Pope to hold mass in Lourdes

19th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

VATICAN CITY, July 19 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II will hold a mass, lead three prayers and recite the Stations of the Cross liturgy during his two-day visit to France's southern "miracle" town of Lourdes next month, the Vatican said on Monday.

VATICAN CITY, July 19 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II will hold a mass, lead three prayers and recite the Stations of the Cross liturgy during his two-day visit to France's southern "miracle" town of Lourdes next month, the Vatican said on Monday.  

The 84-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church is due to leave Rome early on August 14 for Tarbes airport where he will be met by French President Jacques Chirac, according to the official programme.  

He then heads to the nearby pilgrimage site of Lourdes where he is due to arrive at 1030 GMT.   His visit to the site from August 14 until 15 marks the 150th anniversary of the sightings of the Virgin Mary by a peasant girl.  

Lourdes draws six million pilgrims a year, many of whom seek succour at a shrine set up in a grotto where, in 1858, the 14-year-old peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous said she saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the grotto of Massabielle telling her to drink from a spring she discovered there.  

The pope will say Angelus Domini prayers at the grotto. Later in the day, he will recite the rosary there and preside over the recitation of the Stations of the Cross, ending at the basilica of Lourdes where he is to read a prayer to close the ceremony.   In the evening he will preside over a torch-lit procession from the terrace of where he is staying.

The procession is to leave from the grotto and end up in front of the basilica where the pontiff will read a prayer he himself has written.  

The next day, the pope who suffers from Parkinson's disease goes to the sacristy of the Church of Sainte Bernadette near the Sanctuary of Lourdes where he will celebrate mass and pronounce a homily.  

After mass he is to read a short speech followed by a meeting with members of the permanent council of the Bishops' Conference of France as well as French cardinals and bishops.  

At 1515 GMT, he heads off to private prayers in the grotto from where he leaves 45 minutes later for the airport.   He is scheduled to arrive back in Rome at 1845 GMT.  

The trip mark the pope's 104th trip outside of Italy, his second to Lourdes and his eighth visit to France, the last of which dates back to 1997.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

 

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