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Dominican Pilgrimage to Lourdes (Part 2)

Thursday, August 21, 2008
According to the Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, processions are "a manifestation of the faith of the people. They often have cultural connotations and are capable of re-awakening the religious sense of the people." In this way they are a form of preaching expressing and stirring up our faith. In Lourdes, two processions take place daily: the torch-lit Marian Procession with the Rosary every evening and the Eucharistic Procession with the blessing of the sick every afternoon.

On the eve of St Dominic's feast day, the English Dominican Pilgrimage led the Marian Procession, and friars and young pilgrims had the honour of carrying the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at the head of a crowd of thousands.

Torchlight procession
The statue is carried to the head of the Procession.

Torches are raised high as hymns to Our Lady are sung.

Pilgrims in wheelchairs at the front of the Procession.

Fr John Farrell OP leads the prayers at the end of the Procession.

Rosary Square outside the Lourdes basilica is ablaze with thousands of torches.

Four of our young helpers carrying the emblems of the Evangelists used in the Eucharistic Procession.

The Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession by a French bishop.

The Gospel is read before a period of silent adoration in the underground basilica.

After a period of adoration in the underground basilica, Benediction of the sick concludes the Eucharistic Procession.

In addition, the pilgrims prayed the Stations of the Cross during which fr Thomas Skeats OP led the prayers and reflections.

Of course, a homily was preached every day during Mass by a different Dominican friar. Here, fr Leon Pereira OP preaches on the feast of St John Vianney.

"Lord Jesus,
You gave us Mary as our Mother.
She shared Your Passion and Resurrection.
Here in Lourdes she showed herself to Bernadette,
saddened by our sins but radiant with Your light.
Through her, we entrust to You our joys and our sorrows,
our own, those of the sick, and those of all people.
Mary, our sister and our mother,
our confidante, and our help:
we pray to you.

Hail Mary..."

Lawrence Lew OP


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