The Domaine is under the authority of the Bishop of Tarbes & Lourdes, who has the responsibility of staffing the Shrine.
There is a Rector in overall charge of the Shrine and he oversees the various departments dealing with the different aspects of the Shrine. HCPT liaises through the Trust Chaplain with the Secretariat General who is responsible for the booking of venues and the day-to-day planning of masses and liturgies requested by the various pilgrimages.
At Easter, all requests go through the Trust Chaplain, as the Secretariat General will only deal with one person in any official pilgrimage accredited to the Domaine. There is a Youth Service, from whom we reserve the two Rotondes. There is also a Liturgy Service which is responsible for the processions and the International Masses. We liaise with them for input to the Blessed Sacrament and Marian Torchlight processions on 'Our Day'.
Within the Domain are a number of distinct areas which have specific relevance to the HCPT Pilgrimage.
It was at the Grotto of Lourdes that Mary appeared to Ste Bernadette on eighteen separate occasions in 1858. The water from the spring at the Grotto is attributed with healing and cleansing properties.
There are three churches built over the Grotto. The Rosary Basilica has fifteen side chapels each of which have a large mosaic depicting one of the mysteries of the Rosary. The building has recently been renovated after water damage affected the mosaics.Above this is The Crypt , a smaller chapel though the first to be completed (it opened in 1866), the "long entrance corridor is covered with ex-voto offerings".At the top, above these two, is The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception or Upper Basilica. This is the last to be opened, it was completed in 1872. The 70m high bell tower contains the four bells which peal on the hour the "Ave Maria of Lourdes". The bells are all named: Jeanne-Alphonsine (2,000 kg.), Geneviève-Félicie (1,800 kg.), Hermine-Benoîte (1,100 kg.), Cécile-Gastine (800 kg.). (You can download the sound of the bells from the Lourdes website!)
The Rosary Square
The main square in front of the Basilicas is the Rosary Square. Here each evening the Torchlight Procession concludes. The square can accommodate over 40,000 people and has been upgraded many times, most recently with a ramp at the side of the steps to provide access to the Rosary Basilica. At either side of the square are two large ramps which give access to the Crypt. Along these ramps are statues of many Saints.
The Basilica of St. Pius X
The Basilica of St. Pius X or Underground Basilica is under the ground between St Michael's Gate and the Statue of the Crowned Virgin.. Despite the austere decoration of the Basilica, on the Thursday morning of Easter week, the building comes alive in a rainbow of colours as the HCPT Trust Mass is celebrated. There are usually over 5,000 people with HCPT, and many more visitors and guests.