PRINCE ALBERT — Come to Mary, Families are Consecrated was the theme for the beginning of the annual pilgrimage on July 15 and 16 at Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Laurent Shrine, northeast of Duck Lake, Sask.
Rev. Lucien Larre was keynote speaker for the first day. He spoke on miracles in everyday life and the appearances of Mary to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France. His talks included many humorous moments, leaving congregation members laughing out loud. He encouraged them to begin or continue saying the rosary daily, be missionaries, sacrifice, follow the Ten Commandments, receive confession and pray for others.
“Preach the Gospel every day wherever you go, and if necessary, use words. In God’s great plan, there are those who are waiting for you to help them. Be a missionary, pray for them,” said Larre.
Four men walked in procession down the hill to the grotto, carrying a statue of Mary on a large platform surrounded by flowers. The congregation followed reciting the rosary.
The eucharistic celebration the first evening was dedicated to longtime shrine volunteer Bill Martodam who passed away in March 2015.
In his homily, Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., described how God constantly invites us to a loving relationship, as with a spouse, child or grandparent.
“Love can really change us, if we let our relationships with others grow. We can’t be centred on ourselves, but rather on the other person that we love so much. Love invites us to do special things for others, to make them happy. Every day, you can learn more about your spouse. It is the same with the Lord, we have to take time to talk and listen to him, and often we are off track. As a family of families, we gather together to make sacred that relationship we have with God.”
Young Vietnamese dancers performed a liturgical dance in front of the altar in honour of the Mary, Mother of God.
World Youth Day 2016 pilgrims were called forward for a blessing by the bishop.
A candlelight procession on a trail through the trees near the grotto ended the evening.
The next day, also the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, began with a Pipe Ceremony, followed by both a Cree and French eucharistic celebration in the grotto. During the afternoon English mass, the sick were invited to receive an anointing.