WASHINGTON, DC – This week, more than 200 active-duty and retired U.S. Military personnel will take part in the annual Warriors to Lourdes spiritual journey dedicated to individual healing and a more peaceful world. The May 14-21 journey is timed to coincide with the 61st annual “Pèlerinage Militaire International” (PMI), or International Military Pilgrimage.
The PMI will draw tens of thousands of troops, veterans, and others from around the world to the famous shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The theme for this year’s PMI is “Seek Peace and Pursue It.” The Warriors to Lourdes journey is organized by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) and supported by the Knights of Columbus (K of C).
The PMI will include an international opening ceremony and events with the color guards of many countries in attendance. The pilgrims will also have daily Mass, times of reflection and reconciliation, and the opportunity to bathe in the waters of Lourdes from which many seek spiritual, physical, or emotional healing.
Since its founding by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882, the K of C has established a long tradition of support for military personnel and veterans. In World War I, for instance,
the Catholic fraternal service organization established a system of “Army Huts” in America and Europe that provided social, recreational, and spiritual resources for Allied servicemen, with the motto “Everybody Welcome. Everything Free.”
The PMI was inaugurated after World War II to foster “reconciliation, peace, and healing.” It has grown to become a prayerful and festive occasion. In addition to the military and religious pageantry at the famous site where Our Lady visited Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pilgrims also have the opportunity to meet fellow servicemen and women and veterans from around the world — many attired in colorful dress uniforms.
Additional information about the Warriors to Lourdes spiritual journey is available at www.warriorstolourdes.com. Daily video and photo recaps will be posted on www.kofc.orgas well as the AMS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/milarchusa/.