.- Addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus on Sunday, Pope John Paul meditated upon the coming feast of our Lady of Lourdes (February 11) and the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
âThis Wednesday, February 11, liturgical memory of Our Lady of Lourdes, we will celebrate the World Day of the Sick,â said the Pope, who instituted this celebration, the first one of which took place in Lourdes on February 11, 1993.
He added that âthe principal events this year will take place in Lourdes where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous, calling herself âthe Immaculate Conceptionâ.â âThis year marks the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by my venerated predecessor, Blessed Pius IX,â he added,
âThe link between Our Lady of Lourdes and the world of suffering and illness,â the Pope continued, âis very well known. At the shrine which grew from the grotto of Massabielle, sick people are always the protagonists and Lourdes has become, over the years, an authentic city of life and hope.â
âHow could it be otherwise?,â he said. âThe Immaculate Conception of Mary is, in fact, the first fruit of the redemption fulfilled by Christ and the pledge of His victory over evil. That spring of water rising from the earth, from which the Virgin Mary asked Bernadette to drink, reminds us of the power of the Spirit of Christ Who completely heals man and gives him eternal life,â he concluded.