Healing has been at the centre of the fourth day of our Lourdes pilgrimage, with our pilgrims receiving the Sacrament of the Sick in the morning, while this evening we will have the opportunity for the forgiveness of sins at the Penitential Service.
The pilgrimage has now reached the halfway period, and there is a tangible sense of peace that the Holy Spirit is granting our pilgrims. While the first days were spent acquainting (or re-acquainting) ourselves with the town and holy places, now there has been a movement towards the call to deepen our love of Christ, especially in service to those around us.
In this way, the Father provides opportunities for his children to find healing in the places they need most. At Mass this morning, Bishop John pointed to the relationship of the two sacraments of healing in his homily: 'Today we encounter in the sacrament of the sick, the healing and forgiving presence of Jesus who welcomes the sick and the sinners. The Lord will save you and raise you up. This work of God will continue this evening as we celebrate God’s mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation.
'The journey of life is a mystery, many hills and valleys, joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, but the promise of Jesus is clear: at the end of the journey, if we are faithful, "we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is."'
The rain continues to come and go, and the sun has been hidden away for a couple of days; however, our pilgrims continue to be seen wandering up and down to the sanctuary and through the streets of this historic and holy place.
Tomorrow will be another powerful day as we will have our diocesan Mass at the Grotto, and in the afternoon we will lead the Blessed Sacrament Procession.