Irish Pilgrimage Trust (IHCPT)
Contributed by Fergal McCrory
The Irish Pilgrimage Trust is a registered charity in Ireland. Each year, at Easter, it travels on pilgrimage to Lourdes with young people with special needs. There is an annual pilgrimage to Hosanna House in Bartres, close to the town of Lourdes. In 1997 IHCPT opened a house in Clarenbridge Co. Galway and welcomes groups there all year round. Every two years a group of cyclists travel through France to Lourdes – a different kind of pilgrimage to the Grotto. For 35 years groups have travelled to Lourdes on Easter Sunday and participated in the unique week at the Grotto. Together with friends from the wider community of HCPT thousands of pilgrims have enjoyed the unique experience which the French Lourdes authorities now refer to as ‘HCPT Week’ in Lourdes. The groups participate in the life of the sanctuary: the Eucharistic processions, the Marian Candlelight procession, visits to the Grotto, sharing in the waters from the spring that Bernadette uncovered in 1858, enjoying the wonderful eucharistic celebrations of IHCPT and HCPT, participating in the celebrations within the group itself. While no week is the same year after year and no group follows the same programme there are certain characteristics which make up a visit with IHCPT and HCPT to Lourdes.