Archbishop Broglio to Lead U.S. Delegation on International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Invites delegates to pray for those who died in defense of liberties, justice and peace

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop of the Military Services, will lead a delegation of senior United States military representatives on the 54th annual International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes this weekend.

Among those accompanying Archbishop Broglio on the May 11-13 pilgrimage will be Maj. Gen. David J. Scott, Director of Operations and Nuclear Integration for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and Lt. Col. Michael C. Richardson, Commander of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe of the European Regional Medical Command.

The Shrine at Lourdes marks the location where, beginning in 1858, Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, popularly known as Bernadette, experienced 18 visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception. The Shrine has long since become a place of prayer, healing, and reconciliation.

At the end of World War II, members of the former warring European countries gathered at Lourdes in joint prayer for reconciliation. During the centennial year of 1958, foundations were laid for the first International Military Pilgrimage. Over the past 53 years the event has grown to include delegations from all over the world. Last year more than 12,000 people from 33 countries gathered to pray for a mutual understanding and the ability to work together towards a lasting peace.

In a February 10, 2012 letter of invitation to prospective U.S. pilgrims, Archbishop Broglio wrote:

“It is indeed an honor to invite you to join me in Lourdes as together we pray for peace and reconciliation in our world as well as for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in order to defend our liberties and the inalienable rights of all to freedom, justice, and peace.”

On Friday, Archbishop Broglio will celebrate an opening Mass for the U.S. contingent at the Chapelle Notre Dame. The Mass will be followed by an active three-day schedule of events including private prayer, blessing of the sick, Adoration of the Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, a Penance service, recitations of the Rosary, a festival of military bands, processions and ceremonies.

The pilgrimage will be presided over by the Most Reverend Luc Ravel, military bishop of France and president of the International Military Pilgrimage, along with the military bishops and head chaplains of the various delegations, including Archbishop Broglio. The theme of the 54th International Military Pilgrimage is “Ave Maria, Queen of Peace.