EUROPE/FRANCE - Inauguration of the "Point Mission" in the heart of Lourdes

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 pontifical mission societies   missionary animation   evangelization   pilgrimages  

Lourdes (Agenzia Fides) - The "Point Mission" of the French Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), was inaugurated last week with the blessing of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to France. It is located on one of the busiest streets in Lourdes, near the Marian Sanctuary that attracts millions of pilgrims from all over the world every year.
Pilgrims will be welcomed by PMS volunteers and missionaries, priests, religious men and women, lay people on mission, of different nationalities, from March to October 2024. This initiative provides the opportunity for pilgrims and visitors to discover what mission means in current events and how each individual can be a missionary. Meetings will be held with missionary witnesses and the stories of those who dedicate their lives to the missionary work of the Church will be shared. "Lourdes and the mission have many points in common," explains Father Michel Daubanes, rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, present at the inauguration. "The message of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette - recalls Father Michel - is addressed to all pilgrims in the world, and having a 'point' where the mission is spoken to all those who make pilgrimages from near or even from afar is an important opportunity so that everyone feels involved and participates in the evangelizing mission of the Church. With this presence in such a busy and commercially active place (Boulevard de la Grotte, 65), the French PMS seek to raise awareness among pilgrims about the universal mission, to make the nature and initiatives of the Pontifical Mission Societies better known, and to invite everyone to support the needs of the mission with prayer and offerings.
"Installing this 'Point Mission' in a place where pilgrims, visitors and tourists pass through is a bold choice", explains Georges Delrieu, secretary general of the French PMS. "When approaching the sanctuary, we think that many will be struck by this singular presence among the shops of devotional objects. This way we can dialogue with them about the universal mission and remind them of the missionary vocation of every baptized person. Our dream is that this 'Point Mission' becomes a missionary place in the heart of Lourdes, to call everyone to the mission!".
Several bishops from the French Episcopal Conference were present at the inauguration, including Bishop Denis Jachiet, bishop of Belfort-Montbéliard, who recalled how the mission is everywhere today "both ad gentes and inter gentes, understood as an encounter of cultures that takes place here as everywhere and in which the announcement of Jesus Christ is made". For his part, Bishop Dominique Blanchet, bishop of Créteil, highlighted the relevance of the figure of Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, proclaimed blessed on May 22, 2022 (see Fides, 23/5/2022). (EG) (Agenzia Fides, 26/3/2024)