Pope to visit Lourdes in August

24th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

VATICAN CITY, June 24 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II will visit the French pilgrimage site of Lourdes in August to mark the 150th anniversary of the sightings of the Virgin Mary by a peasant girl, the Vatican said Thursday.

VATICAN CITY, June 24 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II will visit the French pilgrimage site of Lourdes in August to mark the 150th anniversary of the sightings of the Virgin Mary by a peasant girl, the Vatican said Thursday.

"The Holy Father John Paul II will make a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the grotto of Lourdes on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

One of the most popular of all Roman Catholic shrines and reputed to be a place of miraculous healing, Lourdes is visited by some three million tourists a year.

Between 1843 and 1879, 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous is said to have experienced 18 visions of the Virgin Mary in a cave there. Bernadette was canonized in 1933.

French President Jacques Chirac is scheduled to welcome the pope to Lourdes from August 14-15.

The pontiff's last visit to France was in 1997 for World Youth Day.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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