Thursday 7 February 2008

Lourdes Novena

All this week, at 6pm, devotions to Our Lady of Lourdes are taking place in the Cathedral Lady Chapel. This novena (nine days of prayer) leads up to the 150th anniversary of the first apparition at Lourdes, which took place on 11th February 1858. A day-pilgrimage to the diocesan shrine at Cleator took place at the start of the novena (see here).

These photos were taken at the devotions a few days ago, and show how beatutifully the Lady Chapel has been decorated. A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes has been placed there, surrounded by flowers - a rare chance for the Cathedral's flower arrangers to show off their skills during Lent! The chapel itself is very fine, and much underused because of its size, so this is a welcome opportunity to make use of it.

The devotions are accompanied by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, reminding us that true devotion to Mary always leads us closer to her Son. Each day there is a particular prayer intention. The Rosary is prayed, followed by the Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes and a novena prayer. Each evening the prayers end with Benediction, imparting Christ's blessing upon us as we go forth.