Thursday, 27 June 2013

Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson and the Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes

On the Memorial Day weekend, injured along with impaired American military veterans were being going to Lourdes, France, as part of the 55th International Military Pilgrimage.

This event was sponsored by the Archdiocese for the military services and Knights of Columbus, the pilgrimage is a time for healing, both spiritually and physically, in the holy waters of the grotto plus the neighboring surroundings.

In a letter to this year’s pilgrims, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, conveyed the sincere thanks of the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus to the individuals who have served, as well as expressed hope that this pilgrimage would be a substantial time for them.

“The waters of Lourdes have been an origin of refreshment as well as healing for the millions who have visited this holy place,” he said, “and I wish that every one of you will discover at the Grotto some measure of comfort and peace.”

Furthermore addressing the pilgrims in an introductory letter, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services stated his hopes for the trip, stating, “We hope that these upcoming days at the ‘heart of the Church’ bring reassurance, wellness, as well as calmness to those people who have offered a lot of themselves.”

The pilgrims have a weekend full of activities prepared for them, including a series of Masses as well as events with veterans from other countries, a recitation of the rosary and the Stations of the Cross, and even a military band concert.

The Knights' sponsorship of the pilgrimage is the newest part in the story of their involvement in Lourdes, which first started nearly 100 years ago. Throughout the First World War, the Knights were particularly active in serving American soldiers in another country and had an official Knights of Columbus Army Hut right in Lourdes itself. “The experiences of the Knights of Columbus in France happen to be almost as numerous as are the emotions of man,” a report from the period states.

The Knights have joined the military in their time of problems; they also have served them to make good use of their instances of leisure time. They have knelt by their side on the battlefield, and, when no Priest was to be had, they have taken the dying lad’s last message, encouraged him in making his act of contrition, and, when all was over, they have closed his eyes. In times of military stress they have taken food to soldiers in areas, which the commissary had been unable to reach; they have made merry with them in hut and in club, joined in their pastimes, found them good reading, comforted them in body and in soul.

Immediately following the end of the war, the Knights even produced helpful tips for Lourdes following repeated requests from American pilgrims.

“There are actually a great number of requests from the individuals of the American Expeditionary Forces for a “Guide to Lourdes,” the introduction to the report says, “that the Knights of Columbus feel themselves asked to provide this little volume. It has always been our desire to serve our forces in every way possible.”

However, that is not all. With many American troops stationed throughout European countries, the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson organized the first-ever international military pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Lourdes. Especially grateful to the sacrifice and service of our veterans, Knights of Columbus almost everywhere join with the supreme knight and the archbishop in praying for a prosperous and influential pilgrimage for people presently in France, as well as for all who have risked their lives for our independence.

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Related Post - Knights of Columbus Join U.S. Military Archdiocese to Support Spiritual Journey

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