Lourdes, France, Mar 17, 2020 / 04:30 am
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes has closed for the first time in over a century following new restrictions in France to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"For the first time in its history, the sanctuary will close its doors for a while. Pray with us the novena to the Immaculate," Mgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, rector of the Lourdes sanctuary announced March 17.
No public Masses will be offered in the sanctuary due to national measures announced by French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron on the evening of March 16.
France is the third European country to enact a mandatory national quarantine in response to the growing number of cases of COVID-19. Italy and Spain have both imposed nationwide lockdowns, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have also announced bans on all religious services in their countries.