The first weekend of May the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta bring the sick, called in French malades, to Mary in Lourdes. Whenever I can I love to join them as one of their chaplains, for this extraordinarily beautiful experience of serving the malades as we all gather to pray to Mary and assist the sick so that they can experience the spiritual richness of the place where she appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1854. 

From Thursday through Tuesday the American Association of the Order cares for the malades thanks to the generosity of the caregivers and the Knights and Dames who form teams, each of which has a number of malades under their care. We had three malades from our diocese. The team I was in included our area co-chair and extraordinary nurse, Maureen Gibbons of Rockville Centre. The leaders of our Blue Team were Tom and Donna O’Brien of Garden City.

While Lourdes is always a deeply spiritual experience no matter how often one goes there, being with this group of dedicated Catholic lay men and women, all of us committed to serving the malades for their spiritual and physical care, makes this annual pilgrimage one of the most special events of the year.

I invite all of you to pray with me for all the malades who were in Lourdes this first weekend in May and to continue to ask Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, to watch over and touch all our beloved sick in every part of our diocese.