On Thursday 7th and Friday 8th December 2017 the Sanctuary of Lourdes solemnly celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in union with Christians from the East - Mary is the "servant of peace." The Patriarchal Vicar for Palestine, Mgr Marcuzzo, will preside over the celebrations. At midday a floral tribute composed of thousand of roses donated by web-pilgrims will be laid at the Grotto (Book your rose before December 4th). In the evening, a sound and light show will be offered by the association SOS Chrétiens d'Orient.
Programme of events
- Thursday 7th December at 9pm, Torchlight procession and inauguration of the Feast.
- Friday 8th December: the great Feast Day
- 10.00am International Mass (Basilica of Saint Pius X) live on TV Lourdes
- 11.30am Angelus at the Grotto followed by a floral tribute to the Immaculate Conception (you too can offer a rose to the Virgin Mary - Book your rose before December 4th). live on TV Lourdes
- 3.00pm Conference ‘Mary, servant of peace’, by the Patriarchal Vicar for Palestine, Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo (Hemicycle Saint Bernadette).
- 4.30pm Vespers (Rosary Basilica).
- 6.00pm In town, place Mgr Peyramale, a video projection on a giant screen on the town of Bethlehem followed by the illumination of the Lourdes Town Christmas tree.
- 8.30pm Sound and light charity show, in partnership with the Association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (Rosary Basilica), for the benefit of the reconstruction of the school of the cathedral of Bagdad (Iraq). The theme of the presentation is "Martyrdom and hope of the Christians of the East, from Saint Paul to the present day". Tickets available from SOS Chrétiens d’Orient or the Lourdes Tourist Office.
- After the sound and light show (around 10.00pm) Procession at the Grotto with the Rosary live on TV Lourdes
What does the ‘Immaculate Conception’ mean? According to the Catholic faith Mary has never known evil, having been conceived free from original sin. This absolute immunity is called the Immaculate Conception. This dogma was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854, "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, (…) preserved immune from all stain of original sin." The Church thus invites its members to contemplate, in Mary, humanity in its perfection as envisaged by God.
Lourdes and the Immaculate Conception... At the end of the Apparition of 25th March 1858, Bernadette hastens from the Grotto to the presbytery. She wants to convey to the Parish Priest, Father Marie-Dominique Peyramale, the name the Lady gave her, a name she does not understand. On the way she repeats the words so that she does not forget them. Entering the presbytery she says, "Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou" in local dialect ("I am the Immaculate Conception"). Father René Laurentin, the historian of Lourdes, recounts the reaction of Father Peyramale: "Peyramale, the rock, wavered under the shock, he was at a loss. The weapon of his authority, which he wielded to produce good results, abandoned him. From the bottom of his heart and breast, a tide had risen, submerging him. He choked back his sobs..." It is certainly at this moment that the Parish Priest of Lourdes was convinced of the authenticity of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette.