MAY I answer the letter from Fr. Simon Tugwell, O.P. (October 23) about next Easter's International Pilgrimage to Lourdes for the Mentally Handicapped? I most certainly agree with his comments which have arisen from a few words being taken out of context from the leaflet in which it was written.
May I therefore quote the paragraph headed "Pilgrimage Spirit" from our leaflet: "It would be unwise to stress the possibility of cure. The pilgrimage must offer the handicapped, their friends and their families, true hope and the encouragement with which to face their trials.
"Its first object must be to help the handicapped find his true place in the Church and in God's plan. Both before and during the pilgrimage, there must be a realisation of the value of prayer. The beginnings of acceptance of a handicap can come with prayer and the pilgrimage can provide a training in prayer.
"If both the handicapped and their families can thus develop their faith, it is also true that the rest of the Church can gain in faith, inasmuch the healthy and affluent can succour the sick, seeing in them the privileged sons of Our Lord."
Naturally no one goes to Lourdes without hope — hope that it may be him or his child that is cured, for we know that many such miracles take place annually. But we shall also go in a spirit of trust — that we may be given a change of heart, that we may receive the blessing of faith and the acceptance of the particular cross each one of us has to bear.
Miracles such as these lake place all the time at Lourdes, touching all pilgrims to some degree, and many of the mentally handicapped whom 1 have had the privilege of accompanying to Lourdes in the past have responded to the love and prayer that is so alive out there.
Pamela Whigharn Joint Organiser, Faith and Light Pilgrimage. London, W.I4.