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IWKnights Corner for March 31, 2024

 — Easter Sunday of The Resurrection of the Lord

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus? 

Members of the Ukrainian delegation to the International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes, including several mothers of fallen soldiers, wave their national flag during a ceremony on the sanctuary’s esplanade in May 2023. (Photo by Tamino Petelinšek).

“Pilgrims to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in France often describe it as a place full of joy and peace. Therefore, the sight of thousands of military personnel processing through the shrine in uniform may be jarring to some.

For the Knights of Columbus, this sight, although unusual, is not surprising. Service members and veterans from dozens of countries have been coming to Lourdes to pray for peace and healing for more than 60 years — an annual event called the Pèlerinage Militaire International (International Military Pilgrimage) — and the Order has been helping them take part through its Warriors to Lourdes program for nearly a decade.

The apparent contrast between the joyful peace of Lourdes and the martial atmosphere of the PMI gained a new dimension two years ago with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The war in Ukraine, just 1,400 miles east of Lourdes, is the first large-scale conflict in Europe since the war that first inspired the military pilgrimage, World War II.

‘One of the backdrops of this gathering is certainly the war in Ukraine,’ Archbishop Timothy Broglio, head of Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, commented during last year’s PMI, held May 10-15, 2023. ‘I think the notion that in 2023 we can have a war in Europe is almost beyond the pale of understanding. One of my intentions coming on this pilgrimage is to beg for peace in Ukraine.’

The war has changed the general ambience of Warriors to Lourdes, and inspired pilgrims to search for additional expressions of solidarity with their brethren from Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers have been making pilgrimages to Lourdes for almost 30 years, and they have been able to do so since 2015 with the help of the Order. Jesuit Father Andriy Zelinskyy, chief deputy of the Military Chaplaincy Department of the Patriarchal Curia of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, said that without the support of the Knights, continuing the tradition — especially in current circumstances — would be impossible.

‘We wouldn’t be able to do it without the Knights of Columbus. … It’s a very important ministry that they do for us, and we appreciate it so much,’ he said.

Ukraine has sent a small group of soldiers, military chaplains and mothers of fallen soldiers to Lourdes each of the last two years. Due to the worsening situation on the front, sending a bigger delegation was not an option…” There is much more to this story written by TOMASZ ADAMSKI, who writes from Kraków, Poland, where he is a member of Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko Council 17667

Link to the entire article at any of the following sources: Flocknotes, IWKnights9981.com/bulletin, facebook.com/IWknights9981 or twitter.com/IWknights

‘Finding Room in Your Heart’

The annual Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage has become an opportunity to show spiritual solidarity with Ukrainian soldiers defending their homeland

By Tomasz Adamski, Knights of Columbus Knightline  (2/7/2024)
Click here to read the article

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