The 2018 pastoral theme is “Do whatever He tells you” (Gospel of John, Chapter 2)
The events in Lourdes took place 160 years ago this year. But, like the Gospel, which itself is less than 2000 years old, they are as relevant today as ever. They beckon us on to a place we have not yet reached. We need to open our hearts to the Good News, to become the contemporaries of the Gospel today. God approaches ever closer, the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst.
2018 will be perhaps an opportunity for us to return to the roots of these events, to Mary and to Bernadette. The hubbub we experience in our own hectic lives, in our anxieties and in our concerns, blocks out the words of eternal love that passed in the silent encounter between these two young women. It will be good for us to rediscover Bernadette, the first witness of Lourdes, in whom we recognise the face of Mary and the Paschal candle illuminated with the light of the Holy Spirit. After the focus, in 2017, on the Virgin of the Magnificat, we return this year to the young Bernadette. “Have you seen this child?” Mgr. Laurence asked members of the Commission during the investigation into the authenticity of the events at Lourdes. Look at Bernadette and listen to her, welcome the light that shines from the dark recess of the rock, and embrace the silence that enables us to hear the Word of God.
With Bernadette, let us be attentive to the Virgin of Silence, who brings us the Word from a God of Love, our Creator and Saviour. The ‘message’ of Lourdes is none other than the Good News, announced to the poor and entrusted to them.
At points during our week in Lourdes we will be focusing on the theme and looking at how we as pilgrims can embrace and spread the Good News. Having our Parish Priests walking among us while in Lourdes is not only important but vital in helping to breakdown and explain the pastoral theme to our Pilgrims not only during daily Mass but also in social environments.