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Dominican Pilgrimage to Lourdes (Part 1)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The Upper Basilica of Lourdes

This year some 20 Dominican friars of the English Province and over 120 parishioners, friends and benefactors went on Pilgrimage to Lourdes. We were joined by Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP of Nottingham, who is celebrating the Silver Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood, and the Pilgrimage was led by the Prior Provincial, Fr Allan White OP.

Our Lady says the Rosary with St BernadetteLourdes was originally a small unremarkable market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees. In 1858, Our Lady appeared eighteen times to a fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. Since the first apparition on 11 February, crowds have come to Lourdes and to the Grotto of Massabielle to fulfill the requests of Our Lady and in search of healing. We came to do the same.

During the 8th apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette, on Wednesday 24 February, Our Lady said: "Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners." The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of a Lourdes pilgrimage, and we also walked the Stations of the Cross together in the pouring rain, as an act of penance.

During the 9th apparition, on Thursday 25 February, Our Lady said to Bernadette, "… go drink at the spring and wash there… ". Some pilgrims chose to wash in the baths in Lourdes, others to drink and wash from the taps near the Grotto. Both the baths and the taps are fed by the spring which Our Lady indicated to St Bernadette.

During the 13th apparition, on 2 March, Our Lady said, "Go and tell the priests that people should come here in procession…". It is from this request that the two processions of Lourdes were born. We led the Marian Procession on one evening, during which eight friars carried the statue of Our Lady as we prayed the Rosary. On another afternoon, we walked in the Eucharistic Procession.

To be continued...


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