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In Lourdes, thousands of pilgrims of all ages celebrate the Assumption

2022-08-15T09:40:19.942Z

IN PICTURES – The sanctuary, one of the first places of Catholic pilgrimage in the world, expects 1.6 million visitors this year, almost three times less than before the pandemic.



Some 15,000 pilgrims gathered at the Catholic shrine in Lourdes on Sunday evening for the feast of the Assumption.

Of all ages and origins, they marched in a torchlight procession to the glory of the Virgin Mary, singing and reciting “

Hail Marys

” many times.

The crowd was preceded by hundreds of sick people in wheelchairs.

The Assumption celebrates the ascent into heaven of Mary, the mother of Christ.

VALENTINE CHAPUIS / AFP

Among those present on Sunday were some 4,000 participants in the national pilgrimage, the most important for French Catholics.

VALENTINE CHAPUIS / AFP

In the Marian sanctuary, one of the first places of Catholic pilgrimage in the world, 1.6 million faithful are expected this year.

Coming from Portugal, Edite Antunes, 67, and Maria Silva, 58, said their "

emotion

" to be there for the first time, especially since they could not go to the Portuguese sanctuary of Fatima since the start of the health restrictions due to Covid.

These health restrictions have greatly reduced the number of pilgrims coming to Lourdes since 2020.

After dropping from some 3.5 million pilgrims per year before the pandemic, that figure fell to 800,000 in 2020, then to 1.6 million in 2021. They are still expected to be around the same this year, the official said. AFP the director of communications of the sanctuary, David Torchala.

“Convalescent” sanctuary

The sanctuary, whose budget of some 30 million euros per year is financed only by donations from the faithful, must still put up to three quarters of its 320 employees on partial unemployment between September and June.

The sanctuary is still “

convalescent

” according to David Torchala.

Among those present on Sunday were some 4,000 participants in the national pilgrimage, the largest for French Catholics, held around August 15 each year.

Since its creation in 1873, the national pilgrimage has celebrated the ascent into heaven of Mary, the mother of Christ, a belief that had already existed for centuries when Pope Pius XII established the Assumption as a dogma in 1950.

1.6 million pilgrims are expected this year at the Marian shrine.

VALENTINE CHAPUIS / AFP

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-08-15

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