France: Lourdes, February 11, 1858 - February 11, 2008

Source: FSSPX News


Bishop Jacques Perrier, of Tarbes and Lourdes has invited all French people to attend the ceremonies scheduled on February 11, in honor of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin, 150 years ago. “I would like the French to realize the significance of February 11,” he declared in an interview with the daily La Croix.

Bishop Perrier explains the meaning of the ceremonies: “It is the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and I know of no other Marian feast linked to a shrine which is thus inscribed on the calendar of the universal Church. It is also the World Day of the Sick.” “Indeed, the first fifteen apparitions were all within the weeks which followed February 11. The jubilee year is the opportunity to go back to the original spirit.”

“The first apparition, like the second were silent. As the narratives told us, they were, as it were, a first contact between the ‘Lady’ and Bernadette by means of gestures and smiles before the first words were uttered. Mary’s first gesture was to sign herself with the cross of her rosary.” Bernadette Soubirous was so often obliged to say what she saw and heard during the apparitions so “that we have at our disposal a whole collection of stories” to help us understand the message of Lourdes.

40.000 people are expected on the opening day of the anniversary of the 18 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to St. Bernadette. The bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes has asked his confreres to send a delegation from each of their dioceses.

The “Way of the Jubilee”, marked in the streets of Lourdes by a white line and the Jubilee logo is made up of four stations: the baptism fonts in the parish church, the “cachot” -- a former jail, where Bernadette lived with her family -, the grotto, and the chapel of the hospice where she received her first communion. “It is not virtual, it is practical, physical, accessible to all: it is all but an intellectual approach of the Jubilee. It also avoids  focus, as it were, on the grotto thus placing apparitions in the ordinary Christian life,” Bishop Perrier commented. “We are expecting 8 million people for this jubilee year, while the usual annual figure is around 6 million.

We recall here the decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary: on the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes (…)

Each and every member of the Christian faithful who, truly repentant, is purified through sacramental confession, restored through the Most Holy Eucharist and offers prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, will be able to gain a Plenary Indulgence daily, which may also be applied, by way of suffrage, to the souls of the faithful in Purgatory:

A) If, during the year running from 8 December 2007 until the end of 8 December 2008, they devoutly visit the following places, preferably in this order - 1) the parish baptismal font used for the Baptism of Bernadette; 2) the house of the Soubirous family called the "cachot"; 3) the Grotto of Massabielle; 4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette made her First Communion - and pause to reflect for an appropriate length of time at each of these Jubilee sites, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, some legitimate form of the Profession of Faith, and the Jubilee prayer or some other Marian invocation.

B) If, from the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord on 2 February 2008 until the end of the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes on 11 February 2008, which is also the 150th Anniversary of the Apparition, they devoutly visit a blessed image of the Holy Virgin Mary of Lourdes in any church, chapel, grotto or other suitable place in which it is solemnly displayed, and in the presence of that image perform some pious act of Marian devotion, or at least pause to reflect for an appropriate length of time, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, some legitimate form of the Profession of Faith, and the Jubilee prayer or some other Marian invocation.

C) The elderly, sick, and all those unable to leave home for a just cause, if they consciously reject all sin and have the intention to fulfil the above-mentioned conditions as soon as possible, are likewise able to obtain - at home or wherever they may be - a Plenary Indulgence, if, between the days of 2 and 11 February 2008, they complete a "spiritual visit" (to the aforementioned places) in the desire of their heart, recite the prayers indicated above, and trustingly offer the pains and discomforts of their own lives to God through Mary.

In order that the Christian faithful may partake more readily of these heavenly gifts, priests who have received approval to hear confessions by the competent ecclesiastical authorities should welcome them with a willing and generous spirit and solemnly lead the recitation of public prayers to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God.