What the pilgrimage means to me...

Three HCPT helpers explain what travelling with HCPT means to them.

Peter leads an HCPT group from East London:
"Lourdes for me is transforming lives on many, many levels. The parents benefit. The children benefit - they get opportunities they would never normally get in life. It's where people answer a call - ultimately from Our Lady - to come. We don't have to do much once we're here because the whole place is in itself special.

It has helped me change my life. I'm a much happier and better person for it. I've been given a chance, which is rare, to help people grow. Grow in their faith, grow in their love of God, grow in their trust of others - and I get a lot from it.And I'm able to pass that on to others. You can't help enough!"

Katherine joins an HCPT group from Somerset:
"When I describe how incredibly tiring, hard work it is to look after children with various difficulties for a week, and that it is voluntary, many of my friends ask me why I do it.

It's that feeling you get when the child who hasn't been able to talk to anyone, starts sharing their stories and ideas.

It's that feeling when a child who has had trouble trusting adults, puts her hand into yours and walks with you.

It's that feeling when a child laughs so hard he screams with delight.

It's that feeling that you are a part of something big in that child's life, even just for one week."

Michele leads an HCPT group from Suffolk:
"I was nagged into coming to Lourdes with HCPT. I was told, 'come on Michelle you'll have a great experience'. I thought, 'I'll do it once - that will be fantastic.' This is now my 24th year! If I didn't have such a fantastic time here every Easter I certainly wouldn't be coming back time and time again'

It is a fantastic experience for the children, and we do give them life changing holidays. We hope the memories from those holidays will be carried by them through their life times. So they can look back and think, 'when I was 10 I just had the most amazing holiday. I had a great experience!'

The children give us all so much. They enrich our lives. They teach us so much about ourselves as well. That is one of the biggest reasons that I come. I give so much, but I actually receive so much as well."