FIVE MILLION AT LOURDES
NEARLY 5,000,000 pilgrims, including 25 Cardinals — one of whom is now Pope John XXIII — have so far visited Lourdes during this centenary year.
The new Pope, as Papal Legate, then Cardinal Roncalli, flew to Lourdes by jet airliner from Rome last March to open and consecrate the Underground Basilica of St. Pius X.
Special pilgrimage trains arriving in Lourdes during the year have so far totalled 1,044 (485 in 1957; 684 in 1954, the Marian Year).
These trains brought some 700.000 pilgrims, including 450,000 French and 250,000 foreign. The regular train service" has also carried a further 1,500,000 pilgrims against 703,000 in 1957.
Nearly 3,500 planes have carried 123,835 passengers to TarbesOssun, the airfield for Lourdes.
Doctors visiting the Medical Bureau numbered 2,961 against 1,433 in 1957.
Sick people visiting the baths numbered 49,500 against 31,100 in 1957, 32 dossiers of possible miracles have been kept for further invest igat ion.
Besides 25 Cardinals, 804 Archbishops and Bishops have been on pilgrimage and many thousands of priests
Three million eight hundred thousand Communions have been distributed against 1,740,000 in 1957. 153,000 Masses have been celebrated in the Sanctuaries compared with 63,000 in 1957.
Cardinal Valerio Valeri. Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Religious, once Papal Nuncio in Paris, will preside at High Mass and will preach in Lourdes for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.
Italian Catholic Actionists had erected a 12-storey high sign of welcome — and so to St. John Lateran,
St. John Lateran, Cathedral Church of Rome. ranks as the oldest and highest in dignity above all other churches. even St. Peter's.
Hence its tale written on its walls in Latin: The Mother and Head of all Churches of the City and of the world."
The high altar, of wood. but encased in marble, is said to be the actual altar at which St. Peter said Mass when in Rome.
Many years ago the procession was most picturesque and colourful. Until the end of the 16th century, it was usually a cavalry parade, the Pope leading the procession mounted on a white horse.
The Pope was accompanied in his own car by Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Sacred College. and Cardinal Micara, Vicar of Rome.
In Lateran Square the Pope received a salute from the Italian armed forces before entering the Lateran Palace where he was greeted by Cardinals of the Curia, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Rome City Authorities.
The bells of St. John Lateran were joined by a pealing chorus of bells from more than 400 Rome churches as the Pope was then borne on his sedia gestatoria to the entrance of the Archbasilica where he descended and knelt for a moment.
The Pope kissed a Crucifix held by Cardinal Maselle, Archpriest of the Basilica. Thai, he took his place on a throne Ln the entrance hall, where from a flower-lined tray he received the keys of St. John's.
In an address of welcome in Latin. Cardinal Massella said:
" You said you would take the name John, the name of your own Roman Cathedral. That gave joy to the entire priesthood of the Basilica, which pledges on this occasion to increase the basilica's honours and fame.
" May the Lord grant you a long and happy life so that you may see that peace may be preserved in the world."
In his reply, also in Latin, the Holy Father said he first visited St. John Lateran during the 1900 Holy Year and returned to the Basilica each time he was in Rome.
After receiving the homage of the prelates, the Pope walked into the church to the applause of the congregation. The choir sang the Tr Demo as he ascended the portable throne and was carried slowly the length of the basilica to the Blessed Sacrament altar where he again descended and knelt to pray. He prayed again before the altar where the relics of SS. Peter and Paul are preserved.
A hush fell over the throng as Cardinal Massella began the Pontifical High Mass while the Pope presided from the Cathedra.
From the Cathedra, his throne as Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father, in an address in Italian, praised his predecessor, Pius XII, " whose memory will remain glorious in the centuries". He pledged himself to join the path set by Pope Pius XII.
"Unfortunately," the Holy Father said, " some foggy clouds of certain teachings which have Little in common with true science darken in all times the horizon of those who seek to sec the clearness and the splendour of the Gospel."
The Pope spoke of the Mass; he urged the more frequent reception of Holy Communion, and then, in closing, smilingly asked the crowds to pardon the length of his address to them.
" Excuse, most dear brothers and sons. excuse your new Bishop, your Continued on page 7, column 1