Celebration of the 160th Anniversary of the Apparitions in Lourdes this Month
From February 9 to 12, 2018, the sanctuary of Lourdes is celebrating the 160th anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858, announced a statement from the Sanctuary.
20,000 pilgrims and about 500 priests are expected during these four days of celebration. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Bishops’ Synod, will participate.
On Sunday, February 11, an international Mass will be celebrated at the St. Pius X basilica. In the afternoon, Bishop Nicola Brouwet, bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, will preside at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In the evening, the Fideles et Amati choir from Rome will present an oratorio entitled “Aquero,” based on the spiritual journey of St. Bernadette.
The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to Bernadette Soubirous took place from February 11 to July 16, 1858 (feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), at the grotto of Massabielle. There were 18 apparitions, and the one on March 25, 1858, revealed that the name of the beautiful Lady visiting St. Bernadette was the Immaculate Conception. The Church celebrates the Immaculate Virgin on December 8.
St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe: On the Apparitions of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
Ever since Original Sin was committed, human intelligence has remained darkened so that it cannot rise to the knowledge of causes of everything. Our first parents in Eden understood everything very well; their intelligence was clear and lively; but after they sinned, all that was changed. For this reason, when God wishes to make himself known to men he gives them signs and works miracles. We find many miracles in the Old Testament, and even more in the New. When Jesus was in the world he said: “Even if you do not believe in me, believe in my works.” (Jn. 10, 38)
The miracle of the Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. The disciples of Jesus were weak; even though they had seen many miracles, at the time of his arrest they all abandoned him. Only when Jesus had risen was their faith confirmed, and were they given the courage to endure suffering and persecution.
Since Christ’s resurrection, from time to time miracles happen, to reinforce our faith; such were the apparations at Lourdes… There the Immaculata chose a weak instrument to manifest her power. There were many objections; people said, “It isn’t true.” But all the while the miraculous fountain was flowing, and many miracles and conversion took place. What did the the Most Blessed Virgin then do, after establishing her credibility by the miracles? In public before the whole crowd of people she said who she was, confirming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which had been defined in 1854. She said of herself, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” If she is indeed the Immaculate Conception, then everything which serves as a foundation for this truth is also true. Hence the apparitions at Lourdes are a confirmation of the entire Catholic faith. This is why these apparitions of the Most Blessed Virgin at Lourdes are so important.”
St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Feb. 11, 1938 (Conference)