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Lourdes News - Le Mag vidéo #3

Le Mag VidéoThe contents of this issue: The crowds for the great days of the Assumption. The pilgrims responded to their rendezvous of 15 August. Ingrid Bétancourt back in Lourdes for the Assumption: a moment of happiness shared with all the pilgrims. The silence at the Grotto: a team was organized to enable everyone to pray silently in a calmer and more peaceful environment. The Pope decreed the opening of a Holy Year on the theme of Mercy. Lourdes will be associated with the event and will propose a “Pilgrimage of Mercy”. And to finish, the birth of the first pilgrimage of the Firefighters of France.

15 August in Lourdes

The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated in the joy of the mission, the theme of the year 2015 in the Sanctuary of Lourdes. Report in photos on the solemn Mass which took place in the Basilica of Saint Pius X, in the morning. It was organised by the National Pilgrimage of the Assumption. 7,000 pilgrims were enrolled in this pilgrimage which was its 142nd session. Among the pilgrims, we can cite 800 sick or disabled people, a group of 150 Africans from the Ivory Coast, 900 Christians from the East, refugees in France. And also the Franco-Columbian Ingrid Bétancourt ex-hostage of the FARC, freed in 2008 after six years of captivity. The National Pilgrimage proposed a reflection on the Synod on the family and on consecrated life. It was presided over by the Archbishop of Marseille and President of the Conference of French Bishops, Monsignor Georges Pontier.

Ingrid Bétancourt, the return

Pilgrims of the Assumption had the pleasure of meeting, Ingrid Bétancourt, the Franco-Colombian ex-hostage of the FARC, released after six years of captivity in Colombia. This courageous woman was literally saved during her detention by reading the Bible, the Word of God, and afterwards she placed forgiveness - mercy – at the centre of her life, without failing to publically express, during her exchange with the pilgrims, her attachment to Pope Francis.

Ingrid Bétancourt : “I think that the exercise of forgiveness is the greatest task we must accomplish in our lives. It is the most difficult. It is this which gives us most reward, whether it be an individual or collective forgiveness.” (…) “It must be experienced in both ways. As for me, I look at Pope Francis and I say to myself: he is everything I want in a Pope. It is marvelous to have someone who reminds us gently of what is essential. I think it is very refreshing to acknowledge that no one can judge the other. What joy ! We do not have to judge the lives of others. What joy to respect others in their difference. We needed to hear that, and to hear it from a Pope. And also what joy for us to make us consider our choices as French people today, faced with an issue, for example, like immigration. Are we afraid? Are we going to shut ourselves away, shut our doors ? No, we do not want strangers, we do not want to share anything, our culture is our own? Or do we have the strength in us to be generous and to have faith? Our faith is so real, so strong that we can open up, because we will be the winners, in any case. Because the truth is stronger”.

Silence at the Grotto

To encourage silent prayer at the Grotto of the apparitions, which is the heart of the Sanctuary, a team of volunteers has been given the mission of helping the pilgrims to remain silent when necessary. The team “of silence at the Grotto” is composed of volunteers and members of the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes. They circulate in the area of the Grotto seeking out noisy pilgrims. By a simple “shush” or a few words, they invite the pilgrims to restore a more serene ambiance. After a month of this work, the result is there. You need only listen. The useless chatter is finished. Only the murmur of the Gave can be heard. The Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Mgr Brouwet is convinced: “He who is silent is disposed to hear the Word of God and form a relationship with Him.”

Great Jubilee of Mercy

Mid-August during a Press conference, the Administrators of the Sanctuary announced that Lourdes will associate itself with the organization of the Great Jubilee of Mercy, a Jubilee decreed by Pope Francis. From 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016, the period of the Holy Year, everyone is invited to come to Lourdes to experience the pilgrimage of Mercy. Father d’Arrodes, a Chaplain of Lourdes, tells us more about this event which is being actively prepared by the Sanctuary : “I am sure that, around us, there are people who would like to come: a sick person, or your grandchildren who have said to you ‘But why don’t we go to Lourdes’ or ‘when are we going ?’ This is the time to give them the opportunity to come. It is by planning ahead now that you will enable them to come, because it is an important time in the life of the Church. It is one of the moments of this Universal Church when we are invited to celebrate this mercy together, and this joy of being Christian” .

Firefighters of France and of Paris

"Courage and dedication," "save or perish" are the mottos of the Firefighters of France and of Paris. They have a place of honour for their first national pilgrimage to Lourdes from 22 to 26 August. A gathering organised on the initiative of a retired volunteer firefighter, Francis Galmiche, who ardently wishes that this pilgrimage may be the opportunity for the firefighter-pilgrims to place their service under the benevolent gaze of the Virgin Mary, and that everyone may return to his or her station filled with a missionary spirit.

Francis Galmiche : “My intention for this pilgrimage is to make the 100 or so persons registered to come – perhaps more, I don’t know - understand that, as a firefighter, one is on a mission: a mission of fire, of assistance to victims, a mission of all kinds of intervention. These are indeed missions. But further, I would like Our Lady to make them understand that the additional mission that awaits them is not a material one, but a spiritual mission. And if, by good fortune, one or more were to take over as missionaries (this year what’s more, is the year of the mission, the joy of the mission), then that would be extraordinary, but it’s out of my hands. They will receive the message. It is up to them to distil and extract the principal meaning of going on a mission.”