Saturday, December 13, 2008
Closure of the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes
There were almost 30,000 pilgrims this weekend to walk the aisles of the sanctuary of Lourdes. 30,000 people came to celebrate with joy the end of the Jubilee of the Apparitions to Bernadette. A second or third visit of this jubilee year for some, for others it was the very first visit:
“It is a first visit. It is something I was waiting for with anticipation... it was really a joy to be here .. I've never experienced such a joy."
"In this, the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions of the Virgin, we came to receive many graces because this moment of grace is particular to the occasion of this Jubilee."
"We are already receiving God through the Eucharist in our own churches, but in this place with all the faithful from all the nations, we feel that Christ is there with us every day. "
In Lourdes, the pilgrims are not only from France. English, South American, Spanish, the whole world is here. But the most committed to Lourdes by far are the Italians. 6000 of them had already booked their long pilgrimage to the shrine. Here they feel a little closer to God and can show their devotion to the Virgin Mary.
"... It is an experience that everyone should do because it's an experience that matures us, which strengthens us. "
"Just because the Jubilee ends it doesn’t mean we stop praying or coming to Lourdes. On the contrary, we must continue and draw strength from Mary and Bernadette forever. "
On Sunday evening pilgrims gathered for a large torch-lit procession, the light symbolizing their prayers and fervor. It was a moment of intense emotion for pilgrims who came to Lourdes this weekend for the closing of the Jubilee.