The London Beaumont Region's HCPT day of preparation has come round again
- it will take place tomorrow on the Feast Day of the Epiphany at a CoE church
hall somewhere off the M4 motorway.
My last blog post about the HCPT prep. seems like only yesterday, such is the
speed with which time flies.
The increasing secularisation of British society may be being illustrated
by its impact on the make up of HCPT Group 35 in 2008. Easter falls very early
in 2008, as a consequence of which, Easter Week (last week of March) largely
falls within school term times.
Some non Catholic schools, the needy pupils
from which have in the past been encouraged to join the HCPT pilgrimage,
have decided not to permit their pupils to travel during the school term times
This has reduced by about a third the number of child pilgrims. Most
Catholic schools on the other hand seem to be taking the view that a trip
to Lourdes is part of their students' over all learning experience so
are encouraging theirs to travel with us. As a result the Group
may have a far larger number of Catholic school
sixth form helpers than usual (doubtless some 17 year olds are
pleased to get away for a week during
their school terms) but a smaller number of child pilgrims because
of the veto on travel by their non-catholic schools.
The pilgrimage veto is a shame really, not least because
Lourdes is a place for thought reflection and learning
for all of any religion or none and losing such opportunities for personal growth because of red tape or prejudice is part of the changes in society that secularisation is bringing in its wake.