Lourdes - the joy of conversion

Post date: Dec 20, 2014 9:55:06 AM

The Lourdes Experience must count among the focal points of the Catholic Church in Singapore for 2014. Held on Saturday, 6 December at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, it brought together Catholics from all 32 parishes all over the island, including 500-odd from the parish of The Risen Christ. Lourdes, a town in France, is where Our Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a peasant girl, in a series of 18 apparitions in the year 1858. Hundreds of miracles were recorded at the site of Our Lady's appearance over the years. The many walking sticks and wheel-chairs left behind at the apparition grotto bear testimony to the healing miracles that took place. However, Archbishop William Goh in his homily said that Lourdes is not only about the miracles. It is as much about prayer, penance and conversion. In fact in most of the apparitions, our Lady kept telling Bernadette the same thing: Pray, pray and pray. Physical healing is temporary, whereas inner healing is more permanent. And inner healing can come only from prayer and from our personal encounter with God.

With so much violence taking place in the world today, Archbishop said that the world is in need of real conversion. And the first people we need to convert is our self.

The Lourdes Experience in Singapore was organised by The Knights of Malta. Its aim was to bring the pilgrimage experience to Catholics in Singapore since many are not able, for one reason of other, travel to Lourdes. It was the third time the event was brought to Singapore. The last two occasions was in 2008 and earlier on in 2004.

Several parishioners from Risen Christ shared their experience of the event. Glenda Cabrera, a nurse from The Philippines said: "I was a volunteer paramedic. It was my first experience at such an event and I was there early. When I looked at the empty stadium, the first thought that came to my mind was "how are we going to fill such a huge stadium?" Then when I saw the stadium filled to capacity, I was overwhelmed. My next thought was, "how are we going to handle this?" But I said "God, this is your event. You take charge and be in control." I thank God for giving me a chance to participate in the event which is part of His bigger plan of salvation for us."

Clare Tan, said: "It was extraordinary to have our brothers and sisters from all Catholic churches in Singapore in one place. When the Monstrance was raised, I could feel the presence of Jesus and I was moved to tears. I experienced healing. Jesus is so good and I am very grateful to him!"

Daniel Lim, a National Serviceman, said: "The Lourdes experience was beautiful, and it touched me deeply. I have no words to describe the Eucharistic Celebration. The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong and at one point in time I could not hold my tears. I had personal issues bothering me which affected my diet pattern. After the healing mass, I felt all my frustrations and worries taken away from me, and I felt like a healthy person again.

Many other people experienced the power of God's healing grace at the event, which will be remembered for a long time to come.

Please view more pictures here.