All those nay-sayers who claim that religion is dead should take a trip to Lourdes in the summer. The place is packed with pilgrims from all over the world. The procession of thousands of pilgrims, many in wheelchairs, actually moved me to tears.In that procession there was a group from Slovakia, several from UK, some delightful Hawaian ladies in pink mumus and flower-trimmed hats, Tamils from Sri Lanka, some Chinese-Americans and of course zillions of Italians (praying louder than anyone else).
The thing that stood out--the number of young people among these groups. Students and school kids who have given up their summer vacation to volunteer--to push wheelchairs, help with the sick and do all kinds of unpleasant jobs, yet they are laughing and obviously having a good time.
It's easy to condemn Lourdes as an outdated place of superstition. Most people don't actually come there hoping for a miracle. Most come hoping for grace. And you only have to look at the faces to know that they are receiving that. You can feel the holiness, the tranquility, the hope and the grace. You can't fail to be moved by it.