Today marks 150 years since the first apparition at Lourdes-France. There is a famous saying coined about Lourdes:
"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."
The Holy Father made a statement during the midday Angelus on Sunday:
From Zenit's coverage of the Feb 10th Angelus - Pope: Cross Leads to Victory of Love and Peace:
Benedict XVI also mentioned that Monday is the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the grotto of Massabielle in 1858.
The Pope said: "The message that the Madonna continues to spread at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus pronounced at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear again often during these days of Lent: 'Convert and believe in the Gospel,' pray and do penance."
From the official Lourdes website page on the apparitions:
1st ApparitionThursday 11th. February 1858 : the meetingAccompanied by her sister and a friend, Bernadette went to Massabielle on the banks of the Gave to collect bones and dead wood. Removing her socks in order to cross the stream, she heard a noise like a gust of wind, she looked up towards the Grotto : "I SAW A LADY DRESSED IN WHITE, SHE WORE A WHITE DRESS, AN EQUALLY WHITE VEIL, A BLUE BELT AND A YELLOW ROSE ON EACH FOOT." Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross and said the Rosary with the lady. When the prayer ended the Lady suddenly vanished.
There are plenary indulgences offered for those who make a pilgrimage to Lourdes during a specified time period, and if they meet certain other conditions. This PDF file from Grotto outlines that, and it provides info on how you can get those indulgences if you cannot make the pilgrimage.
There will be a a beautiful Holy Mass at 7:00pm, followed by an event hosted by the Legion of Mary at Assumption Grotto, with a video in the school lounge.
MORE ON LOURDES WEBSITE
The official Lourdes website has many interesting things. I was going to lead you to some things there, but the site seems to be having difficulties. It is probably crashing under the hit load right now. The site has webcams - many of them, so you can peak in to see what is going on. If you can manage to tune in from around noon to 2:00pm EST, you may get to see a magnificent candlelight procession, seen in the photo at top from their website.
First, go to the link in the list with the word "Apparitions". From there, on the right you will see a section for webcams.
You can find nice wallpaper for your computer,
I'll try to add links later so you can reference it.
LOURDES - NORTH AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS
I have seen Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality - North American Volunteers profiled on EWTN and have heard them on Catholic radio. They organize volunteers who go for a time period to Lourdes to assist the many sick and infirm during their stay to the grotto area. The site explains:
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers is a Catholic apostolate formed in 2002 at the invitation of the Lourdes Arch-Confraternity Hospitality. Our apostolate mission statement identifies our primary goal: "to extend the invitation to North Americans to serve the sick and suffering." We extend the invitation by informing and recruiting North Americans "of good will" at home and abroad about the need for English-speaking volunteers at Lourdes (only 30 individual Americans volunteered annually at Lourdes prior to our participation). We facilitate the admission and training processes, as well as the travel and Sanctuary accommodations and thus make volunteer service easily accessible and affordable. In 2003, almost 200 North American Volunteers served at Lourdes. Sixty of the volunteers were youth who participated in our newly developed "Learn and Live Lourdes" Youth Pilgrimage Service experience. Of the adult volunteers who served, one-third were military or dependents of military personnel stationed in Europe.....[read more]
Their website features a "Virtual Pilgrimage" section for those who cannot leave home to make a physical journey. In this link, they explain more about a virtual pilgrimage.A final note about Bernadette, whose body is shown here, incorrupt. It is featured in the book on the subject by Joan Cruz. I have seen this in the Grotto gift shop.
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