26 July 2023
This month 30 young adults from our Diocese travelled to Paris to begin a World Youth Day pilgrimage. World Youth Day week takes place over six days, beginning with an Opening Mass on 1 August and concluding with an evening Vigil and Final Mass with the Pope. During the week, pilgrims from all walks of life attend Catechesis sessions and unite in prayer and the sacraments. A Youth Festival will also take place each day where pilgrims can reach across barriers of language and culture and celebrate together their Catholic faith.
So far our 30 World Youth Day pilgrims have visited Paris, Lisieux, Lyon, Nevers and Lourdes. A highlight was the time spent in Lisieux which is the home of St. Therese of Lisieux. The pilgrims visited the Basilica of St. Therese of Lisieux and celebrated Mass in the crypt of the basilica. This was followed by a tour through the Basilica. They then visited the Carmelite Monastery where St. Therese was cloistered. This contains the body of the Little Flower. It was said that St. Therese's presence lives on strongly in the village.
The group also visited the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous in Nevers. St. Bernadette of course received the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes, the convent where St. Margaret Mary Aloque had the vision of the Sacred Heart and the birthplace of Suzanne Aubert just outside of Lyon.
Another highlight was on Sunday the pilgrims had a very blessed time in Lourdes where Bishop Michael celebrated Mass in the Grotto. Afterwards the pilgrims joined an evening candlelit procession from the Grotto of Apparitions to the Rosary Basilica They have now arrived in Fatima, Portugal where they will begin the Days in the Diocese events.
Our NZ pilgrims at the Grotto in Lourdes.