The town of Lourdes is getting ready
Just a few weeks from the opening of the celebrations which will mark the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions, the Lourdes family, gathered around Bernadette Soubirous, is getting into action in order to prepare for this occasion. Together with Monsignor Jacques Perrier, the town of Lourdes wishes to reutilize the routes taken by Bernadette at the time of the Apparitions. Thus pilgrims and visitors will be able to walk along the Way of the Jubilee, following in the footsteps of the young Lourdes girl.
Improvements to the town
Plans are in hand in order to facilitate accommodation, circulation and parking for visitors to the town. This work is being carried out with particular attention being paid to sick and disabled pilgrims and visitors. Special measures are being taken to help people with reduced mobility or poor eyesight.
At certain times, pedestrian zones will be established. Buildings will be illuminated, and public lighting will be used along the Way of the Jubilee and along all the highways which are part of the improvement scheme.
The Jubilee program will be animated by events taking place in some of the key locations.
Performances and events will take place at the most noteworthy sites: the castle, the Presbytery, and the gaol together with the Place Peyramale.
These elements are just a few of the pathways which will give rise to projects from other local organizations wishing to celebrate in a fitting way this major event in the life of the Marian City.
The preparation of human resources
In order to welcome the crowds expected in 2008, the authorities of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes are planning to reinforce the existing teams in the following ways:
Lourdes would be nothing without the volunteer workers. Every year about 100,000 of them come to Lourdes. In the plans for 2008 willing helpers will be indispensable.
In summer, 2007, appeals were made for two categories of volunteer: priests, and medical personnel. Priests, in order to administer the sacrament of Reconciliation. Medical personnel, in order to ensure that the sick people coming to Lourdes are received in the best possible conditions.
The numbers of those working as Lourdes guides will increase. This service was created in 2006, and is made up of volunteers who provide on-the-spot information and directions for pilgrims and visitors.
As to the visit of the Holy Father, it is still too early to determine the demands on human resources, but there will certainly be some. The experience of Pope John-Paul II’s visit in 2004 will be invaluable.
To reach the Grotto, at the heart of the Domain, the route will take you through St. Michael’s gate and through the arches. St. Michael’s gate will be decorated with the Jubilee colors.
Seven large visual displays and seven icons will decorate the arches.
The visual displays, the work of Father Ivan Rupnik, will show: The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Wise Men, the Presentation of Jesus in the temple, the Cross, the Virgin Mary in glory.
Original article can be found at: www.lourdes2008.com