.- Before reciting the Angelus today, Pope Benedict XVI spoke with the faithful about the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is tomorrow.
âThis year the beginning of Lent coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparition of Lourdes. Four years after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pius IX, Mary appeared for the first time on February 11, 1858 to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the grotto at Massabielle. After successive apparitions accompanied by extraordinary events, the Holy Virgin revealed to the young visionary in the local language, âI am the Immaculate Conception,ââ the Pope recalled.
He added that, âThe message of the Madonna, which continued to spread from Lourdes, recalled the words of Jesus which he announced at the beginning of his public ministry: convert and believe in the Gospel, pray and do penance.â
Pope Benedict also reminded all present that the annual World Day of the Sick, celebrated each year on February 11, is directly linked to the Blessed Virginâs promise to care for the many sick that come to Lourdes.