Lourdes/Bethlehem – In a communiqué of May 24, the greatest French Shrine, “Our Lady of Lourdes”, announced that its “official rosary” will be made by a Bethlehem family, in collaboration with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The rector of the Shrine, Father Horacio Brito, is the one, by this gesture, to invite all pilgrims to rediscover the Marian prayer in communion with Christians of the Holy land.

“We hope that all pilgrims to Lourdes may pray for the intentions of the Christians of the Holy Land, who are faced with great difficulties”, said François Vayne, Director of Press and Communication Service of the sanctuary of Lourdes. The Rosary is an extraordinary means of communication to unite each other and get in tune with the harmony of the “other world”, as witnessed by the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette.

A Christian family in Bethlehem makes the Rosary beads of olive wood. They cut them according to size, polish them, drill them and join them together.  It was the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, at the request of the Shrine of Lourdes, who chose this Christian family. For the initiators of the project it symbolizes “the Palestinian people that we want to support and encourage in its desire to live in peace and freedom on their own land.”

Why a rosary?

“This year we brought pilgrims to Lourdes to rediscover the prayer of the Rosary together with Bernadette”, explains François Vayne. “It is the only prayer known by the little visionary of Lourdes, which she recited during the apparitions. To give a dimension of solidarity and universal fraternity in the year of the Rosary in Lourdes, we wanted to involve the Christians of the Holy Land in this initiative, to produce the Rosary of Lourdes in that particular place where Christ and the Virgin Mary lived.” It is a return to the origins, for the first official Rosary of the Marian Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes. “We want pilgrims to unite their lives to Christ in a dynamic of hope and confidence, with particular regard to what makes them suffer.”

The power of a spiritual solidarity with the Holy Land

This first official rosary is destined to become in the coming years a “symbol of spiritual solidarity of all Christians with their proven and brave brothers of the Holy Land”. Moreover, when it is heard that in 2011 more than 6,291,345 visitors came to Lourdes, it is with emotion that one can imagine for years to come the thousands of beads from Bethlehem, which will pass through the fingers of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, in communion of prayer with Christians of the Holy Land, through Mary!

Amélie de La Hougue

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