A thousand bikers descend on Lourdes

More than a thousand leather-clad bikers roared into Lourdes for the 16th motorcycle pilgrimage on Saturday. Many had driven long distances through the night. Fr Thierry Lavignac, motorcyclist chaplain for the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes celebrated Mass for the riders at St Bernadette's Church on Sunday morning. Afterwards , the pilgrims placed candles in the Grotto and received a blessing, before parading through the town and then staging an acrobatic bike stunt show. Organised by the Pyrenees Motorcyclists Union, the pilgrimage is now an annual event at the Shrine. It coincides with a sports pilgrimage for disabled athletes held on the same weekend. "Our pilgrimage invites us to enjoy the light of fraternity, humility, tolerance as well as equality between elite athletes, occasional players and disabled athletes," explained Michel Crauste, director of the pilgrimage and former captain of the French national rugby team. "Disabled athletes are at home at Lourdes. They give meaning to this pilgrimage. Through sport, they show they are like everyone else, that they have talents and how they overcome their physical disabilities." Source: Catholique.org/Lourdes official site

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