Similar to millions of humble pilgrims to the sacred shine of Our Lady of Lourdes, tens of millions of Catholics throughout the world daily seek humble miracles of healing (body, mind and soul) by way of Mother Mary’s loving intercession with her beloved son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thankfully, Our Beloved Mother always hears our prayers and loves bringing them to her beloved son Jesus. Every good pilgrim to Lourdes leaves with something beautiful, mysterious, at times even miraculous. Every good Catholic can experience the same in their daily life if they let Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother work for them.
On May 13, 1992, Saint Pope John Paul II proclaimed the Annual World Day of the Sick to honor, serve and bless all who are sick and suffering on or around the Annual Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes every February 11th.
Our Order of Malta has faithfully heeded this holy charge for several decades. Inspired and nourished by our two holy charisms (Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum), our Order partners with local Catholic dioceses to host Annual World Day of the Sick Healing Masses. These holy gatherings provide Faith, Hope and Love to the “Our Lords, the Sick” as we do in Lourdes, but are more accessible to those who are unable to make the journey to France.
On February 8th, Knights, Dames, Provisionals, Auxiliary and Volunteers of the Order of Malta in the Phoenix Diocese hosted our 11th Annual World Day of the Sick Healing Mass at the Bishop’s Cathedral of Saint Simon and Saint Jude in Phoenix. The Holy Mass was also live- streamed and televised live throughout Arizona on AZTV 7 and globally on the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN).
Attendance for our holy gathering was up 50% over last year and the beautiful Cathedral was standing room only. Live streaming and television viewership were also up significantly over last year’s 250,000 households of viewers due to a vigorous social media campaign generously funded by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). In addition, the number of special prayer requests emailed to PrayersForLourdes@gmail.com increased 600% year over year.
The moving prayer requests were received from several continents and will be brought to Our Lady of Lourdes no later than our next Lourdes Pilgrimage in 2021. After the wonderful Holy Mass, we held our first-ever Catholic Fair in the parish school gym. The fair featured 20 different Catholic charitable and service organizations e.g. Augustine Institute, Catholic Education Arizona, FOCUS, Franciscan Renewal Center, Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation, Malteser International, Napa Legal Institute, Relevant Radio, Saint Vincent de Paul, Vatican Observatory and Young Catholic Professionals.
ALL THANKS BE TO GOD, it was a wonderful day of witness, service and blessings!!!
By Tim Jeffries, K.M.
Link to Broadcast of the Mass from EWTN.