Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


The streets of Lourdes flooded with the Order of Malta’s pilgrims’ uniforms

The streets of Lourdes flooded with the Order of Malta’s pilgrims’ uniforms

The 66th international pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes has come to an end. Like every year in early May, the streets of the French town were flooded with the Order of Malta’s pilgrims’ uniforms.

This year, some 7,000 Order of Malta members and volunteers took part in this traditional event to accompany Our Lords the Sick to the Grotto of Massabielle. They came from 46 different countries, from the Far East- in particular Hong Kong, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia- to South America, from Iraq to Africa, like Kenya, as well as Ukraine, from all European countries, including the Baltic and Scandinavian countries. The largest groups were from France (1,300), Italy (1,300) and the USA (1,100). Of the almost 7,000 participants, 1,200 were malades, of whom 750 were young people between the ages of 8 and 35; 230 priests, 12 deacons, 881 pilgrims, 231 doctors, 152 nurses.

On Saturday, whilst meeting with the members and volunteers during the traditional participation medal award ceremony, the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, recalled how the pilgrimage to Lourdes is “the heart of the Order of Malta”. “It brings together the Order’s international family to pray and care for our guests, our beloved malades, with love and dedication. It is in this place, in the eyes of those we serve, where we recognise the acute humanity of Jesus – his vulnerability, his ordinary frailty’. Click here for the entire speech.

After dedicating his thoughts and prayers to the many innocent victims of the conflicts taking place in the different corners of the planet, the Grand Master looked with hope towards the 2025 Jubilee and made an appeal: “We will need many committed volunteers and members of the Order, who I am sure will step forward when the time comes. Please consider volunteering for this monumental task”.

Sunday’s Pontifical Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, Cardinal Patronus of the Order of Malta. Also present was Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, former Pontifical Delegate. The Marian pilgrimage was attended by the Grand Master and also by the members of the Sovereign Council, Monsignor Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos, new Prelate of the Order of Malta, and 23 bishops.

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