Special prayers to be offered for the sick
St. Xavier's Cathedral at Palayamkottai has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes Feast on the church premises on Friday (February 11) in a big way.
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition that appeared before various individuals in separate occasions around Lourdes, France. The apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes began on 11 February 1858, when St. Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes admitted, when questioned by her mother, that she had seen a ‘lady' in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town, while she was gathering firewood with her sisters Toinette and Jeanne Abadie.
When St. Bernadette took off her shoes and stockings to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she heard the sound of two gusts of wind but the trees and bushes nearby did not move. She saw a light in the grotto and a lady, dressed all in white, apart from the blue belt fastened around her waist and the golden yellow roses, one on each foot, the colour of her rosary.
Similar appearances of the ‘lady' took place on seventeen further occasions that year. Bernadette Soubirous was canonised as a saint, and many Christians believe her apparitions to have been of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
While Pope Pius IX authorised the local bishop to permit the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes in 1862, Pope Pius X, in 1907, introduced the feast of the apparition of the Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes.
To commemorate these happenings, a Holy Mass will be celebrated in front of St. Lourdes Grotto on the church premises at 6 p.m. on Friday in which special prayers will be offered for the sick, the students appearing for the public examination and to dedicate the families to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Following the Holy Mass, the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes will be taken in procession along with rosary, which will be followed by litany and benediction, all in front of the grotto, said Rev. Fr. Antony A. Cruz, parish priest of the Cathedral.