by Courtney Mares
Rome Newsroom, Jul 14, 2020 / 06:00 MT (CNA) .- As global coronavirus cases surpass 13 million, Lourdes is offering a digital pilgrimage this week to pray for the sick on the anniversary of his last Marian apparition.
The Marian shrine will be direct the rosary in 10 languages, the mass for several time zones and a procession with the relics of Saint Bernadette on July 16.
Lourdes has been known as a sanctuary for the sick for over a century. The shrine contains a spring that is said to have miraculous healing properties.
July 16 marks the 18th and last apparition in the grotto of Lourdes in 1858. Saint Bernadette says of the event: “I only saw the Virgin. I have never seen her so beautiful.
After months without pilgrims, the shrine faces an expected loss of $ 9 million and struggles to preserve the jobs of its 320 employees, who have already cut their hours.
Mgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, rector of the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Lourdes, called for the reopening of the sanctuary.
“For 162 years, Lourdes has been a place of friendship centered on the poor and the sick, an unparalleled school of life, service and prayer. It is a spiritual gem that never ceases to give meaning and hope to our lives, ”he said.
“The resources of the sanctuary depend on the pilgrims who visit the site. Without them, without their offerings and their gifts, Lourdes cannot exist. The sanctuary was hit by these economic difficulties just after returning to financial equilibrium.
“It is therefore a real call for help that the sanctuary launches to all those who love Lourdes and who consider this place as part of our spiritual heritage.
The sanctuary of Lourdes generally welcomes three million pilgrims and international visitors each year, including more than 50,000 sick and disabled people. All pilgrimages were canceled during the two-month closure of the Marian Shrine, and security measures and travel restrictions limited the number of people who can visit it this summer.
“The countless testimonies and prayer intentions that have come down to us confirm that the role of this shrine is to be a beating heart of prayer for the world and with the world,” said Dumas.