Next papal journeys: Bern and Lourdes

Source: FSSPX News


There are currently more than 5,000 inscribed for this large gathering, with the theme “Arise”, not counting several hundred young people involved in the choir, the stage management and the choreography.

The participants will be welcomed on Saturday June 5, by the Swiss German group “Starch*addition” (P-funk, Hip Hop, Rap and Latino music). At 5.00pm, the opening show, which will include a meeting between the young people and the Sovereign Pontiff, will present miscellaneous choreographies, video clips and songs. Then, 120 boys and girls from the cantons of Zurich, Bern, Saint Gall, Thurgau and Glaris will present a dance, on the theme of “Arise”. After the Holy Father’s address, there will be messages from three young people, followed by a dance performed by a group of seven young girls, on the theme of emigrants. At 7.30pm, the Youth festival will begin, with supper until 10pm, along with media workshops, prayer groups, bishops’ bistro (sic), popular dances…

On the Sunday, Mass will be celebrated at 10am, with the participation of adults and children. A protestant pastor – a man or a woman, the organizers have not yet specified – will deliver a reading during this Mass, presided over by the pope. The non-Catholics will not be invited to receive Communion, but as Marc Aellen, assistant secretary general and press attaché of the Swiss Bishops Conference, remarked, it will obviously be impossible to ask the identity of those who come to Communion. Verifying that everyone is Catholic, at the moment of receiving the Eucharist? - “this is not our mission, at that moment,” commented Mgr. Denis Theurillat, the bishop delegated to young people.

Moreover, the head of the pastoral Committee for the meeting, Fr. Pierre-Yves Maillard, makes clear that the organizers have taken into account that one third of Switzerland’s young Catholics are of foreign origin. “We have taken care to promote a broad spectrum, at one and the same time, religious and ecumenical, but also crosscultural… The prayer intentions of the Eucharist will be written in the languages which are spoken most in Switzerland, thus they will also include Albanian and Croatian”. According to this priest, the Muslims and members of other religions will also be welcome at this meeting.

In France, the president of the Bishops Conference, Mgr. Jean-Pierre Ricard, as well as the bishop of Lourdes, Mgr. Jacques Perrier, have invited John Paul II “to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, around August 15, 2004, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception”.

In a communiqué issued by the Bishops Conference published on April 24, it was specified that “a delegation from the Holy See, had come to France in order to study the conditions in which this pilgrimage could be realized”. At the Vatican, it was affirmed that this invitation was being taken “very seriously” but “with the customary prudence” regarding the health of John Paul II”. It was added that a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Lourdes, is consistent with a fervent wish of John Paul II. According to French episcopal sources, the final decision will be taken approximately six weeks before the date fixed, that is at the end of June 2004.