On Feb. 10, Bishop Eduardo Nevares will celebrate the annual healing Mass for the World Day of the Sick at St. Bernadette Parish in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Mass will also be broadcast on EWTN. Knights and Dames will be on hand to assist with getting to and from the pews before and after Mass, as well as during communion and anointing. After the Mass a Catholic Fair will be hosted in the parish hall featuring local Catholic ministries and businesses from throughout Arizona.
About the Order of Malta
The Order of Malta, officially The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta – is a 900 year old lay, religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Founded by Blessed Fra’ Gerard, a Benedictine of the Monastery of St Mary of the Latins in the the 1070s. The Order of St John initially took care of the poor and the sick at the hospital of St John the Baptist in Jerusalem. Formally recognized by Pope Pascal II in 1113, the Order has fostered its primary charism of caring for the sick and the poor.
Our Lady of Lourdes and the Order of Malta
The annual pilgrimage to Lourdes holds a special place among the works of the Order as it is an annual gathering of Knights and Dames from all over the world in one place to care for malades (those experiencing life-altering illnesses) who could not otherwise make the pilgrimage on their own.
In 1958, the hundredth anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes, the Order of Malta organized its first international pilgrimage to Lourdes. The pilgrimage has grown so that now some 1300 malades are transported to Lourdes every year and served by 7000 Knights and Dames from 45 different nations.
While no one comes to Lourdes without the hope of receiving physical healing the Church has only recognized 70 miracles since pilgrims first began to come to the shrine nearly 170 years ago. While most pilgrims can share anecdotes about personal healing, few pass the strict scrutiny associated with the official declaration of a miracle. Fra’ Alessandro de Francisis, the medical director at Lourdes and Knight of Justice of the Order of Malta, is fond of reminding pilgrims, “Lourdes itself is the Miracle.” Every member and every malade who has been to Lourdes can attest to the peace and interior healing associated with simply being at Our Lady’s Sanctuary.
Bringing Lourdes to Phoenix
In the last decade, the Order has made efforts to bring Lourdes home. The World Day of the Sick is an opportunity for us to share the fruits of a pilgrimage to Lourdes with those back home. Celebrating a Healing Mass on the World Day of the Sick, distributing vials of Lourdes water, receiving the prayer intentions of those in our individual locations and offering them at our Lady’s shrine during the pilgrimage are just a few ways we have found to bring Lourdes home.
Knight of Malta, Daniel Johnson contributed to the story.