Organizers take care to recreate an in-person tour, personalized to each group that registers.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is now running virtual pilgrimages. The popular Catholic site is organizing virtual retreats for Catholic communities, free of charge. Attendees will be sent an ounce of Lourdes’ famed water and there’s even the opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence for the virtual experience.
It’s been a very difficult pandemic for the Sanctuary at Lourdes, which CNA reports was forced to cancel 95% of in-person events. Despite the closures, Bishop Antoine Hérouard, the papal delegate for the Lourdes sanctuary, told CNA that the site never stopped functioning. The religious of the Marian shrine continued to pray for the countless intentions sent their way. Now they’ve created ways to keep the faithful engaged from home.
They explain on their website that the “Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience” is a “holy encounter with God under the watchful care of Our Lady of Lourdes.” Organizers strive to perfectly recreate their in-person tours, guiding visitors through a prayerful grotto tour, a Rosary procession, and a Eucharistic blessing. Lourdes water, which many in-person pilgrims bring home with them from the Shrine, will be sent to participants in the virtual pilgrimage.
Groups of all sizes
The Lourdes Sanctuary encourages all sorts of Catholic groups to register for a virtual pilgrimage. They offer pilgrimages for grade school classes with tours geared towards individual grades, and they also welcome parishes, nursing homes, hospices, university clubs, and more. The interactive spiritual journey includes music similar to what pilgrims hear at Lourdes, and the history behind the apparitions and miraculous healings that took place there.
Organizers note that no two pilgrimages are ever the same. To diversify virtual events, they work with pilgrim groups to create a personalized experience that will cater to the needs of the attendees. They do mention, however, that due to this personalization it is best to schedule a virtual pilgrimage up to three months in advance.
Visit Lourdesvolunteers.org to learn more about the Virtual Pilgrimage Experience and schedule yours today.