France: Bishop Jacques Perrier rebuilds the pools at Lourdes

Source: FSSPX News

The Most Rev. Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes has announced that as a part of the Siloam project, the pools of Lourdes will be rebuilt to better accommodate pilgrims.  In a statement released January 18, 2012, the bishop explained the Siloam project would allow each pilgrim to decide whether to drink, bathe or wash.  Because “we want to return to the original message of the Virgin: Go drink at the fountain and wash yourself there.  And yet, today it is possible to drink or to bathe in two different places, but not to wash.”

There is no question of removing the bathing pools, he says.  The present building, located near the Grotto of the apparition, has 17 baths, an insufficient number to take care of the needs of the influx of pilgrims during the high season.  The 2009 meeting on project Siloam concluded that there is an express need to supplement the pools with basins, which “permit the accomplishment of the act requested by Our Lady.”  These basins will be at different heights, but some will be on the ground.  “It was by scraping the ground that Bernadette discovered the trickle that became the source,” explained Bishop Perrier.

The new bathing pool site will be landscaped and sit opposite the grotto on the right bank of the Gave River, where it will be protected from flooding.  A competition was launched by the Sanctuary and five French architectural firms were selected.  “Their proposals must be submitted before the end of April, and then we will choose,” said the bishop.  The execution of new space which should be completed in 2014-2015, will be charged to the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

The project, estimated at four million Euros, evoked some concern.  “Nothing has been accomplished at Lourdes except through the taking out of loans, because we have never had the required monies for our ambitions; I am not going to let that stop this,” said Bishop Jacques Perrier.  Besides, the sanctuary has finally paid off the loans for the renovation of the reception area for the patients.

Appointed titular bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes on January 16, 1998, Bishop Perrier is preparing to retire from his see, having reached the age of 75 on December 4, 2011. (Sources: apic / heavy-France - DICI No. 249 of 02/03/12)