28/03/2016 13:32 BST | Updated 29/03/2017 06:12 BST

In the Face of Atrocities We Must Never Forget the Good Faith Does

In the wake of last week's horrific attacks in Brussels and yesterday's atrocity of the murder of more than 70 Christians celebrating Easter in Lahore it can become very easy to see religion as the cause of many, if not all, of the worlds evils.

Religion of course has its failings, the whole notion of many faiths is that they are built upon the imperfections of humanity. But it is all too easy to forget the good that millions upon millions of those with faith do each and every day around the globe.

At a time when the faith of many is at a low ebb, when countless non-adherents to religion are questioning its worth I would like to highlight, if I may, just one example of where religion is doing wonders. If you like the good news story you see at the end of news bulletins after weathering all of the bad.

Right now in the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes, in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, around 5,000 pilgrims are gathering for the annual HCPT pilgrimage holiday for young people.


The HCPT charity and its associated international sister organisations, are this year celebrating their 60th anniversary of taking disabled and disadvantaged children for a week of prayer and just as importantly partying in the springtime mountain sun.

As well as, rightly, taking part in daily mass focussed at a level all can participate in young people take trips to the mountains, the seaside and the zoo. There seems to be a bottomless supply of ice cream and songs where vigorous actions and plastic musical instruments are mandatory.

Well over a thousand children, many with the most severe disabilities, become the very important people at the centre of each small 'family' group based around a town or community.


Perhaps for just this one week of the year those children, children who for whatever reason may not have the best quality of life at home, become the focal point of thousands of helpers dedicated to having a beneficial impact in making their pilgrimage holiday a week they will remember for years to come.

Ask anyone with children how stressful raising children can be and you will quickly realise how much extra strain can be placed upon parents raising children with disabilities. One beauty of this wonderful charity is to provide respite for those parents who need a break too.

So next time, and sadly, inevitably there will be a next time you hear of whatever atrocity is committed in the name of religion it is absolutely right to deplore the act of violence. We should never forget though that for each senseless terrorist act there are literally thousands of good deeds carried out precisely because people have faith.