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Virtual Pilgrimage: Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette in Toronto

Joan Lewis, CND

For the past three years, parishioners and students have had the opportunity to experience a Virtual Pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage mirrors spending a day at Lourdes, France. After being a volunteer in Lourdes, Joan Lewis, CND desired to share with others a similar experience. She then persuaded Fran, one of the team members, to come to Toronto.

Fran Salaun, who has a life-time commitment at Lourdes, is a member of the North American Lourdes Volunteers. She uses PowerPoint to speak of the Apparitions and Miracles at Lourdes. It is more than a slide show, it is an experience; people touch the rocks brought from the Grotto and receive a bottle of the authentic graced Lourdes water. In the churches Benediction takes place, candles are lit and a decade of the rosary recited.

At the beginning of the year, Sister Joan and a colleague, Marie Shiavo, start their visits to the parish and schools to explain and prepare for the presentation. Visits to the school are special. The school children respond so well; some can identify with a poor, struggling 14 year old peasant girl. This year it was wonderful to visit St. Edward Catholic School where Tony DeCiantis, one of our Associates, is principal. Karen Volpe, Tony’s wife, was also present to take pictures of the happenings. The participation is always a blessing and most impressive.

Many may never go to Lourdes in France; however, more than 1,000 elementary school children, high school students and adults from March 29 to April 2 had the opportunity to be a pilgrim in their own parish and school. 


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