The 2017 HCPT pilgrimage theme is being coordinated by HCPT’s Westcountry Region and is “Come to the Water”.
From the beginning of the Creation story, throughout the Bible and particularly in the Gospels, the theme of water is very strong; it is no surprise, as water is essential to life on Earth. There are hundreds of references to water in the bible: water in Creation; water in the Flood; water, or lack of it, in the desert Exodus, and the parting of the Red Sea; the restful waters of the psalms; the waters of baptism in the Jordan; the tempestuous waters of the Sea of Galilee calmed by Jesus; and the ‘water of life’ revealed to the Samaritan woman by Christ at Jacob’s well. Christ, the ‘water of life’, the ‘living water’, is essential for our earthly life, and the heavenly life to come.
The story of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Bernadette is strongly influenced by the theme of water and this continues to our days of Pilgrimage in Lourdes where we we will taste and feel the waters that still gush forth from the spring revealed to Bernadette by Our Lady on 25th February 1858. Our Lady asked Bernadette to tell people ‘to come to the water to drink and wash’. We come to Lourdes ‘to drink and wash’.
Great miracles of healing have been attributed to the waters of Lourdes but the greatest miracle is for everyone to experience – the love of God found in pilgrimage at this holy place. Once again in 2017 the HCPT pilgrimage offers the opportunity to celebrate the joy of ‘the Risen Lord’ as we come together on Easter Day; once again we have the opportunity to encounter God through the life, prayer and liturgies of our days in Lourdes; once again we shall experience the love and joy of God in our fellowship in the presence of the Lord.
The prophet Isaiah tells us: ‘Everyone who is thirsty, come to the water’ (Isaiah 55:1). We come to Lourdes in answer to that call.
The theme of water also plays a huge part in the life of the Westcountry. Being a peninsula, every part of life is connected to water. Indeed it is life itself.