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Lourdes: The Traditional Pilgrimage Amid Tight Security

RELIGION: On this Tuesday 15th August, the Town of Lourdes, expects thousands of pilgrims …

Security of the porticos, a banned vehicle traffic, mobilized 300 police officers … The traditional pilgrimage of the Assumption in Lourdes , which expects 25,000 pilgrims will be on Tuesday under heavy security.

A reduced safety device

Although the device has been reduced from 2016, year of several attacks.

Three hundred members of the security forces about were mobilized to secure the sanctuary, two cents less than last year. At the time, a unique device had been set up after the murder July 26, 2016 Father Jacques Hamel, during mass in his church, near Rouen, soon after the attack of 14 July, on the Promenade des Anglais Nice (86 dead and over 400 wounded).

How to limit the risks?

This year, 300 police and gendarmes and thirty soldiers of the Sentinel mission patrol in the city, according to the prefecture of the Hautes-Pyrénées. Thirty of them will be deployed in the 52 hectare sanctuary while the air and border police fly over the holy place.

In order to easily control the flow of pilgrims, entry doors to the sanctuary were reduced to twelve usually only three, and security gates were installed. Traffic will be prohibited much of the day near the shrine and erected roadblocks to prevent attacks the ram car.

“There remains a high level of threat and broadcasts throughout the national territory. Although Lourdes is not particularly focused, we take into account, “said the prefect Béatrice Lagarde at a press conference presenting Friday safety device.

The biggest French Catholic pilgrimage

Since its creation in 1873, the largest Catholic pilgrimage famous French the ascent to heaven of Mary, the mother of Christ, according to the Catholic dogma. The Marian shrine is one of the first places of Catholic pilgrimage in the world. It annually hosts about 4 million visitors.

The Assumption Mass to be held at 10 am, followed at 3pm prayer for France and the world, in the Grotto of Massabielle, where, in 1858, the Virgin appeared to a young shepherdess, Bernadette Soubirous, according Catholic teaching. The Eucharistic procession will start at 5pm before the evening procession from 8.30pm.

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