Inchicore Lourdes Novena 2019 Honouring Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette
The Annual Lourdes Novena, is celebrated from the 2nd to the 11th of February in the parish of Mary Immaculate Inchicore, and was well attended each day. A special celebration of the anointing of the sick took place on Saturday 9th February during the Novena.
As well as the morning mass and evening novena service, led by Fr Brian de Búrca OMI, there was an exhibition of photographs of Bernadette’s life on display in Mary Immaculate Church. The collection offered an encounter with Bernadette and some of the people she interacted with during her life in Lourdes. As well as giving us a condensed history of that time (1844-1879), the parish display also captured pilgrims and hospitality groups who travelled to Lourdes, including the Oblates, over the years.
The Novena closed on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th with the traditional torchlight procession around the grounds of the Oblate Community.
The Novena concluded with some words from Fr Brian on Lourdes and St Bernadette.
I don’t promise to make you happy in this world, but the other.
“In Deuteronomy, Moses said to the people, what do you want? “Choose life or death” – choose what’s good. Our lady said to Bernadette, “I don’t promise to make you happy in this world but in the other”.
We know the power of violence, of power, of privilege. Of being number one, of profit, of war, of lack of respect, of wealth. Of forgetting others, treading on others, not treating them with respect. Our Lady said ‘You wont find happiness in that world but in the other’. We also know a world of love, of solidarity, of justice, of mercy, of forgiveness. We don’t all live it perfectly, but that’s the other world where Mary said that is where you’ll find happiness.
Choose Life, not Death
Bernadette had her cross, and she died at the age of 35, sick, but she could say that ‘I’m happier than a queen on her throne’. She found happiness, not in ‘world’ values, but in God’s values – and that was Mary’s message – and we are invited to find happiness in that world, which is God’s Kingdom and God’s values.
To value the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and when I think if myself and some here in our community, to value the old. We all have a part in life. We’re all made in God’s image and there’s joy when we recognise that. Look at Bernadette. Just think of her. 170 something years we are here gathered because of her.
She was a nobody, complete nobody, and looked down on in Lourdes. She was vulnerable, weak et cetera, but look at what she accomplished with God. And God acts through all of us. I’m unique and so are you. Everyone is made in and reflects God’s image in their way – if only I can let it develop in me and you let it develop in you.
Bernadette didn’t go down to meet Our Lady, she went down to collect wood and bones because they could sell them. That’s the reason she went down to the Grotto. The grotto was a mucky place where people didn’t go, pigs were there at times.
God meets us where we are
And when you see the grotto today it is not like what it was, it was outside Lourdes and it was dirty. The fact that Mary appeared in a dirty grotto, in an obscure grotto called Massabielle ,the old rock outside Lourdes, it tells us that God meets us where we are in life.
She didn’t go down for an appointment with Our Lady. She was in daily life, struggling, and that’s where God met her, in Mary, in her lost cause, in her mystery, in everything else.
I think for me it teaches us that wherever you are is holy and God can meet you there. Certainly the church is important, but your daily life at home, in your miseries in your work in your sickness in your joys, in your unemployment, wherever you are and whatever you’re going through thats where God is.
And that’s where God met Bernadette, through Mary, in the depth of her misery, in this old place.”
A word of thanks
With thanks to the many people who volunteered their time and energy to help facilitate the Novena.
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