Thursday, September 20, 2007

France - Lourdes National Pilgrimage

I will start my first contribution with something typically French and I hope you will excuse me...
You probably know the two important pilgrimages which take place on the week-end of Pentecost: Paris - Chartres, and Chartres - Paris, both of them using exclusively the usus antiquior.

There is a bigger and older pilgrimage in France, actually the biggest one.
It takes place every year on the 15th of August in Lourdes. It is not a 105 km walk, but it is more focused on sick persons and their families, friends, and volunteers.

It is called the "Pèlerinage National", or more simply "Le National".

The pilgrimage was founded in 1873 by by Assumptionist Fathers: 492 pilgrims at the first pilgrimage.
Today nearly 50 000 pilgrims attend this event every year.

Pope John Paul II was among them in 1983 and in 2004

My purpose is not to describe this pilgrimage but to show that things are changing slowly in France, regardind the communities of faithfull or priests who dedicate themselves to the extraordinary form of the roman rite.

I did not personally attend but I was sent (recently) some photographs that I would like to share with you, and some comments from Father Bizard, FSSP, and Father Pozzetto, FSSP and chaplain to the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Summorum Pontificum was not yet published but the times when the usus antiquior was nearly banished seem to be over.

The pilgrimage was spread over five days, and every day three masses have been celebrated in the basilica (which is not the biggest sanctuary but the oldest and I think much more beautiful than the very modern crypt). Low mass at 6:15 AM, sung masses at 9:30 AM and 6:30 PM.
Many people attended, most of them used to this form, some discovering it.
Since the motu proprio, the 9:30 mass will be celebrated by the chaplains of the sanctuary every Sunday and day of obligation.
It is clear that now there is a great welcome from the authorities of the sanctuary: everything to say mass had been prepared in advance in the sacristy.
To give an idea of the congregation, there were 600 people attending the 9:30 mass on Assumption Day and the crypt of the basilica was full as well for the evening mass.
Three priests were present for confessions during the office.

Communion given by several priests. The ICKSP priest wears a blue camail.

The congregation, view from the organ loft.

Lourdes famous way of the cross.

Some officials, among them Fr Barker, Fr Després, Fr Pozzetto, Fr Bizard.

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