. When I heard this I didn’t believe it but it’s true. The feeling is indescribable. The assisted pilgrims also made a huge impact on my experience in Lourdes. They were all full of life and they really appreciated our help. I remember when I had to say goodbye to the assisted pilgrims and I felt really sad afterwards and I guess I hadn’t realized the impact that the assisted pilgrims made on me until I had to say goodbye.
The group all got to take part in different services like becoming a minister of Holy Communion or alter serving and every one enjoyed there part. We got to read at masses, play music doing the high stations and everyone in the group made a special effort to entertain the assisted pilgrims at their party. When all jobs were done, we’d all go mess around the town and buy some souvenirs and then we’d all have class crack. Even though we were all wrecked the following mornings and fighting to stay awake, Lourdes was an unbelievable experience. It was so much fun and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The experience has made a huge impact on my life and I definitely intend to do it again.
The five days I spent as a youth helper were unforgettable.
It was an almost magical experience that today is indescribable in so many ways. The feeling of satisfaction that I felt in Lourdes was one was one of the best feelings in the world. Listening to the stories of the assisted pilgrims and forming friendships with them was truly inspiring.
I made many good friends, both young and old through the course of the pilgrimage. I made new friends with other young people from across the diocese and was privileged to have the chance to experience behind the scenes of Lourdes as a youth helper.
It was truly rewarding helping the assisted pilgrims and making their pilgrimage as enjoyable as possible. It was very hard wok with very early mornings involved and very little sleep but the rewards from putting a smile on the faces of the pilgrims, made everything else worthwhile. Throughout the course of the pilgrimage, I experienced many incredible things and spoke tp many incredible people. One of the highlights of the pilgrimage for me was definitely the Torchlight Procession and our final visit to the Grotto.
The Torchlight Procession was magical. There was just something very calming about the whole atmosphere of that evening as each one of us held our candle into the darkness of the night. There is definitely something magical about the atmosphere in Lourdes. The peace and solace I experienced at the Grotto on the final night before we returned home was one of the most peaceful moments I have ever experienced in my life.
Being a youth helper in Lourdes has undoubtedly helped me to become a more serenely confident person. It has helped me to have more confidence in myself and in my abilities and to have a more positive outlook on life.
Being a youth helper in Lourdes was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am extremely grateful to have been given. I enjoyed every minute of it and know that someday I will definitely return and one again experience the tranquil, soothing atmosphere of Lourdes.
Sarah Jane Reilly
Travelling to Lourdes as a Youth Helper was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I really enjoyed the togetherness of the whole group. It was fun to be part of a team and to have a purpose (focusing on the needs of others). It is hard to explain, but I really felt Our Lady’s presence in Lourdes. I found the whole experience very calming and peaceful. My favourite place was the grotto, I really enjoyed the night that we lit the candles. Everyone had their own space and was allowed time to pray. The candles were very long, at least 15 inches and they stayed lit for hours. The grotto was very dark, but was aglow with candles. It was a sight to see. I made so many new friends and we’re going to keep in touch. Mostly, I enjoyed meeting and helping the assisted pilgrims.
There is a lot of physical labour while helping the assisted pilgrims. One of the main jobs of the Youth Helpers is to pull the chariots, long distances. The most challenging area to pull the chariots is going into the underground basilica. The incline was very steep and it was necessary to make a chain, which means pulling your own chariot while supporting the chariot in front. It was a little bit scary, but we were able to manage it with the help of each other.
I really think a lot of work goes into the organization of a pilgrimage and it should not be taken for granted. I think Fr. Declan, Ms. Flanagan and Frank are a good team. I always felt at ease in their company and greatly appreciate their guidance. Taking part in this pilgrimage has made me more outgoing especially in the workplace. I work part-time in a shop and I am very attentive to those who need extra help, especially the elderly. Additionally, when I was in Lourdes, I was commissioned as a Minister of Holy Communion and I look forward to serving in my local church as well as in Moyne C.S.
Overall, Lourdes was the BEST experience EVER! I really hope I get the chance to go again.
Sinéad Breslin- 5A1