On March 17th the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France closed for the first time since its opening. Since then, they still haven’t reopened and have received “15,000 prayer petitions daily throughout the lockdown from around the world — for people about to die or fearing infection” says the Shrine’s Vice Rector Father Xavier d’Arodes de Peyriague.
Lourdes is known for being a sanctuary for the sick, with a spring that is traditionally said to have miraculous healing properties. Father Xavier said the many petitions coming in made him realize that they “weren’t just praying for people in Lourdes, but for those in need worldwide.”
“We’ve had to adjust our prayers from a focus on individual healing to the challenges of a pandemic. But five times the normal numbers are now following us on social networks, while we’re broadcast on Catholic channels worldwide. People are in need of faith and hope, and we’ve instead been animating the digital community, which is building amazingly all the time.””
That thought gave rise to the “Lourdes United” virtual e-pilgrimage he says will be “a great affirmation of the power of prayer.”
The e-pilgrimage will be held tomorrow featuring a livestream from the Grotto with the rosary in ten languages, Mass for different time zones, and a procession of the relics of Saint Bernadette Soubirous. According to the Shrine, on the agenda is
“From 7 am to 10 pm (France time): Broadcasts of the celebrations, processions, rosaries, prayers. A new TV program will take place live from 4pm to 6pm at the Grotto. Religious and civil personalities will follow one another on the set, testifying to the role that Lourdes plays in their lives. The cameras will go behind the scenes of this unique place to better explain its mission. Numerous interventions on the themes of solidarity, fraternity, commitment, mutual aid, hope and the search for meaning, as well as reports, archive videos, live music, duplexes with foreigners and other highlights will complete these 2 hours of live coverage.”
Join the e-pilgramage tomorrow July 16th on the official website here, and watch an introduction on the event produced by the Shrine below: