Lourdes military pilgrimage

Lourdes Travel Blog

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During the third weekend of May servicemen and women from 32 countries met for the 49th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Members of the Slovak Armed Forces in their ceremonial uniforms were joined by the members of the Slovak Republic`s prison and justice department, police, firefighting and rescue corps, and railway police. Many civilian employees of the Slovak ministries along with their families also took part in the event. The motto of this year’s pilgrimage was: “Let yourself be reconciled with God.”

The pilgrims had a rich programme during the weekend. A few hours after their arrival on Friday, they could get their fill as concerts were performed by military bands from various countries, while they could admire the beauty of ceremonial uniforms.
Following the Slovak mass in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, soldiers and other pilgrims moved in processions to the Underground Basilica of St. Pious X, which on that particular night saw about 20 000 people. Slovak pilgrims together with the Polish delegation later held a mass at the Grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared. It was celebrated by Bishop Rábek in both Slovak and Polish. On Saturday night the most anticipated event was held – the torchlight procession, where a massive number of pilgrims singing songs and holding candles in their hands moved from the Cap de Vielle Plaza to the Rosary Basilica, carrying a symbolic light of life. On Sunday pilgrims took part in a Stations of the Cross Procession along the Via Sacra, where replicas of the Stations of the Cross are shown life size. The procession culminated in the Chapel of Calvary.
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photo by: Cho