Motorcyclists en masse at Lourdes
Following an overnight "motor vigil" at the weekend, over a thousand bikers descended on Lourdes for the 16th motorcycle pilgrimage.
Catholique.org reports that the two-day pilgrimage, which includes a variety of events, has grown in success and popularity in recent years.
Organised by the Pyrenees Motorcyclists Union, the event is now recognised as an annual event on the official calendar of the sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Fr Thierry Lavignac, motorcyclist chaplain for the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes celebrated Sunday mass for the riders at St Bernadette's Church on Sunday morning.
After the mass, the pilgrims placed candles in the Grotto. Fr Lavignac then blessed the riders before they paraded through the town. The program concluded with an acrobatic bike stunt show.
Lourdes-France reports that the motorcycle pilgrimage coincided with a sports pilgrimage for disabled athletes held the same weekend.
"Our pilgrimage invites us to enjoy the light of fraternity, humility, tolerance as well as equality between elite athletes, occasional players and disabled athletes," explained Michel Crauste, director of the pilgrimage and former captain of the French national rugby team.
"Disabled athletes are at home at Lourdes. They give meaning to this pilgrimage. Through sport, (they show that) they are like everyone else, that they have talents and how they overcome their physical disabilities."
Un millier de motards pour le 16e pèlerinage à Lourdes! (Catholique.org 8/6/06)
Le pèlerinage des motards (Lourdes-France.org 14/6/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Motorbike pilgrimage to Lourdes (Motoplanete 19/6/06)
Pope's Lourdes pilgrimage to praise God, not seek healing (CathNews 2/8/04)
Un millier de motards pour le 16e pèlerinage à Lourdes! (Zenit 8/6/06)
20 Jun 2006