Lourdes, with an Italian flavour
From the Esplanade to the Grotto of Massabielle, or passing by the Way of the Cross, Lourdes almost appears to have an Italian accent! From the north to the south, from Palermo, Naples or Venice, Italian pilgrims have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. Italian pilgrims arrive, for the most part, thanks to large organisations which enable the sick and disabled, in particular, to travel to Lourdes (UNITALSI, Oftal, Opera Romana, Brevivet, etc.). Others organise smaller diocesan or parish group pilgrimages. They all have that same desire: to go to the Grot-to and pray to ‘the Madonna’. Their large presence at the Marian shrine is all the more remarkable because of the long distances that most must travel. For example, it takes more than 20 hours to travel from Rome to Lourdes by train! How can this attraction be explained? According to Bishop Gian Paolo Angelino, chairman of the OFTAL, "Lourdes unites the Italian faithful for the simple reason that we do not have a national Marian shrine in Italy, only small, regional places of pilgrimages." From 25th September to 3rd October, 10,000 Italian pilgrims will be present in Lourdes as part of their national pilgrimage which is organised by UNITALSI.
At 11.50am each day, an Italian chaplain invites the pilgrims present at the Grotto to pray the Angelus. Those who can’t come to Lourdes can also join in praying the Angelus, thanks to the live broadcast on TV2000 and TV Lourdes.