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Catholic Life Features

Relics of St. Bernadette will tour the U.S. to August


From April to August 2022, the relics of St. Bernadette will tour the United States for the first time, bringing the grace of Lourdes to parishes across the country. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is organizing the pilgrimage of the relics in partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, North American Volunteers, Hospitalité of Miami and the Order of Malta.

Bernadette Soubirous

This May 28-31, the relics will be available for veneration in Syracuse. Each host parish has planned a full day of events. The local North American Lourdes Volunteers will provide a guided Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience at each host parish.

To prepare for the holy visit of this special saint, all are invited to join in praying the Novena to St. Bernadette the nine days leading up to the visit of her relics. Sign up to receive the novena daily and other updates by email about the schedule of events of the relics in the Syracuse area.

This will be the first-time opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Bernadette in New York. There will also be opportunities to participate in Marian candlelight processions, accompanied by the relics of St. Bernadette, and to drink and wash in the water from Massabielle, the grotto where Mary appeared to Bernadette. St. Bernadette has inspired over 3 million pilgrims to come to Lourdes, France, every year. A plenary indulgence may be obtained during the visit providing the usual criteria are met.

On April 18, 1925, 46 years after her death, the body of Bernadette Soubirous was exhumed so that relics could be retrieved. The relics include a fragment of the fifth rib, a fragment of the sixth rib, the kneecaps, a sample of muscle from the external part of the right femur, lots of hair, and various fragments which came from muscles and skin.

The ex-carne relic was given to the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception (Fathers of Garaison). In 2018, the Very Reverend Horacio Brito, superior general of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception entrusted this relic to the Sanctuary of Lourdes. It is now in the reliquary made in Spain by the Maison Granda workshop. This reliquary was solemnly unveiled in Lourdes on May 30, 2019.

Marie Bernarde Soubirous (Bernadette) was born on Jan. 7, 1844. Her family lived a very simple life working at the Boly Mill, east of Lourdes, France, for decades. Her parents endured several financial hardships due to competition from new steam-powered technology and to illness and death in the family.

As their life of poverty continued to worsen, Bernadette convinced her father to allow her to attend the paupers’ class at the hospice run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.

In 1858, at the age of 14, Bernadette reported 18 apparitions of a lady wearing a white veil and a blue girdle, with a golden rose on each foot and a rosary of pearls. Bernadette was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

Schedule of Events in the Diocese of Syracuse

Saturday, May 28

Holy Family Church, 127 Chapel Drive, Syracuse 13219

315-488-3139  https://holyfamilysyr.org/

5-6:30 p.m. – Welcome Ceremony, Veneration of Relics and Holy Hour


Sunday, May 29

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 259 East Onondaga St., Syracuse 13202

315-422-4177 https://cathedralsyracuse.org/

9:45 a.m. – Mass Celebrated by Bishop Lucia

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Veneration of Relics 

1 p.m. – Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience

3-4 p.m. – Veneration of Relics

5:10 p.m. – Mass


Monday, May 30

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 8229 Brewerton Road, Cicero 13039

315-699-2752 https://sacredheartofcicero.com/

8 a.m. – Mass

8:45 a.m. – Holy Hour (Rosary & Litany)

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  – Veneration of Relics

4 p.m. – Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience

7 p.m. – Healing Mass

8-9 p.m. – Benediction/Adoration/Anointing of the Sick


Tuesday, May 31

Holy Family Church, 127 Chapel Drive, Syracuse 13219  

315-488-3139 https://holyfamilysyr.org/

9 a.m. – Healing Mass

1 p.m. – Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience for school children

5 p.m. – Mass

6-7 p.m.  – Veneration of Relics

7 p.m. – Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience and Anointing of the Sick

 Information for Pilgrims

No reservations needed. Veneration will be by exposition only. No one will be permitted to touch the reliquary or the glass case surrounding it. Pilgrims are encouraged to pray silently in front of the reliquary.

Due to anticipated crowds, pilgrims should be respectful of others in line when venerating the relics and only expect to spend a minute in front of the relic.

A free-will offering will be taken to support the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France.