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“Everything I experience here is of the order of grace!”

With family ties from the Hautes Pyrenees, Mgr Xavier Arodes, a priest from the di-ocese of Toulouse (France), is fluent in several languages. After a diplomatic career, in-cluding as ecclesiastic counsel-lor of the Embassy of France to the Holy See, he joined the community of Chaplains in Lourdes in 2014 at the request of Bishop Nicolas Brouwet, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, who appointed him Coordina-tor of the International pasto-ral service of the Sanctuary. As such, with the cooperation of the different services, he has the task of working towards the internationalization of the Sanctuary:

"Globally, the church is growing. In-ternationalization cannot be solely European. In the Sanctuary, we welcome a greater number of Asians or Americans. We must transmit the message of Lourdes in a culturally appropri-ate way." The coordinator's responsibilities include regu-lating the use of languages in the liturgy. "We want to take into account the expectations of pilgrims and seek to know their practices and devotions", says Mgr d’Arodes. In conjunction with the Pres-ident and the Chaplain of the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes, he is also working to develop an internation-al culture of volunteer-ism, "We must welcome volunteers worldwide. This requires enculturation of the message of Lourdes, evangelizing in depth, with a universal language capable of reaching young people."

Lourdes in ten years time? He still sees it "as a place of grace with an even stronger spiritual di-mension." What makes him happy? His priestly ministry, offering him "a close involvement with the pilgrims, especially the sick people." With a smile, he says: "Despite the inevitable difficulties, everything I experience here is of the order of grace!"