Dear Sacred Heart Family and Friends,

On Feb. 11, we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. Most of us are familiar with Lourdes, the Catholic shrine in southern France built at the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a saintly young woman named Bernadette 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858. In November 2019, some of us went on a parish pilgrimage to Lourdes. It was a powerful, life changing experience for many of us. Pilgrims today continue to throng to the shrine, hoping to be cured of their ailments. Over the decades, thousands have left behind their crutches and braces as silent witnesses to the Lord’s power to make them well. This sort of thing is, of course, nothing new. Sites of holy apparitions and miraculous healings ranging from Lourdes (France), Fatima (Portugal), Guadalupe (Mexico) and Medjugorje, to the holy sites in our own land, have drawn pilgrims from all countries throughout the ages. Some dismiss such journeys of Faith as childish piety, inappropriate in an age of therapeutic advances such as our own. But healing is an essential element of the Gospel message.

Bringing healing and wholeness is Jesus’ ministry even today. He continues it through the Church and through Christians. In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Church prays for spiritual and physical healing, forgiveness of sins, and comfort for those who are suffering from illness. Our own healing process is completed only when we are ready to help others in their needs and to focus on things outside ourselves. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes 7:39 instructs us: “Be not slow to visit the sick, because by these things you shall be confirmed in love.” Let us also be instruments for the exercise of Jesus’ healing power by visiting the sick and praying for their healing.

In Christ and Mary Immaculate,

Fr. James CMI

Sacred Heart Church Bulletin

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