"Wish I'd discovered HCPT years ago..."
"Firstly, as a 'newbie' to both Lourdes and HCPT, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. Everyone had told me I was in for an awesome week but I was aware that quite often when things are bigged up for you, it is easy to be disappointed. This was not the case with my week in Lourdes.
From the wonderful welcome we received at the airport, where our bags were whisked away and checked in with no hassle, to the busy and exciting itinerary, the organisation of the whole trip has been fantastic. As well as strengthening my own faith and discovering so much more about myself in Lourdes, I have been left with so many wonderful memories.
I really wish I could have bottled the atmosphere in the Trust Mass so I could pop the cork at times when I felt low to have a little sniff of sunshine again. To have so many youngsters proudly celebrating their faith together in one place with such joy, colour and happiness was truly stunning. I have another lasting memory: of feeling sad in the airport waiting for our return flight and then suddenly hearing a lone brass instrument striking out 'Rise and Shine', followed by a whole airport waving and clapping the actions together. This is something that will not be forgotten by anyone who was there.
There is something quite magical about the whole place. Within 24 hours of arriving in the hotel with my new HCPT family, time seemed to slow down and I felt as if we had been together for years. Days seemed like months, but in a fantastic way. Although I missed my own children back at home, I do feel that I have discovered a whole new family who will stay with me for life.
Speaking of my children, the enthusiasm of my mum and I in telling stories of our adventure has made my kids determined to come out with us next year. My daughters have spent today creating posters for our neighbours, advertising their car washing services in order to raise money for next Easter! Who am I to stop them? I know they will get so much out of the experience too.
I really do wish I had discovered HCPT years ago so that my whole family could have been brought up with it. It really shouldn't be 'the church's best kept secret' and I intend to sing about it in the valleys and shout it from the mountain tops and let people know what it is all about!