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SATURDAY 10th May 2008: Virgin Most Prudent, pray for us

under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes
following the example of Saint Bernadette

During the day Chapter leaders should present what we about the apparitions at Lourdes 150 years ago. The events should be placed in their historical context, France, the Church, the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the life of Bernadette before the apparition. Follow up by presenting the facts, Our Ladys messages, the reactions that followed, the numerous cures and finally recognition from the Church. Also to be included the suffering endured in joy by Saint Bernadette up until her death.

Pilgrimage Send Off from Notre Dame of Paris

Morality, the path to joy

Our Lady of Lourdes, heal us

We are all searching for joy and lasting happiness, this is part of our nature. Joy is our end and the means to attain it is by letting Morality be our guide on our earthly pilgrimage. Morality is not a shackle that prevents us from being free or happy. On the contrary true Morality guides us towards full and true joy. But our nature is afflicted by original sin, it is sick, incapable of attaining true joy, and contemporary society doesnt offer us much help. We are lukewarm, we need supernatural help, the help of Our Lady. Let us ask Our Lady of Lourdes to cure us of our deafness, of our blindness, to develop in us the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.

Once there is sufficient calm, before the first halt of the morning

Presentation of the Pilgrimage

Presentation of the Pilgrimage

This presentation made by the chapter leader is one of the most important moments in the pilgrimage. This is the moment that the chapter should be reminded of the aims of our pilgrimage, at the same time creating a climate of confidence among the pilgrims. This presentation should not limit itself to a long list of rules but in a convincing manner should give pilgrims the desire to comply with the spirit of the pilgrimage for the three days of the walk. The presentation should therefore include the following :

How the pilgrimage operates, what the three-day walk entails, and remind pilgrims of the spirit of prayer and penance
Presentation of the theme that will form the subject matter of the different instructions over the three days. It will be necessary to define and repeat every day what is Joy, Morality, Virtue, and in particular the cardinal virtues that will be the recurrent theme of our pilgrimage.
Repeat the introduction given at the very beginning of the pilgrimage.
Practical points, what can or cannot be done, what is expected of a pilgrim, reading and commenting on the undertakings of the pilgrim, in particular on dress, attitude and modesty, Christian virtues often badly understood in a world invaded by hedonism.
Invite pilgrims to the Saturday night vigil as well as to Benediction on Sunday night. Point out that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and awaits our visit each night in the chapel set up in both of the camp sites.
Make an explicit announcement that within the chapter there will be moments of silence and contemplation which everyone is expected to observe. This is to redress a tendency in the last few years towards commotion and excessive noise during the pilgrimage.
Explain what may not be obvious, why the use of Latin etc

These above points should be covered again at various times over the three days. Chapter leaders should communicate these guiding principals clearly and charitably. If need be they can ask a priest to help them.

Between the morning halt and Mass at Midday

Presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is good here to remind ourselves what is the Mass, the non-bloody renewal of the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross. Attention should be paid to carefully explaining certain aspects of the rite, particularly those points that might be surprising to some (Latin, kneeling, the priest facing God as opposed to facing the congregation, silence, Communion on the tongue.). Draw attention to the beauty of the liturgy, the sense of mystery, of the sacred, of the transcendental and of the direct connection with the Doctrine of the Church. This presentation should be made delicately and with charity but without watering down the teaching.

Seminarians and Religious are at your disposition to talk on this subject, dont hesitate to ask for their help at any moment.

Sermon at Mass

Penance, Penance, Penance
Our Lady at Lourdes

What is this joy that we all aspire to ? Perhaps this aspiration is somewhat confused in our minds ? The first natural virtue is the virtue of Prudence, it is a quality that helps us recognise what is good and what are the means to achieve joy, it reveals to us the obstacles on our path. A first act of prudence at the beginning of this pilgrimage is to recognise that we are sinners. It will be good also to remind ourselves during this sermon of the lassitude that often affects those who while trying, and rightly so, to preserve themselves from the prevailing worldliness around them, could well fall into the trap of thinking themselves out of danger.

The Sacrament of Penance (During the afternoon, and to be repeated everyday of the pilgrimage.)

This instruction continues on from the sermon at mass and accompanies the afternoon meditations. It should incite horror for our sins and explain the sacrament of Penance, the necessity of availing of it to purify ourselves, reinforce our friendship with God and renew a life of Grace. The instruction should include how sacramental confession takes place and the immense benefit that is to be obtained from it. This topic should be revisited during the three days with the aid of priests, religious and seminarians who will have prepared their instructions. Experience has shown that the deciding moment for the pilgrim does not happen straight away but will take some time.

We now start our four cycles of three meditations, one cycle per virtue.

Beginning of the Afternoon

The virtue of Prudence, nature and examples.

A simple, methodical and illustrated presentation including many examples of what is the virtue of Prudence.

Start by giving an example that is as clear as possible.

Using well chosen examples for our pilgrims, show the value of the virtue of Prudence and how important it is to cultivate it. Prudence means knowing ourselves as we truly are and as God sees us, with both our weaknesses and our qualities. Prudence helps us to see clearly what are the obstacles on our path to joy and what God expects from us. Outline ways in which we can develop the virtue of Prudence in ourselves.

During the afternoon

Virgo prudentissima, ora pro nobis.

In the litanies of Our Lady, Our Lady is called Virgin Most Prudent, Mother of Good Counsel and Seat of Wisdom.

We have seen what is Prudence, in particular as regards our own search for joy, we now look at the example of Our Lady.
Our Lady always acts in the light of reason illuminated by Faith, she is totally attentive to the Holy Spirit, perfectly obedient to God :
Fiat mihi be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Magnificat ! My soul magnifies the Lord !.

Let us contemplate Mary, particularly in the Annunciation and in the Visitation.

End of the Afternoon

Prudence is also about recognising our own talents

Prudence in our daily lives means acknowledging our weaknesses and our failings, but it also means realising that Gods love for us is limitless. His only wish for us is our happiness and joy. He gives each one of us the graces necessary to attain this joy, be it in this world or in the next. He gives us all the strength necessary to accomplish our mission.

It is now the moment to undertake our own conversion. Its a question of having the right sense of priorities. First of all we have to pray, to think of God, to thank Him for the talents we have received, to ask for His help, without which we can do nothing of use for our salvation. Think of Me and I will think of you !, Our Lord to Saint Catherine of Sienna.

Sunday 11th May 2008

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