Cardinal Delivers Message Of 'hope' As Pilgrims Stay Away From Lourdes Celebration
Muhammad Irfan 1 month ago Sat 15th August 2020 | 07:00 PM
Lourdes, France, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Aug, 2020 ) :The Roman Catholic church's annual Assumption celebrations took place in Lourdes on Saturday with fewer pilgrims than usual making the trip to the south-west of France because of the global health crisis.
For the first time, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State and right-hand man of Pope Francis, presided over the mass at the grotto, delivering a message of "hope" for a "world that knows darkness, fear", referring in particular to the coronavirus pandemic.
The organisers then closed access to the underground basilica, inviting pilgrims to follow on screens outside.
"It's weird. There aren't many people this year," said Michel Clavel, a retired 66-year-old truck driver, who comes every year for the Assumption pilgrimage.
Wearing a mask was compulsory and scrupulously respected.
A few dozen patients, some in wheelchairs, were in the front row but because of the sanitary precautions, the large numbers of sick and infirm who normally travel to Lourdes in search of a miraculous cure were absent.
The cave where, according to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, is closed to the public, to avoid contamination, because pilgrims are used to putting their hands on the walls, kissing the stone.
After a two-month closure during confinement, the sanctuaries of Lourdes have been gradually opening up but the large contingents of foreign pilgrims are missing and many hotels and souvenir shops remain closed.