Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and the Order of Malta welcomed hundreds to St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday – including many of the city’s frail and infirm – at the annual Lourdes Day Mass.
Scores of people, young and old, stepped forward to receive the Blessing of the Sick from Archbishop Fisher and member priests of the Order.
Many also received from members of the Order bottles of water from the grotto at Lourdes, France, where Mary appeared to a 14-year-old miller’s daughter, Bernadette Soubirous, in 1858.
Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times in a ‘grotto’ or cave that was known locally as a shelter for the area’s pigs.
Bernadette was instructed to dig and there rose a brook that was later converted into a pool. Its water has been linked to numerous miraculous healings.
The Order of Malta offers the Mass as part of its mission to defend the faith and serve the Lord’s poor and sick.
The organisation’s origins go back to the time of the Crusades.
It was established in Palestine around 1048, as a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.
It’s nearly 14,000 members around the world are dedicated to Christian virtue and charity.