Published on February 16, 2022

Dear brothers and sisters,

You have gathered to prepare and to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. You do so as if on a pilgrimage with the soul, and asking the Virgin for a tremendous grace: Mother, help us to be a community that goes out to meet everyone. Help us to be a community that goes out to meet everyone, that goes out to meet others, but also to go out to let ourselves be encountered, because the meeting is mutual, the meeting is not a handout, it is putting oneself into play in the same way, it is walking together, escaping from “solitude” and isolation to be together with others, with friends, with family, with the People of God, all together praying before Our Lady. That is why we ask Our Lady to help us to be a community, Mother, help us to be a community, so that we may go out and encounter as a community. Encountering always means opening ourselves to others, the opposite of encounter is to close our hearts. Mother, may our hearts not be closed, because selfishness is a moth that eats away at the heart. Dear brothers and sisters, I join with you in this celebration of the Shrine, I pray for you, and please, I ask you to do the same for me. And I send my blessing to you. May Jesus bless you abundantly, and may the Virgin take you by the hand. Have a happy feast day! Pope Francis the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes