WASHINGTON (November 27, 2007) – The Bishop of Lourdes, France, Most Reverend Jacques Perrier, announced November 27 in Washington the opening of a year-long celebration of the 150th Jubilee anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto at Lourdes. Bishop Perrier made the announcement in the nation's capital as part of a series of visits to cities around the globe such as Paris, Rome and London. The announcement was made at the see of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"I invite the people of the United States to visit Lourdes during the Jubilee year or to honor the anniversary at home in their parishes with prayer, with service to the sick and disabled or by pilgrimage to local Grotto replicas throughout the country," Bishop Perrier said.
The Jubilee Year will officially open December 8, 2007, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and conclude the following year on the same day. Each pilgrim going to Lourdes will be invited to follow the "Jubilee Path" in four steps: The Baptismal Font where Bernadette was baptized, The Cachot where she lived with her family throughout the apparitions, the Grotto where the saw the Blessed Virgin 18 times and the chapel where Bernadette made her First Communion. In light of the New Evangelization, the Message of Lourdes contributes to the mission of the Church focusing on twelve areas: conversion, service to others, Mary, the youth, the sick, the disabled, the marginalized, peace, Christian unity, inter-religious dialogue and through the Eucharist.
A novena will be offered, downloadable from the Internet, for all those desiring to be pilgrims at home and to make possible the involvement of communities throughout the world associated with Lourdes and St. Bernadette.
It is estimated that over 500,000 American Catholics visit the sanctuaries at Lourdes, France, every year. The annual number of pilgrims to the shrine is over six million. Several hundred parishes and schools in the United States are named in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes, in addition to hundreds of Grotto replicas in churches and shrines throughout the country.
For more information contact Father Régis-Marie de La Teysonnière, Lourdes liaison in the United States, at 315-480-6371 (cell) or 315-476-0026 (office) or e-mail: PereRegisMarie@LourdesVolunteers.org (available also for comments in Spanish).
Information on Lourdes and 2008 Jubilee celebrations can also be downloaded in English or Spanish from: www.lourdes-france.org and www.lourdes2008.com
A summary of information on Lourdes and Bishop Perrier follows.
Most Reverend Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Lourdes, France
LOURDES 150th JUBILEE 2008
November 27, 2007
Most Reverend Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Lourdes, announced today at the see of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops the upcoming 150th Jubilee Year honoring the anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette Soubirous. On December 8, 2007, at a Mass in Lourdes in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Jubilee Year will be formally open.
A twelve-month series of celebrations, pilgrimages and 12 Missions will highlight the Message of Lourdes in light of the "new evangelization" and will involve places and communities throughout the world associated with the name of Lourdes and St. Bernadette. The missions include service, conversion, the sick, disabled, Mary, youth, nations, peace, inter-religious, the Eucharist, the poor and unity. Parishes, schools, hospitals and Grotto replicas linked to the famous site or Our Lady of Lourdes or her title of the Immaculate Conception will be invited to reunite themselves to the original message of conversion and penance.
Several hundred American parishes and schools in the US are named in association to Lourdes in addition to hundreds of Grotto replicas in churches and shrines throughout the country. Over 500,000 American Catholics are estimated to visit the Sanctuaries at Lourdes, France each year. Over 6 million make pilgrimage to the most famous Marian shrine in Europe. The Bishop personally invited Americans to visit Lourdes during the Jubilee or to honor the anniversary at home with parishes in prayer or with service to the sick and disabled or by pilgrimage to local Grotto replicas throughout the United States.
The Bishop has come to the US to share the blessings of Lourdes with Americans for the Jubilee.
Most Reverend Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes et Lourdes, France
Ordained on September 16, 1990 in Paris as the Bishop of Chartres, he was named the Bishop of Tarbes et Lourdes in 1998 after serving as Coadjutor in 1997. Bishop Perrier is the Founding Director of Radio Notre-Dame in Paris and of the Marian European Network of Sanctuaries. He is the former Chaplain for the Sorbonne and is the author of numerous books. He welcomed Pope John Paul II to Lourdes in August of 2004 and it has been announced he is expected to welcome Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 for the Jubilee.
Dates and Facts
Our Lady of Lourdes Feast Day: February 11 (proclaimed annual World Day of the Sick in 1992)
Apparition Dates: February 11 through July 16, 1858 (18 Apparitions)
St. Bernadette Soubirous Feast Day: April 16 (February 18 in France)
Born: January 7, 1844, Died: April 16, 1879; Canonized: December 8, 1933
Miracles: 67 Proclaimed by the Church; ~6,700 claims submitted; ~3,500 scientifically recognized
Today: ~6 million pilgrims are estimated to visit the Sanctuaries annually from ~170 various countries
Lourdes Summary Information
On February 11, 1858, the first of a series of heavenly apparitions appeared to a poor illiterate fourteen year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, in a Grotto cave on the outskirts of the small town of Lourdes in the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France. During the apparitions, Bernadette was asked to "pray for sinners" and instructed to dig in the ground for a spring of water, "to drink and wash of it," to go tell the priests "to build a chapel" and to "have the people come in procession." On March 25, at the request of the local pastor, Abbé Peyramale, the apparition identified herself to Bernadette saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception," the then recent Marian Dogma proclaimed by the Church December 8, 1854.
Physical miracles began to take place from the water and the apparitions drew crowds of thousands who prayed the rosary with Bernadette. Eighteen apparitions took place in all, concluding on July 16, 1858.
After a four-year investigation, on January 18, 1862, Msgr. Laurence, then Bishop of Tarbes, proclaimed the apparitions as valid and the Grotto as worthy of pilgrimage. He proclaimed 7 miracles and founded the Medical Bureau. The International Medical Committee of Lourdes was created as a scientific team of physicians to dispassionately investigate individual claims of cures. Almost 7,000 claims of inexplicable healings have been submitted to date with approximately half announced as "scientifically inexplicable cures." The Catholic Church has proclaimed 67 miracles, the most recent announced November 9, 2005.
St. Bernadette Soubrious Summary Information
Bernarde Marie Soubirous was born on January 7, 1844 to Louise (Castérot) and François Soubirous, millers in the small town of 4,000 in Lourdes, France. Affectionately called Bernadette, she was the oldest of nine children, only four of whom lived beyond young childhood. After ten years of happiness in the Boly Mill, her family fell victim to poverty becoming homeless and eventually forced to live in the "Cachot," the abandoned town jail. In search of firewood on the winter morning of February 11, 1858, Bernadette, with her sister and friend, ventured along the Gave river where Bernadette hearing "a gust of wind" encountered the first apparition appearing in a niche above the Grotto of Massabielle. Bernadette remained accurate and humble as a credible witness to her account of the 18 apparitions.
In 1862 Bernadette entered religious life with the Sisters of Charity of Christian Instruction of Nevers at the Motherhouse of St. Gildard Convent in Nevers, France, living a hidden life away from the world. She was exhumed and discovered incorrupt in 1909, beatified in 1925 and canonized on December 8, 1933.
Contact Information and Links
France: Bishop Perrier Office: Phone 011-33-522.214.171.124 Eveque.Lourdes@lourdes-france.com
Service Communications Phone 011-33-562-42.78.01 email@example.com
Links: www.lourdes-france.org www.lourdes2008.com
USA: Fr. Régis-Marie de La Teyssonnière Phone (315) 480-6371 cell OR (315) 476-0026 office PereRegisMarie@LourdesVolunteers.org