On Sunday 2 May, a mass was celebrated in the Vatican Gardens for the intentions of Our Lords the Sick, members and volunteers of the Order of Malta from all over the world in spiritual union with Our Lady of Lourdes.
Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Pope’s Special Delegate to the Order of Malta, presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in the Lourdes Grotto (reproduction of Massabielle Grotto), in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master Fra’ Marco Luzzago, the Sovereign Council and some hundred pilgrims including members, volunteers and Our Lords the Sick.
For the second year running, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the Lourdes Sanctuary has been unable to host the Order of Malta’s international pilgrimage. By tradition, on the first weekend of May, there has been the peaceful invasion of thousands of the Order’s members in the Marian sanctuary at the foot of Pyrenees for the most significant of all the pilgrimages organized during the year. In 2019 there were over 7,400 participants – including some 1,300 assisted people – coming from 45 countries on the five continents.
In his homily, Cardinal Tomasi said how important it is to live and love by bearing witness with facts and not with words “Let us follow the good tradition of the Order of Malta which focuses its attention, and above all its service, on the sick and the needy. It is because of this tradition that we are here before Our Lady of Lourdes on this rather special pilgrimage. Our fidelity to Christ is witnessed not by words but by the actions we perform. To bear fruit means to love with facts and here the Order of Malta’s charisma and its very nature come into play. The service of charity to people in need is the sign that we are truly branches that live on the lifeblood that Christ communicates. We do not lose ourselves in careless words and worries but we live the reality of service as witness to our fidelity to our commitments and above all to our friendship with Christ.”
The Order of Malta’s Grand Priories and National Associations organized numerous initiatives to compensate for not being able to be physically present at Lourdes, including virtual pilgrimages, prayer meetings and pilgrimages to local sanctuaries in full respect of Covid restrictions.
Everyone expressed the hope they would be able to return to Lourdes next year.