Spirit of Lourdes Hits Streets of Rome

Cardinal Bertone Closes Jubilee Marking Apparition Anniversary

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ROME, DEC. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Mary is the mother who takes care of her sick children in any circumstance, says Benedict XVI's secretary of state, encouraging the faithful to always turn their gaze toward her.



Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this of Our Lady on Monday when he celebrated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major a Mass marking the end of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Mary's apparitions in Lourdes.

"Let us look at her always, in every circumstance," he said, "in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death."

A pilgrim image of Our Lady of Lourdes had arrived at the basilica the Saturday before, after journeying through various Italian cities and the streets of Rome. Thousands of pilgrims, many ill or disabled, came to visit her.

Several volunteers from an Italian group that transports the ill to Lourdes and other international shrines were on hand to welcome the pilgrims.

"The atmosphere in Lourdes is always exceptional," Andreina Ferrouchi, one of the volunteers, told ZENIT. "And to live it again in Rome is even more exceptional. That's why it's an honor to have her in our home."

During the anniversary year, some 9 million pilgrims visited the shrine at Lourdes.