29 April 2014

Steven McDonald - You Are Very Special

Last Wednesday afternoon in Lourdes, Sean and Mike from Group 101 had the privilege to hear a talk by Steven McDonald, the patron of ASCPG, the US branch of HCPT. Steven was badly injured nearly thirty years ago whilst on duty as a policeman and his public forgiveness of the young man who shot him has inspired many.

Steven also spoke at the 2008 HCPT Trust Mass and last week he repeated these beautiful words that sum up every member of HCPT Group 101:

You Are Very Special.

In all the world there is nobody like you.
Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like you.
Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair.
Nobody owns your voice, your handwriting, your unique way of communicating with others.

You’re Special.

Nobody can paint like you.
Nobody has your taste for food, music, dance or art.
Nobody in the world sees things as you do.
In all time, there has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way, and what makes you
laugh or cry or think may have a totally different response in another.

So, You’re Special.

You’re different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the world.
You are the only one in the whole world who has your particular set of abilities.
There is always someone who is better at one thing or another.
Every person is your superior in at least one way.
But nobody in this world can reach the quality of the combination of your talents, your feelings. Through all eternity, no one will ever love, walk, talk, think or act exactly like you.

Remember, You’re Special.

You’re rare, and in all rarity there is enormous value.
You’re Special, and it is no accident you are.
Please realize that God made you for a special purpose.
God has a job for you to do that nobody else can do as well as you can.
Out of the billions of applicants, only one is qualified.
Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes, and that one is you.

You Are Very Special!

The sights and sounds of 101

This year in Lourdes it was great to share the first few days of the pilgrimage with Leon, and he took some fantastic photos of the group on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Here is a video featuring some of those photos, with a soundtrack made by the helpers and children of Group 101 whilst we were in Lourdes.

Article about the HCPT Easter pilgrimage

This article appeared on the Independent Catholic News website.

Participants on the HCPT Easter pilgrimage are returning home after an celebratory, emotional, often life-changing week in Lourdes. This year, the charity’s 58th annual pilgrimage welcomed more than 1,000 disabled children to the Shrine in the South of France. The children stay in small family-sized groups and are accompanied by doctors, nurses, clergy and helpers.

The pilgrimage, which is the largest for children from the UK, is renowned for its vibrancy and joy – aided by the fact that the majority of helpers who attend are under the age of 30. The week is centred around the children, with everyone attending focussed on ensuring that they have as much fun and gain as much from their pilgrimage as possible. A typical stay in Lourdes includes trips to the mountains or to the seaside, as well as visits to the Grotto and Baths and daily Masses.

The theme of this year’s pilgrimage was ‘We are God’s House’ which was developed by HCPT groups centred around the Diocese of Portsmouth. The pilgrimage was joined this year, for the first time, by pilgrims from Poland.

The highlight of the week for many was the Trust Mass, celebrated by new HCPT President, Rt Revd Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. The Mass was also celebrated by Rt Revd Peter Brignall (Bishop of Wrexham), Rt Revd Richard Moth (Bishop of the Forces), Rt Revd Joseph Toal (Bishop of Argyle and the Islands), Rt Revd William Crean (Bishop of Cloyne) and over 100 priests and deacons. Bishop Conry’s homily challenged those on pilgrimage to continue building God’s house when the return home after their time in Lourdes.

HCPT pilgrimages continue in May at the charity’s Hosanna House. Until November, the house, in the hills above Lourdes, will host over 1,500 pilgrims of all ages, many of them with disabilities or life-limiting conditions.

27 April 2014

Charlie and Mickey!

After an amazing week of laughing, crying, singing, dancing, sharing, praying, rain and sunshine, Group 101 are all safely back at home.

Thanks to everyone who made the week so special, group leaders Phil and Marge, all the helpers, everyone who made donations or gave their time to help us get there, and most of all to the children who came with us. Without them none of us would get to share this extraordinary experience.

Often people feel a bit sad when they first get home, missing the group and wishing they were waking up to breakfast in the Jeanne d'Arc hotel (or waking up to a rendition of Rise and Shine from Rachel), so if you're feeling a bit down, here's a video of Charlie and Mickey on the coach to Hosanna House to cheer you up!

25 April 2014

More photos of Group 101 in Lourdes

Friday's thought for the day...


08:00 Breakfast
09:30 Visit to Hosanna House and Bartres
12:00 Lunch
13:30 Packing, group gathering and visit to a cafe
18:30 Evening meal
19:30 Last visit to the grotto

24 April 2014

Watch a recording of the 2014 trust Mass

Link to Trust Mass

Click here to watch the HCPT Trust mass online. It starts at 9am UK time!

Thursday's thought for the day...


08:00 Breakfast
09:00 Make our way to the underground basilica
10:00 Celebrate the HCPT Trust Mass
12:30 Lunch
14:30 Stations of the Cross
17:00 Blessed Sacrament Procession
18:30 Evening meal
20:30 Fancy Dress and Fancy Ice Cream Party in Cafe Jeanne D'Arc

Click here to watch the HCPT Trust Mass on Lourdes TV

23 April 2014

Wednesday's thought for the day...

08:00 Breakfast
09:30 Time for some shopping!
12:00 Lunch
13:30 Some time on the prairie or a visit to a museum
16:00 Yorkshire Region Mass at St Joseph's chapel
18:30 Evening meal
19:30 Group gathering

22 April 2014

Tuesday's thought for the day...

08:00 Breakfast
09:30 Lourdes holy water blessing session and baths
11:00 Sing song in Casa Italia cafe
12:00 Lunch
14:00 Chill out on the prairie
18:30 Evening meal
20:00 Torchlight procession

Click here to get the latest weather forecast for Lourdes

Easter Monday photos

Here are some photos of HCPT Group 101 in Gavarnie and at the animal fancy dress party in the underground basilica in Lourdes yesterday.