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CARDINAL GEORGE TO LEAD AUGUST PILGRIMAGE
OF ARCHDIOCESAN FAITHFUL TO LOURDES, FRANCE

Celebrating 150th Anniversary of Apparition of Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette

CHICAGO, IL (July 30, 2008) – Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will accompany 190 Catholic pilgrims from Cook and Lake counties next week to Lourdes, in the south of France , on the Archdiocese of Chicago Lourdes Pilgrimage 2008. Lourdes, which is the most visited Christian shrine in the world, attracts over six million pilgrims of all faiths each year.

“As the Church observes the 150th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Lourdes, I invite all in the Archdiocese of Chicago to consider how they might mark this occasion within their own family and community,” remarked Cardinal George, honorary chairman of The Friends of Lourdes USA. “I pray that the healing power of God’s grace comes down on all who seek it during this time.”

Before departing Chicago, the pilgrims will participate in a special Mass at 7:30 p.m., Friday, August 1, at Queen of All Saints Basilica, 6280 N. Sauganash Ave. in Chicago’s Forest Glen neighborhood. The Cardinal will be the principal celebrant at this Mass, and Most Rev. Thomas Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago for Vicariate IV will concelebrate. The group of pilgrims will receive a special blessing at the end of the Mass.

The Chicago pilgrims will be in Lourdes, France the first week of August. Activities include:

  • Cardinal George will preside at a welcoming Mass at 8 p.m. Monday, August 4, in the shrine’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
  • To officially launch the pilgrimage, Cardinal George will lead a 9 a.m. procession on Tuesday, August 5, from St. Michael’s Gate, the shrine’s main entrance, to the Grotto of Massabielle, the spot where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Immediately after the procession, the Cardinal will serve as main celebrant of the Grotto’s daily English-language shrine Liturgy.
  • At 9 p.m. Tuesday, August 5, Cardinal George and the Archdiocesan pilgrims will lead a torchlight rosary procession that will include thousands of pilgrims from around the world who traveled to Lourdes seeking healing and spiritual peace.
  • Cardinal George will serve as the main celebrant of an International Mass in the shrine’s Basilica of Pius X, at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 6. Immediately after, the Cardinal and the pilgrims will process to the Tent of Adoration to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
  • At 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 6, Cardinal George will join with the Archdiocesan pilgrims for a penance service in the shrine’s Chapel of St. Joseph.
  • At 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 6, 25 young adults and youth from Chicago will take part in a diocesan twinning ceremony along with young people from the local French diocese of Belley-Ars. Leading this ceremony at the site’s Prairie Marquee, will be Rev. Wayne Watts, Director of the Archdiocese of Chicago Lourdes Pilgrimage 2008 and pastor of Chicago’s St. John Berchmans Parish.
  • On Thursday, August 7, Cardinal George will preside at a 10:30 a.m. Mass at the town of Lourdes’ Sacred Heart Parish Church, which will include the Anointing of the Sick.
  • At 5 p.m. Thursday, August 7, Cardinal George will carry the Monstrance while leading the shrine’s daily Eucharistic procession along with the Chicago pilgrims. This procession, which will end at the Basilica of Pius X, often includes thousands of pilgrims from around the world. Many of Lourdes’ healing miracles are believed to occur during this procession.
  • On Friday, August 8, Cardinal George will preside at an 8:30 a.m. Mass for the Chicago pilgrims in the shrine’s Rosary Basilica.
  • At 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 8, the group will visit the Cachot, the room in the town of Lourdes where Bernadette lived with her family at the time of the apparitions in 1858.
  • At 2 p.m. Friday, August 8, Cardinal George will lead a Way of the Cross procession within the shrine for those with limited mobility. At 9 p.m., Fr. Watts will lead a torchlight Way of the Cross procession up a rocky hillside within the shrine for those pilgrims who are able to participate.

Many of these events can be viewed as they happen via webcam links on the Sanctuary of Lourdes’ website at lourdes-france.org. When doing so, please subtract seven hours from the times listed to correct for the time difference between Lourdes and Chicago.

Catholics throughout Cook and Lake counties unable to travel to Lourdes are encouraged to participate in the At Home Pilgrimage scheduled at sites throughout the Archdiocese between August 4 and August 8. The weeklong series of celebrations is designed to unite archdiocesan Catholics in prayer with the participants of the Archdiocese of Chicago Lourdes Pilgrimage 2008, and will include:

  • A special Mass for the opening of the At Home Pilgrimage will take place at 7:30 p.m., Monday, August 4, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 4640 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Bishop Paprocki will be the principal celebrant. All pilgrims will receive a special blessing at the conclusion of the Mass.
  • A torchlight rosary procession, led by Bishop Paprocki will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 5, on the grounds of the Mother of Good Counsel Convent, 3800 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago. The rosary will begin in the Felician Sisters’ convent chapel. Parishes are invited to bring and carry their parish banners in the procession.
  • An Archdiocesan Mass celebrated by Bishop Paprocki will take place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 6, at St. Mary of the Angels Parish, 1850 N. Hermitage Ave., in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Following Mass, Bishop Paprocki will lead a torchlight Eucharistic procession along Hermitage Ave., Bloomingdale Ave., Wood St. and Courtland St., the city block that the parish occupies.
  • A Mass with the Anointing of the Sick will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 7, at Our Lady of the Woods Parish, 10731 W. 131 st St. in southwest suburban Orland Park. The principal celebrant of this Mass will be Bishop Paprocki. Participants will be able to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church.
  • Most Rev. George Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago for Vicariate I, will join Bishop Paprocki in leading a torchlight Way of the Cross procession on the grounds of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, 1000 E. Maple Ave. in north suburban Mundelein at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 8. The Stations of the Cross will begin in the seminary’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, and parishes are invited to bring and carry their parish banners in the procession.

For the official prayer and details regarding the Archdiocese of Chicago Lourdes Pilgrimage 2008, please visit www.archchicago.org

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