NEW HAVEN—More than 200 active and retired U.S. military personnel will take part in the annual Warriors to Lourdes spiritual journey dedicated to individual healing and a more peaceful world. The May 15-22 journey is timed to coincide with the 60th annual International Military Pilgrimage (PMI).
“The Marian Shrine at Lourdes is a place of hope where healings of many types take place, both physical and spiritual,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. ”It is an opportunity for active-duty personnel, veterans and their caregivers to experience an abundance of peace and consolation while in this holy place.”
The visit to Lourdes is organized by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) and supported by the Knights of Columbus. The PMI will draw tens of thousands of troops, veterans, and others from around the world to the famous shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The theme for this year’s PMI is Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth).
In a message to participants on behalf of the military archdiocese, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., thanked Anderson and the Knights “who have so generously made possible the pilgrimage of many wounded warriors and infirm veterans who would not otherwise have been able to join in this important international prayer for peace.”
Archbishop Broglio urged the pilgrims to pray “for progress in international dialogue, welcome for the immigrant, and a decrease in violence in our communities and the world.”
The PMI will include an international opening ceremony and events with the color guards of many countries in attendance. The pilgrims will also have daily Mass, times of reflection and reconciliation and have the opportunity to bathe in the waters of Lourdes from which many seek spiritual, physical or emotional healing.
Support for the pilgrimage by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., follows on a long history of the organization’s support for military troops and veterans.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I. During that conflict, the Knights of Columbus established a system of “Army Huts” in America and Europe that provided social, recreational and spiritual resources for Allied servicemen, with the motto “Everybody Welcome. Everything Free.”
The PMI was inaugurated following World War II to foster “reconciliation, peace and healing” and has grown to become a prayerful and festive occasion. In addition to the military and religious pageantry of Lourdes, pilgrims also have the opportunity to meet service men and women and veterans from around the world—many attired in colorful dress uniforms.
About the Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization whose nearly 2 million members and 15,000 councils support a broad spectrum of charitable causes locally, as well as internationally.
In 2017, the Knights of Columbus gave $177 million to charity and its members donated more than 75 million hours of volunteer time. Along with Warriors to Lourdes, K of C’s key charitable initiatives include the Christians at Risk program to help Christian refugees in the Middle East; the March for Life; Special Olympics; Coats for Kids; the Saint John Paul II National Shrine; the Global Wheelchair Mission; Building the Domestic Church; and many more.
To learn more about the Knights of Columbus charitable initiatives, membership, insurance and the legacy of its founder, Venerable Father Michael McGivney, visit www.kofc.org.
About the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS)
The AMS was established as an independent archdiocese by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers.
AMS-endorsed priests serve at more than 220 U.S. military installations in 29 countries, making the AMS the nation’s only global archdiocese. AMS-endorsed chaplains also serve at 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the U.S.
The AMS service population also includes American Catholic civilians working for the federal government in 134 countries, but currently, due to limited resources, the AMS cannot adequately serve this population.
Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend on the AMS to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs.
For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, visit www.milarch.org, the only official website for Catholics in the U.S. Military.
For information on the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, MM, visit www.capodannoguild.org.