2023 Pilgrimage to Lourdes
This year’s Pilgrimage to Lourdes marked a number of firsts for the Order of Malta Hong Kong. A fifteen strong delegation – the largest to date – travelled with the first malade from Hong Kong to the holy site in France. After a two-year Covid enforced hiatus and limited participation last year, it was wonderful to see over 6000 participants from 41 nationalities gathered for the annual Order of Malta event in a clear show of faith and hope. The Asia Pacific region was well-represented with large participation from Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Australia but there were also pilgrims and malades from South America and Africa, and of course Europe. The largest groups were from France (1,300), Italy (1,200) and the USA (1,000).
The Order of Malta Hong Kong was delighted to be able to resume its long-standing partnership with the Australian Association (28 delegates and 4 malades) in holding joint activities.
The 48 participants from both Associations were divided into 4 teams by our very able team leaders, Dunstan de Souza (Australia) and Philippe de Viel Castel (Hong Kong), who smoothly guided us through a full 6 day programme.
In addition to the principal events such as the Eucharistic procession with the sick to the Sanctuary, the Pontifical High Mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X and the candlelight Marian procession, the Australian and Hong Kong Associations co-hosted its own Mass celebrations at the Basilica of the Rosary on May 3 and at the Grotto of Massabielle on May 4.
Sunday’s Pontifical Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Pope’s Special Delegate to the Order of Malta. The Marian pilgrimage was well-attended by the Order of Malta leadership from Rome, including our Prelate, Monsignor Jean Laffitte.
Philippe de Viel Castel said, “Walking right into the Grotto where the Virgin Mary stood felt incredibly intimate, yet carrying Her statue during the candlelight Marian procession into a sea of thousands of pilgrims also let me feel the closeness we share with our brothers and sisters in devotion”.
Order of Malta Hong Kong was very happy to once again partner with the Australian Association, We were grateful for the invitation by other associations to join them in visiting a beautiful local village.
Annie Cheung, the malade accompanied by the Hong Kong Association said, “I really enjoyed the Lourdes Pilgrimage together with the volunteers of the Order of Malta Hong Kong. Thank you very much to all of the volunteers for their generous caring. I would love to join the Pilgrimage to Lourdes again next year!”