Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, February 6, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Novena of Grace 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
U.S. pilgrims react to news of flooding, damage to Lourdes shrine
Catholic News Service photo
French President Francois Hollande is assisted as he walks in a damaged street of Saint-Beat in southwestern France June 20, two days after the village was submerged by flash floods. Heavy flooding in southwestern France killed three people and forced th e closure of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes for the second time in eight months.
Catholic News Service photo
French President Francois Hollande is assisted as he walks in a damaged street of Saint-Beat in southwestern France June 20, two days after the village was submerged by flash floods. Heavy flooding in southwestern France killed three people and forced th e closure of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes for the second time in eight months.

Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON — The damage to the town and the sanctuaries at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes did not dampen the healing message of Lourdes for Americans who recently made a pilgrimage to the shrine in southern France.

"We did all of the things that we would've done, just in a different way," said Marlene Watkins, who works with a North American organization of Lourdes volunteers. She was in Lourdes as recently as June 21 with 102 pilgrims. She spoke to Catholic News Service in a telephone interview June 24 after her return.

Many of the normal pilgrim activities were closed in the aftermath of the flooding, she said. "The baths are closed, the underground basilica is still is closed and they're still pumping water out of it, the St. Joseph chapel is still closed, the cafeteria for the volunteers was closed and it is questionable if it will even open this season," she said June 24.

Bridges were washed out, several roads were destroyed and buildings remained under water. Much of the shrine complex was under water for two days as floods swamped much of southwestern France. Work crews rushed to clear mud and remove debris June 21, so tourists could return to the popular pilgrimage site.

According to Watkins, the American volunteers spent a lot of time during their pilgrimage simply shoveling up the dense, oily mud that coated the area where normally the eucharistic and rosary processions take place nightly.

The group of Americans and some Irish pilgrims were the only ones to remain; other pilgrims and some residents were evacuated from the town during the worst of the flooding. The water taps that supply the Lourdes water have begun flowing again and the spring was not contaminated.

Since the beginning of Lourdes, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 in the grotto, the spring water has been associated with healing; the shrine works first and foremost to accommodate ill and disabled pilgrims. Nearly 6 million pilgrims visit the grotto annually.

Msgr. Frank Pugliese, vicar general of the U.S. Archdiocese of the Military Services in Washington, went on pilgrimage there in late May with more than 500 pilgrims who had a connection to the U.S. military; of the six days he was there, "it rained every day except Sunday."

"The river was getting higher and the rain was coming down," he told CNS June 21, but he said the trip was still manageable for him and his fellow pilgrims. The focus of the pilgrimage was the wounded warriors who came along.

"One of the things that really comes out of Lourdes," said Msgr. Pugliese, is that "the sick, the handicapped -- the people that are normally put off to the side -- take the front seat. They get the special treatment and we that are healthy look on in admiration."

He even remarked that they made sure the injured or sick pilgrims were protected from the rain, while the rest of the pilgrims were not as lucky.

Watkins is with Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality-North American Volunteers, a group based out of Syracuse, N.Y., that coordinates real and virtual pilgrimages to Lourdes. She and the others in her pilgrimage group arrived "as the waters began to rise."

They were able to stay in the hospital that is usually reserved for the pilgrims with special needs. Though the group felt very safe during their stay, they did have to endure a planned power outage.

Watkins said they weren't worried: "When Our Lady and Bernadette met 18 times there was no electricity; we felt confident in Our Lady." Besides that, the personnel at Lourdes "had phenomenal reactionary response, their immediate response to this emergency was really impressive," she added.

Lourdes experienced less severe flooding in October; before that the last time Lourdes was hit by flooding was in 1937. Watkins said it is believed that heavy snow in the mountains and unseasonable warmness lead to high rates of run off from melting snow. In addition the area experienced excessive rains in April, with rain falling 27 days out of a 30-day period.

One terminally ill 24-year-old on the trip had a dream-- to kiss the grotto where Mary appeared to Bernadette. And so safety officers made the decision to let her and two other pilgrims venture out with them to venerate the site.

"It really was a holy pilgrimage," said Watkins.





Advanced Search











Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved