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7-LOURDES-HCPT

A Lourdes pilgrimage to remember

By Amanda Connelly

THREE kind-hearted pupils at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, East Kilbride, took a group of children to Lourdes with the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT).

S6 pupils Nicole Lennox, Caitlin Johnstone and Antonia Milligan accompanied by English teacher Jacqueline Nelson, took part in the annual Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Trust, which takes children and adults with disabilities on the trip of a lifetime to the popular Marian shrine.

The three set off with the newly established HCPT Group 76 as young adult helpers, along with two pupils from first and second year who acted as ambassadors for the school.

Throughout their week-long pilgrimage they were ‘absolutely brilliant,’ with all of the young children in their group singing, playing games and praying with all those present.

The group took a visit to St Bernadette’s house, the Fort, Hosanna House, attended the Torchlight Procession, the mountains in Gavarnie, and the beautiful HCPT Trust Mass.

Before the annual Easter pilgrimage, the girls completed an incredible amount of fundraising with the support of the school community, with one fellow S6 pupil, Luke Crossan, shaving his head in order to raise funds for their trip.

Mrs Nelson’s S3 RE class held a bake sale to raise funds, while headteacher Fiona Mullen organised a multicultural day, with pupils being invited to pay money and wear something from their own cultural background.

Eight children were taken to Lourdes, where thousands of groups from across HCPT join in the highlight pilgrimage of the year on Easter Sunday.

Mrs Nelson said their efforts gave ‘a real indication of their Faith in action,’ with the girls finding the experience had ‘opened up their eyes’ to how lucky they were.

“I just want to help give young people in our school a chance to celebrate their Faith in a different way, to put their Faith into action,” she said.

She added that ‘the happiness radiating from them is a real testament to God’s love, which is in abundance in Lourdes,’ and said that the pupils even felt the Lourdes trip was better than they expected their S6 holiday to Magaluf to be.

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