World’s first online pre-pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Lourdes in France

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Lourdes is usually filled in summer with pilgrims who travel, sometimes around the world, to light a candle in the sanctuary where Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary appeared.But with failed flights, many international borders still closed and social distancing rules in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lourdes had to find another way.

The sanctuary in south-western France broadcast masses and prayers throughout the day in five different languages ​​on television and on social networks for the electronic pilgrimage, dubbed “Lourdes United”.

A two-hour live celebration took place in the afternoon from the cave, to mark what the faithful believe to be the eighteenth and last appearance of Mary to the young girl Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

The cave, a cave, is where Soubirous would have seen the mother of Jesus.

The site also has a source with renowned healing powers, which pilgrims drink from.

Even virtually, “there is a real communion between pilgrims,” ​​said Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas, rector of the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

The anniversary is “an opportunity for all those who are far from meeting, even if it will never replace coming on pilgrimage,” he added.

A team of chaplains will also be in charge of responding in different languages ​​on social networks to priests who respond to prayer intentions, “but also to questions relating to the possibilities of pilgrimages to Lourdes or questions concerning faith,” said Mathias. Terrier, responsible for communication. for Lourdes.

Like many religious sites, Lourdes turned to technology to maintain links with the faithful after its closure for the first time during the strict locking of the virus in France.

The number of viewers on TV Lourdes has increased, sometimes reaching almost 150,000 views per day, while the sanctuary’s subscribers on Facebook Live have jumped by more than 400% and the number of new subscribers on Twitter and Instagram has increased in arrow.

“During the lockdown, we clearly saw that the sanctuary – closed to the public – had never had so many visits by all available means. We understood that we had to expand these means, ”said Terrier.

Lourdes reopened on May 16 after being closed for two months, but almost all of the traditional summer pilgrimages have been canceled and the sanctuary only accepts individual pilgrims.

The site expects an eight million euro ($ 9 million) deficit for 2020 due to the pandemic, and is using the electronic pilgrimage as an opportunity to call for funds.

This story was published from a news agency thread without text modification. Only the title has been changed.

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