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Year Long Celebration to Honor 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions of the
Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette

Chicago, IL (September 12, 2007) – The Archdiocese of Chicago Lourdes Pilgrimage 2008: “Keep Us Free From Sin” will be led by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, during the first week of August 2008. Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Chicago will join Catholics from all over the world in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette.

As part of the ongoing “Year of Spirituality” in the Archdiocese of Chicago, about 200 pilgrims, representing a cross-section of Catholics in Cook and Lake counties, are expected to travel with Cardinal George to Lourdes, France from August 2 to August 10, 2008. “As an Archdiocese, we will seek freedom and healing from the sins of scandal, sexual abuse, racism, economic injustice and selfishness,” said Cardinal George. “We will pray in a particular way for the grace and courage to promote greater respect for all human life, to support vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and to defend and support Christian marriage and family life.”

The Cardinal has requested that pastors, parish pastoral councils, and parish minister nominate individuals, couples or families to go to Lourdes as representatives of their communities. Those who cannot afford to pay the entire cost of the trip will be assisted in meeting their travel expenses, to whatever extent is possible, by their local communities or by underwriting that is being secured by the Lourdes pilgrimage committee. Those interested in being considered as a pilgrim representative are being asked to speak directly with their pastors.

Cardinal George has also invited those who are in need of physical healing to make the pilgrimage. Those who are not well enough to make the trip can ask to be “carried in spirit” to the healing waters of the Grotto by the travelers. Additionally, everyone will be invited to participate in an “At-Home Pilgrimage,” which will include healing Masses, reconciliation services, rosaries, and Marian processions that will take place at parishes and shrines throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. The purpose of the “At-Home Pilgrimage” is to unite all the faithful in the Chicagoland area in prayer with those who travel to Lourdes.

At the end of the Lourdes Jubilee Year, on December 8, 2008, Cardinal George will rededicate the Archdiocese of Chicago to the patronage of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.

Anyone interested in inquiring about the Archdiocese of Chicago Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2008: “Keep Us Free From Sin” can call 312--2010 or visit

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