Lourdes News the journal of graces

Published on 26 February 2020 - 15:25

In order to help everyone in their pilgrimage, the Sanctuary publishes a free newspaper in which it offers some insights and suggests concrete gestures, and routes to be followed when you come to Lourdes.

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
3rd. to 11th. February

Our Lady of Lourdes,
You appeared in the hollow of the rock of Massabielle
To Bernadette, a small and simple shepherdess from Bigorre.
You brought her the radiant light of your smile,
The gentle, resplendent brightness of your presence.
Day by day, you built a relationship with her
Where you looked at her like one person talking to another.
We, too, come here before you in our poverty,
and we humbly pray to you.
May those who doubt discover the joy of trust,
May those who despair sense your discreet presence.
Our Lady of Lourdes,
You revealed your name to Bernadette
By simply saying “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
May we discover the joy of a forgiveness that never falters,
Instil in us the desire for a rediscovered innocence and a joyful holiness.
Help the blinded sinner.
You who gave birth to the Saviour of the world,
Look tenderly on our beautiful but tragic world.
Open in us the path of hope,
Guide us to the One who is the Living Source,
Jesus, your Son, who teaches us to say
Our Father…

Say the novena.
Pray a decade of the rosary.
Invocations: “Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!”
“Saint Bernadette, pray for us!”
“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
Go to Mass and Holy Communion on 11th February.
It is also recommended that you receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the octave.

Serving in Lourdes

Joining the hospitality

If you are between 18 and 75 years old, the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes (HNDL) will be delighted to welcome you. You can start your service in the Sanctuary.
You will be in Lourdes as a volunteer, so it is your responsibility to organise your travel, accommodation and meals. In order to make this as easy as possible for you, the HNDL provides a refectory, accommodation centres and a café/bar.
Contact: hospitalite-lourdes@wanadoo.fr Tel. +33 (0) 5 62 42 80 84
Hospitality Notre-Dame de Lourdes BP 197 65 106 LOURDES Cedex

How do I volunteer ?

You just have to fill in the online form on the sanctuary website. There is no registration fee to become a volunteer at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
You must:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Be physically fit for regular work
• Commit for a given period
• Accept assignments and service changes as needed
To help you organise your stay, the Sanctuary of Lourdes has accommodation for volunteers. Several rates are available depending on the level of comfort you require. To book, send an email to hebergement@lourdes-france.com or call +33 (0) 5 62 42 82 59.

At the heart of message of Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception”

In 2019, we walked in Bernadette’s footsteps on the double anniversary of her birth and death. In 2020, we come to the Grotto to meet the Lady who appeared on 25th March 1858, and gave her name when she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” At the request of the rector, the Sanctuary “chapelains” offer some thoughts and suggest concrete gestures for your next pilgrimage.

The Immaculate Conception

The high point of Bernadette’s 18 meetings with Mary, at the Grotto of Massabielle, was on 25th March, the day of the Annunciation and the 16th apparition, the day on which the Lady revealed her name: I am the Immaculate Conception. Bernadette could not have been lying when she reported the Lady’s words. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated by Pope Pius IX on 8th December 1854. Bernadette Soubirous, unable to read or write, and therefore unable to go to catechism classes, could not have known about it. The dogma is defined as follows: the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin.”

Why a pastoral theme ?

To know about, to delve deeper into and to own Bernadette’s experience, that is to say the message of Lourdes. It is from the account of the apparitions that we are invited to rediscover the Word of God. The theme of the year is a suggestion from the Sanctuary of how you might deepen the experience of your pilgrims when they come to Lourdes. You can read it in full on the website.
To help you during your pilgrimage, here are a few suggestions of gestures you might like to make.

Make the water gesture

At the 9th apparition, on 25th February 1858, Mary showed Bernadette where to dig to find the spring. In doing this, she revealed to us the depth of Jesus’ heart and of his infinite mercy. Through baptism, Christ gives us access to the spring of life placed deep in our hearts. For all those who have been baptised, there is a before and after the discovery of the spring, a discovery which can be made, in particular, during a pilgrimage. Let us ask the Immaculate Virgin to help us discover the spring of charity that is already within us and to share it with our brothers and sisters. Let’s go to the taps to drink and wash. And when we leave the Grotto, let’s take home some water from the spring to share with those who were unable to come. (1) You might like to organise a water celebration which people can do either individually or in community. Each pilgrimage can adapt and enrich it with songs and prayers. You should provide containers filled with water from the Grotto and drinking cups.

Light a candle

Immaculate, Mary is a being of light. After the first apparition, Bernadette said, “I saw a young lady wrapped in light.” The light at which she gazed revealed her own darkness and dissipated it. The candle she carried from the third apparition helped her to pray because it reminded her of the candle that is given to the godparents during a baptism. Let’s imitate Bernadette, let’s go to the Grotto to ask for a light in our lives. In Lourdes, each day ends with a torchlight procession, starting at 9 p.m. Let us light our candles, sing the Ave Maria and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.

Go to confession

After Bernadette saw the beautiful Lady of Massabielle all “surrounded by light” she became aware of her sins and, three days after the first apparition, went confession for the first time in her life. The pastoral theme “I am the Immaculate Conception” gives us a chance to reflect on forgiveness, because the presence of Mary opens us up to hope. Forgiveness granted or received opens us to life. We become free again. The Sanctuary therefore suggests we have a celebration of forgiveness based on Mary’s gaze: a gaze which is always open to hope and fruitfulness. Let’s pray to Mary that, reassured by her tenderness and by the mercy of God, we may receive the sacrament of confession.

The Church is a family

You might like to join the Family of Our Lady of Lourdes. You receive a scapular and, through a monthly newsletter, you can maintain a link with Lourdes and with other members of the Family so as to remain in the grace of the meeting between Mary and Bernadette.
Contact: famillendl@lourdes-france.com

A communion of grace

When Mary asks Bernadette to come to the Grotto for fifteen days, she actually invites her to open her heart. May we have the grace, like Bernadette, to feel “looked at like a person”.

“Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the handmaid of the Father who sings his praises. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine should not be lacking in our lives. She is the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword and who understands all our pain. As mother of all, she is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. She is the missionary who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love.”

(Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium n° 286)

The Sanctuary invites us to make an act of trust or consecration to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Act of trust in Mary
Blessed are you, God, our Father
for having created Mary so beautiful
and for having given her to us as Mother
at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.
Blessed are You for having called us,
like Bernadette,
to see Mary in Your light
and to drink from the wellspring of Your Heart.
Mary, you know the misery and the sin of our lives and the life of the world.
We want to entrust ourselves to You today,
totally and without reserve.
From you we will be reborn each day
by the power of the Spirit.
We will live the life of Jesus as little servants of our brothers and sisters.
Teach us, Mary,
to bear the life of the Lord.
Teach us the “yes” of your heart.

The Sanctuary invites us to open our hearts for an exchange with Mary. After making a beautiful sign of the Cross, let us say with true affection, “Hail, Mary …”