My IPhone charger passed away after we arrived in Chartres, which meant I couldn't immediately blog about the Mass we had in the Crypt on the day of departure. Charging up over night outside in the French countryside, attached to a gantry of power sockets powered by a portable generator, proved too much for the poor thing.
I have now processed the photos taken by my 'real' camera and uploaded them to Flickr; I'll be doing some more posts with them. First of all, however, here is the Mass we had in the Crypt of Chartres Cathedral - not, alas, in the shrine chapel of Notre Dame Sous Terre, since the group in there before us was running late. Nevertheless, the crypt was a fine sight with our Mass, the Mass for the Irish group, and private Masses going on simultaneously in neighbouring side chapels.
Here are the Irish assisting at Mass said by their chaplain, the charming Fr Cahill.
A private Mass said by one of our priests:
And Mass said for the British chapters, by Fr Martin Edwards. The chasuble is alas characteristic of the taste of the Cathedral authorities.
The Shrine chapel, set up for a French group, showing the shrine image and also, on the far wall, the reliquary of Our Lady's Veil, the greatest relic of the Cathedral, and one of the truly great relics of the world.
Here is a close-up.
After the Solemn Mass on Monday, we were able to wash and change in a rather comfortable hotel before a dinner with all the British pilgrims: 110 in total.
The Masses above took place on Tuesday morning, and after a short period of free time to look round the Cathedral and say some prayers before the shrines, we got onto the coach for the return journey.
A wonderful and unforgettable pilgrimage. A remarkable number of the British pilgrimes have done it ever year for fifteen years or so - it is clearly habit-forming! The organisation is very smoothly done by Francis Carey, whose father organised the first British contribution to the international pilgrimate in 1992.
More photos and commentary to come!