Those of you who are familiar with Lourdes will immediately recognise this photo as The Crowned Virgin statue that dominates Rosary Square. It is a meeting point for many different groups. The more observant among you will have noticed the sixth decade in Our Lady's Rosary. This was a mistake at the time the statue was being sculptured.
It was by this statue that we were to meet for the Torchlight Procession on the Monday Evening. What turned out to be a glorious beginning quickly became a mad dash up the hill to St Joseph's Gate when the heavens opened.
This picture taken by our Vicar General Mgr Anthony Kay captures the mood very well. The skies became darkened. There was a flash of lightening and then the heavens opened. It was literally every man for themselves as our young people dashed in to help our sick pilgrims to shelter. In all the years I have been going to Lourdes (28 this time) I have never experienced rain like that.
One of our young people grabbed hold of a wheelchair and fought his way through the crowds and the driving rain to the top of the hill. Arriving at St Joseph's Gate he asked the lady in the chair 'Eeee are u alright now, luv?' He didn't know how to respond when he lady said 'Si, si grazie mille.' The lady wasn't a Salford pilgrim but an Italian lady!!!
I managed to find a shallower part of water to wade across in order to get across Rosary Square. Having got to the other side His Lordship the Bishop was heard to say 'Will you come back with an olive branch in your beak, Father dear.'
Having got wet on the outside a number of pilgrims took refuge in the Miam Miam and started to get wet on the inside as they took the traditional 'one for the road.'