Lourdes Day Mass St Mary's Cathedral Tomorrow

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 Dec 2015

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP greets Order of Malta volunteers at last year's Lourdes Day Mass

Bishop Terry Brady will celebrate the Annual Lourdes Day Mass at St Mary's Cathedral this Saturday, 5 December at 10am.  About 500 people are expected at the Mass, including at least 100 who are sick or frail.

They will be assisted by a large number of volunteers, as well as 40 Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta.

Now in its fifth year, the Mass is being hosted by the NSW Branch of the Order of Malta and is especially targeted to all who desire healing of mind, body or soul.

Those attending the Mass will receive a blessing with Holy Water brought to Sydney from the spring of Lourdes.  They will also receive a bottle of blessed water from Lourdes to take home with them.

Lourdes is a town in the south western part of France's Hautes-Pyrenees, where Our Lady appeared to 14-year-old French girl, Bernadette Soubirous in the middle of the 19th century.  The lady Bernadette saw in the vision asked her to return each day for two weeks, and told her "to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there" as an act of penance. At the time, there was no clean water, only mud.  But the muddy water suddenly ran clear as a fresh spring.

A team of volunteers will assist at this year's Mass

Every year, more than six million people make the pilgrimage to Lourdes to drink and bathe in the water, and pray for healing and forgiveness.  69 healing miracles have officially been attributed to the spring at Lourdes, with countless others reported.

Given the close link between the waters of Lourdes and healing, each year the Order of Malta accompanies 7000 people to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, including 1300 sick people.  The Order of Malta (known more formally as the Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and of Malta) has its beginnings in a humble Benedictine monk, Blessed Fra Gerard providing a hospice for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem. 

Since then, the Order has been committed to the mission of nurturing, witnessing to and protecting the Catholic faith, and serving the Lord's poor and sick.  The Lourdes Day Mass is another manifestation of this commitment, and one which Sydney's Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP says is critical for our time.

In his homily for last year's Lourdes Day Mass, Archbishop Fisher said that at a juncture in history where reverence for the sick, dying and marginalised is being so sorely tested, Christian hospitaller knights are more necessary than ever, with weapons of prayer and charity being the appropriate weapons to take into this battle.

Volunteers distributing bottles of Holy Water from Lourdes to attendees

President of the Young Order of Malta, Jordan Grantham, says that while not everyone will have the opportunity to get to the Shrine in Lourdes, France, everyone can come to the Lourdes Day Mass at the Cathedral.

He says: "The sick are our partners in our earthly pilgrimage to Heaven. The Knights of old would ask the sick in their care to offer their sufferings to God for the souls of the Knights. The patience, kindness and devotion of the sick is something we can all learn from."

The Mass commences at 10am on Saturday, 5 December.  Wheelchair access is by the side pedestrian gate in St Mary's Road (near College St corner.)