Skip to comments.Vatican marks 150th anniversary of Lourdes girl's visions of Mary
Posted on 02/11/2008 11:52:45 AM PST by NYer
A rib belonging to a 19th-century French shepherd girl was on Monday brought to the Vatican at the start of 150th anniversary celebrations of her visions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France.
The relic was conveyed in a solemn procession up the main thoroughfare between Rome's Tiber River and Saint Peter's Basilica, escorted by about 15 Italian police mounted on white horses.
According to Catholic tradition, Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, then 14, 18 times in 1858 in the southwestern French village of Lourdes on the slopes of the Pyrenees mountains.
The "little shepherd girl," who became a nun, died aged 35 in 1879. She was canonised in 1933.
Yearlong celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Saint Bernadette's visions kicked off simultaneously in Lourdes on Monday with a mass attended by some 50,000 pilgrims.
Pope Benedict XVI plans to travel to Lourdes later this year to mark the occasion on a date that has not yet been set.
A mass was to be held later Monday at Saint Peter's, after which French Catholics resident in Rome will hold an observance in the Vatican gardens, where there is a replica of the grotto outside Lourdes where Bernadette had her visions.
The visions at Lourdes are the most well-known of many claimed by the Roman Catholic Church, notably because many unexplained cures have been associated with them.
Millions of pilgrims have flocked to the French town from around the world in the hope of cures.
Archbishop of the southwestern cities of Lourdes and Tarbes, Jacques Perrier, right, puts his hand on a sick young girl's forehead, in front of the Lourdes shrine, southwestern France, during a ceremony Monday, Feb. 11, 2008. Catholic pilgrims mark Monday the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Madonna at Lourdes, with 50, 000 pilgrims expected, including 26 bishops and 800 priests. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
The Blessed Mother is awesome, thank you Jesus for your wonderful mother.!!!
In Fatima, there's upwards of 200,000 every May and October 13th and if the Pope ever shows up they pack in over a quarter of a million.
I’ve read that there have only been approx 67 miracles acknowledged by the Church. I think there’s a committee that investigates every claim.
Interestingly, I came across Sandro Magister's column today where he publishes the text from part of Benedict XVI's meeting with the priests of Rome. One of the questions had to do with large-crowd Masses. The Pope's response was quite revealing:
Masses celebrated with large crowds. Pros and cons [scroll to the bottom]
Q: How do you reconcile the treasure of the liturgy in all of its solemnity with the sentiment, feeling, and emotionality of the masses of young people who are called to participate in it?
A: The problem of liturgies at which masses of people participate is a serious one I recall that in 1960, during the great international Eucharistic congress in Munich, there was an attempt to give a new physiognomy to the Eucharistic congresses, which until then had been solely acts of adoration. The intention was to put the celebration of the Eucharist at the center as the act of the presence of the mystery celebrated.
But the question immediately arose of how this could be done. Adoration, it was said, can also be done from a distance; but in order to celebrate there must be a delimited community that can interact with the mystery, and therefore a community that must be an assembly around the celebration of the mystery.
Many were against the idea of celebrating the Eucharist outdoors with a hundred thousand people. They said that it was not possible because of the very structure of the Eucharist, which requires community for communion. And there were also prominent personalities, very respectable, who were against this solution.
But then professor Jungmann, a great liturgist and one of the leading architects of the liturgical reform, created the concept of "statio orbis," returning to the "statio Romae" in which during the Lenten season the faithful would gather in a place, the "statio," like soldiers for Christ, and then would go to the Eucharist together. If that, he said, had been the "statio" of the city of Rome, the place where the city of Rome gathered, that this would be the "statio orbis," the place where the world gathers.
It was from that moment that we had Eucharistic celebrations with mass participation. For me, I must say, it remains a problem, because concrete communion in the celebration is fundamental, and therefore I do not believe that the definitive answer has truly been found. Again at the last synod [of bishops] I raised this question again, but the answer was not found.
I posed another question, about mass concelebration: because if, for example, a thousand priests concelebrate, it is not clear whether the structure intended by the Lord is still present. These are questions. And so you encountered, in Loreto, the difficulty of participating in a mass celebration during which it is not possible that all be equally involved. A certain style must therefore be chosen to preserve the dignity that is always necessary for the Eucharist; the community is not uniform, and the experience of participation at the event is different; for some, it is certainly insufficient. But in Loreto, this matter did not depend upon me, but rather upon those occupied with the preparation.
We must therefore reflect well on what to do in these situations [...]. The fundamental problem remains, but it seems to me that, knowing what the Eucharist is, even if one does not have the possibility of the kind of exterior activity desired to feel oneself as a participant, one may enter with the heart, as the ancient imperative of the Church says, which may have been created precisely for those who were in the back of the basilica: "Let us lift up our hearts! Now let us all come out from ourselves, so that we ma be with the Lord and be together." I do not deny the problem, but if we truly follow these words, "let us lift up our hearts," we will all find, even in difficult and sometimes questionable situations, true active participation.
I’m glad the Holy Father is asking these questions, because no one else will. And we have been far too quick to accept the new paradigm.
Yes, the photo was taken with a wide angle lens that distorts normal perspective.
My wife and I paid a quiet visit to Lourdes just two months ago . Arriving on January 1 (a Marian feast) of this sesquicentennial year, we found Lourdes a cold, dark, and mostly empty place. To be sure there were pilgrims, but only a modest trickle. It was quite a privilege to have uncrowded access to the sanctuary and the grotto, especially saying our rosaries there at night by candlelight, for which I’m very grateful and which hope I never forget.
I don’t mean any disrespect to those who visit Lourdes in warmer months when the processions take place, but I’ve now been to both Lourdes and Assisi in the dead of winter and would enthusiastically recommend the experience.
The sparse numbers of pilgrims didn't seem to do much for the humor of the local retailers and the highlight of my stay was being evicted from a Catholic book shop by a most disagreeable owner (despite being the only customer) when he realized I was not a native French speaker and thus unlikely to buy any of his merchandise.
I was a young man in my '20s with a rucksack on my back and little money in my pocket and trying to discern if I had a vocation. Mercifully for the Church, the answer was in the negative.
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