The Lourdes February Days took place on 10-12th February at the Saint Bernadette church, which was fully equipped to host pilgrimage organisers under the required health regulations and to connect participants remotely.
Generation Lourdes: “Go and tell the priests”
Mgr. Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas, Rector of the Sanctuary, who opened the conference said that “Everything is a grace” despite secularisation. “Everything is a grace” because the crisis we are going through has forced Lourdes to talk about it and that is a good thing. “Everything is a grace” because the tourist dimension can always lead to a great spiritual experience.
It was Mary who asked us to come here on pilgrimage. And from the first apparitions, large crowds accompanied Bernadette, some out of curiosity, others animated by a deep faith. It was Mary who invited, welcomed and supported Bernadette in her regular visits to the grotto of Massabielle between February and July 1858. Mary, in asking Bernadette to do her the favour of coming for 15 days, gave her a magnificent gift, an immeasurable gift: that of entering into a relationship of love which opened up to her the happiness of the other world of which she would speak.
“Young people, they are not the future of the Church; they are its present.”
We are called to respond to the invitation of the Immaculate Virgin “Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come in procession”. And for that to happen, we must appeal to the good will of all concerned. During these Lourdes February Days, we talked about young people because – as the Rector of Lourdes said, “Young people, they are not the future of the Church; they are its present.” And the young people asked the pilgrimage directors and the Hospitality presidents to trust them. Young people do not have the same notion of commitment, but their freshness and spontaneity is an advantage. Youth ministry is not a separate ministry, it must be adapted to the younger generations. The mission of Lourdes was entrusted to an impoverished, sick young woman who was not in especially good standing with the Church, because she had not yet made her first communion…