We are in Lourdes and are overwhelmed with the beauty, symbolism, and kindness surrounding us. This truly is a magical place. The Pilgrimage started with a candle lighting ceremony after Mass in the Rosary Basilica, lead by the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl. He saw Clay in the crowd and pulled him to the front to light the 100 pound candle, which will burn all week in the Grotto. Here are a few photos from that ceremony.
We bathed in the waters from the Grotto on our second morning, and we attended Mass this morning outside the Grotto. This is the site where Mary appeared on many occasions to Bernadette. At each Mass dozens of Priests participate, as well as a Cardinal. Each Mass is specifically for the Order of the Malta. Last night we participated in the Outdoor Marian Candlelight Procession. Thousands of people, walking and riding in carts, move in procession in the main area called the Domaine, while the Five Mysteries are told (in several languages) and everyone repeatedly sings Ava Maria. I have not seen nor heard many thing more beautiful and meaningful than this.