Pilgrims gather at Lourdes for Assumption

15th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

LOURDES, France, Aug 15, 2007 (AFP) - Tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered at the Roman Catholic sanctuary of Lourdes in the French Pyrenees Wednesday for the Feast of the Assumption marking the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven.

LOURDES, France, Aug 15, 2007 (AFP) - Tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered at the Roman Catholic sanctuary of Lourdes in the French Pyrenees Wednesday for the Feast of the Assumption marking the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven.

Under bright sunshine, some 35,000 people attended an open-air mass, the high point of the annual French pilgrimage to Lourdes, which is Christianity's most visited place of pilgrimage after Rome.

The archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, who celebrated the mass in the presence of nine bishops and some 200 priests, dedicated his homily to the victims of bloodshed in Iraq.
 
Some six million pilgrims flock each year to the small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees, where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to a young miller's daughter inside a cave in 1858.
 
"This is a magical place for us," said Veronique and Jean-Noel Dessoulle, a couple of ambulance workers who met at Lourdes 19 years ago and returned this year with their four sons.
 
Among the crowd, who arrived on board eight special trains and 30 coaches, were more than 1,000 sick and disabled people, who have been taken in since Saturday at hospitals across the town.
 
Lourdes each year draws hundreds of thousands of sick and handicapped, fervently praying for a cure from what they believe is the holy power of the site's spring water.
 
Out of the more than 6,700 exceptional cures reported to be linked to Lourdes since 1858, one percent have been officially recognised as "miracles".

AFP

Subject: French news

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