On Holy Saturday 2017, 50 members of Carmel College Sixth Form will embark on their journey with HCPT, the pilgrimage trust, on the annual Easter Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Students will travel with fellow pilgrims from Newcastle Airport, arriving at the Marian shrine in the Pyreenees in plenty of time to celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass.

HCPT was founded by Dr Michael Strode in 1956, after he visited the shrine and reflected on the impact a pilgrimage to Lourdes would have for a child with disabilities.  From a very small beginning, the Trust now enables 1,000 children each Easter to take part in the pilgrimage and also hundreds of disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages to enjoy a pilgrimage holiday at Hosanna House, HCPT’s own residential facility in Lourdes, during the summer months.  These pilgrimages are impossible without the doctors, nurses and those who support the pilgrims during their pilgrimage, all on a voluntary basis.

There is a long tradition of sixth formers joining and assisting the young people who take part in the HCPT pilgrimage.  As a College, our students have been travelling to Lourdes for 21 years.

During their time in Lourdes, our students make up a support group, this means that the students are on hand to assist at the various liturgies, take part in the music ministry and support the young pilgrims during trips to nearby Givarnee and ‘Lac de Lourdes’.

Students from Carmel’s previous pilgrimages to Lourdes have made such an impact that they have been invited by Family Groups to join them as adult volunteers.

Out students, regardless of the increasing costs also manage to support at least two young people with disabilities to take part in this life changing pilgrimage.

Regardless of the financial difficulty, our students, year on year, respond to Our Lady’s invitation to ‘Pray, Wash, Process’.

We would appreciate your prayers as we approach our pilgrimage, that our students may be filled with the spirit of Lourdes and be worthy messengers of the Gospel through their actions.