By Christina Hermoso
High masses will be celebrated tomorrow at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on Kanlaon Street in Quezon City, in solemn commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, marking the 161st anniversary of the series of apparitions of the Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 at the Cave of Massabielle in Lourdes, France.
Rev. Fr. Gerry Orbos will preside over the noon high mass while Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco will lead the high mass at 4 p.m. Masses will also be held by the hour from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m.
The grand procession follows the 4 p.m. high mass. The annual blessing of the sick was held last Feb. 9 during the 8th novena mass at 6 p.m.
Today’s Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes coincides with the observance of the 27th World Day of the Sick.
In Lourdes, France, hundreds of devotees, pilgrims, and tourists traditionally gather at the basilica that was constructed at the site of the apparitions, as well as at the miraculous well, where healing of both the body and the spirit have been reported. The Roman Catholic Church had recognized more than 60 miraculous cures at Lourdes, a popular destination for pilgrimages, healings, and spiritual renewal.
According to stories, the Holy Mother, wearing a white dress with a blue belt, a rosary in her hands, and two golden roses at her feet, appeared to a poor and sickly girl, St. Bernadette, at least 16 times starting on Feb. 11, 1858 at the Cave of Massabielle in Lourdes. She asked her to pray the Holy Rosary for the conversion of sinners, to build a chapel on the site of the apparitions, and to drink from a spring of miraculous water nearby. The Blessed Mother introduced herself as the “Immaculate Conception.”
The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes has been celebrated worldwide since 1907, making it one of the oldest feasts in the Church calendar.