French Bishops Invite John Paul II to Lourdes

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 22, 2004 ( The French bishops' conference has invited John Paul II to visit Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the episcopal conference, and Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes invited the Pope to visit the shrine around Aug. 15, the episcopate announced today.

"A delegation of the Holy See has come to France to study the basic conditions so that this pilgrimage can take place," a statement from the episcopate stated.

Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, 1854.