ROME (CNS): Pope John Paul II has been invited to Lourdes, France for the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
President of the French bishops’ conference, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, and Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes, made public their formal invitation to the Pope on April 22.
A Vatican delegation was in Lourdes to study details of the proposed pilgrimage, reported the French Catholic daily, La Croix.
According to the French bishops’ conference, the visit would be around August 15, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes would mark the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s proclamation of the dogma that Mary was conceived without sin.
Meanwhile, Pope John Paul will travel to Switzerland early next month to preside over the country’s first nationwide gathering of Catholic youths.
The weekend visit on June 5-6 will be the Pope’s first foreign trip since September. It will be the Pope’s third visit to Switzerland and the 103rd foreign trip of his pontificate.