WASHINGTON, DC – More than 200 active 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 15-22 journey is timed to coincide with the 60th annual “Pèlerinage Militaire International” (PMI), or International Military Pilgrimage.
“The Marian Shrine at Lourdes is a place of hope where healings of many types take place, both physical and spiritual,” said Mr. Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (K of C). ”It is an opportunity for active-duty personnel, veterans and their caregivers to experience an abundance of peace and consolation while in this holy place.”
The visit to Lourdes is organized by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) and supported by the K of C. 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 “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth).
In a message to participants on behalf of the AMS, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, thanked Mr. Anderson and the Knights “who have so generously made possible the pilgrimage of many wounded warriors and infirm veterans who would not otherwise have been able to join in this important international prayer for peace.” Archbishop Broglio urged the pilgrims to pray “for progress in international dialogue, welcome for the immigrant, and a decrease in violence in our communities and the world.”
Both Archbishop Broglio and Mr. Anderson will travel to France as part of the Warriors to Lourdes entourage. 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.
Support for the pilgrimage by the Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., follows on a long history of the organization’s support for military troops and veterans. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. During that conflict, the K of C 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 following 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 of Lourdes, pilgrims also have the opportunity to meet 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/.