With the young people of the Diocese of Vannes.
From the 18th to the 23rd August, Sister Agnès CHATARD, the diocesan delegate for the pastoral care and evangelisation of the young, took part in the youth pilgrimage at Lourdes. She shares some of the highlights with us.
« At the end of August 2014, for the fifth time, I accompanied the group of young pilgrims from the diocese of Vannes to Lourdes, as the person responsible for the co-ordination of the pilgrimage as a whole. This responsibility was a great experience for me as I was really concerned that each one should live “his” (or “her”) pilgrimage through “their” place in the group. There were evidently the young people, but also those responsible for the logistics of the pilgrimage, the musicians, the nurse, and the youth leaders for the four age groups, that is to say:
- the “startis” (11-13 years old),
- the “maxis” (13-15 years old),
- those from senior secondary school (15-19 years old)
- and the XT (eXTraordinary), (young handicapped from 11-25 years old).
Challenging in terms of coordination, because you have to live the present moment, while preparing the next day, and all of that while taking care of the “unexpected”.
« Lourdes, the joy of conversion » was the theme of the pilgrimages for this year. At first glance it is a theme that is not very easy to explain, and above all to bring alive for the young … Happily, the youth leaders put all of their talent, their ingenuity and their teaching skills into getting the message across.
The days followed a pattern with times:
♥ “all together”: Mass, reconciliation, the Marian torchlight procession, the prayer vigil at the grotto, this year in the presence of Monsignor Centène,
♥ “by age group” to discover Lourdes and to deepen the message of Bernadette using means adapted to the different ages (reflection, visits, songs, dance, theatre …).
Each pilgrimage is unique. In this way each one can live a true spiritual journey.
For my part, I live it through my service to the whole group, trying to promote a real meeting with Christ, and taking into account the most fragile. Being with the group, being with the young people, the youth leaders, is important … each one in his own way reveals Christ to me.
Going on pilgrimage with the young people can only be achieved by teamwork. Each one adds his grain of salt, a grain that gives taste to the life of the group, and flavour to this special moment.
Following Christ is trying to bring others along with you, to transmit what I myself have already received.
It gives me pleasure and great joy to see the young people grow in their faith, to see how they become involved after a pilgrimage, to see them become leaders themselves for the younger ones … finally becoming witnesses to Him who loves them and transmitting own their joy in believing …”
Sœur Agnès Chatard