The Institute of Christ the King held its most recent pilgrimage to Lourdes at the beginning of this month, joined (again) by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.
This writer was pleased to attend all of the liturgies and events led by the Institute, including a Solemn High Mass offered by Monsignor Gilles Wach, founder and prior of the Institute, with Cardinal Burke assisting; a conference by the cardinal, entitled "The Crisis Of Christian Culture And Our Mission To Restore It"; second vespers for the feast of Saint Joseph the Workman, with Cardinal Burke; a Solemn High Pontifical Mass offered by Cardinal Burke; a conference by Monsignor Wach; and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament led by Cardinal Burke followed by the singing of the Te Deum.
The liturgies were offered in the upper church of the Basilique de Notre Dame de l'Immaculée Conception de Lourdes, and in the parish church of the Sacred Heart in Lourdes. Each were standing room only.
As with all Institute liturgies, great care was given to every moment of worship. Gregorian chant was sung by a superb schola of eight members of the Institute, and an outstanding organist played pieces ranging from Bach's "Fantasia in G Minor" to softer offertories and interludes. Several sets of beautiful vestments were brought to the churches for the cardinal and clergy. Dozens of canons and seminarians assisted in choir, joined by other clergy such as the rector of the parish church. And the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus were in their distinctive blue habits, in the first pew. Possibly unbeknownst to the sisters, they served as the congregation's guide for when to sit, stand and kneel -- as the customs in France are significantly different from those of, for instance, the U.S.
When vernacular was used for sermons or conferences, French -- the Institute's common language -- was spoken, including by Cardinal Burke, with pre-printed translations available for pilgrims.
Monsignor Wach's sermon was on the rosary, concluding with: "Every Ave Maria is like the always more vibrant keynote in the concert of prayers which rises from pious souls to the throne of the Queen of Heaven, to there obtain the supreme grace of one day sharing in her inexpressible happiness, in the midst of eternal joys."
Cardinal Burke's sermon on Our Lady offered hope to pilgrims at Lourdes: "By the healing water which she provides for us here she signifies our sacramental burial with Christ in Baptism, in order that we may rise with Him to eternal life. Suffering is, in no way, ordinary and meaningless for us. Rather, it is for us an invitation to be ever more perfectly united to Christ, to be purified of whatever keeps us from loving God and one another, and to be ever more generous in that love."
The French website of the Institute has posted some of the photos taken during the liturgies and conferences. With permission from the Institute, we share them with our readers here.
And, in the category of you-never-know-who-you-will-see-in-Lourdes, here is our pilgrimage chaplain, Canon Jean-Marie Moreau, with Gianna Emanuela Molla, daughter of Saint Gianna Molla: