The vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Archbishop Octavio Ruiz Arenas commented this week on Pope Benedict’s trip to France, saying that it is “truly a Marian pilgrimage” and that “he [the Pope] wants to place great emphasis on the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Lourdes.”
Archbishop Ruiz made his statements on Vatican Radio, adding that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception reminds “the entire Church that Mary was born without original sin and was full of grace from the very moment of her conception in preparation for that magnificent event of the Incarnation of the Son of God. Therefore the visit of the Holy Father to Lourdes constitutes first of all recognition by the Church of that dogma that has touched the deepest part of the hearts of all Catholics.”
“And secondly it is to accompany all those persons who with faith and devotion take refuge in the protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary and pray to her not only for the health of their bodies but also for the grace of their conversion,” he continued.
“Therefore let us join the Holy Father on his pilgrimage and pray that through him we can hear those words that fill all Catholics with joy recalling the glories of the Most Holy Virgin Mary.”