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Catégories : News from Lourdes
Every May, the international military family gathers in Lourdes. The International Military Pilgrimage, also known as PMI, is the second largest military event in France. It is one of the most important in the world.
In 1945, Jules Saliège, Archbishop of Toulouse, asked Father Besombes to organise a gathering of military personnel in Lourdes for those wounded in the recent fighting and to thank the soldiers. From its inception, this pilgrimage was a success. Only 2 years after its creation, it became a national pilgrimage.
This military pilgrimage quickly gave way to a perspective of Franco-German reconciliation.
In 1956, relations with the French and German chaplaincies increased. These armies, which had been fighting each other not so long before, formed friendships during the pilgrimage.
Two years later, on 6 February 1958, the chaplains from Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, the United States and France decided on the modalities of participation in the first International Military Pilgrimage, which took place from Friday 13 June to Monday 16 June 1958. This first PMI gathered more than 40,000 pilgrims from 11 different countries. Since 1958, the International Military Pilgrimage has been an act of fraternity between peoples, of support for the wounded and of the spirituality of armies.
Since then, the PMI in Lourdes has become an international pilgrimage of prayer for peace and reconciliation.
Today, the International Military Pilgrimage brings together over 12,000 uniformed military personnel from more than 40 nations each year. For three days in normal times, the streets of Lourdes are alive with bands, parades and processions. It is one of the largest and most important pilgrimages that take place in Lourdes.
The International Military Pilgrimage is a major gathering for the Catholic military chaplaincy. It is a spiritual, festive and fraternal pilgrimage for all brothers in arms.
This year, it took place in the form of a live web-pilgrimage from Lourdes from 21 to 23 May 2021 in a format adapted to health measures.
About a hundred French military personnel had the chance to physically participate in the pilgrimage to live and share the celebrations of this pilgrimage via social networks and the internet.
The International Military Pilgrimage is a way to get closer to Christ, to step back from military missions and to refocus on the essential. It is also an opportunity to meet soldiers from all over the world, to build relationships and to create beautiful friendships during these three days. The PMI is also a moment of solidarity with wounded soldiers and brothers in arms. From the beginning, the PMI has had the ambition to reconcile enemies and to pray together for peace. It is a way for soldiers from different countries to make peace and communicate.
In addition, each year more than 50 adults are baptized and 100 pilgrims are confirmed during the International Military Pilgrimage. It is a moving, touching and significant moment for all pilgrims.