“Frohe Pfingsten”, Happy Pentecost, is something you say in German today but, as I learned, not in English. It’s the day of one of the famous international masses in Lourdes when everything is said and sung in ‘tongues’ – how appropriate for pentecost!

You have to admire how the church has moved on from doing everything in (universal) latin to using a dozen different languages in the one mass. With songs being sung in different languages, by the same singer and supported by an international choir. – Something, the ‘localisation’ industry (those adapting digital contents for diverse linguistic and cultural ‘markets’) could learn from a lot.

Click here to watch today’s International Mass. And check out how Pádraig was doing each time they show the choir, like on 55:05, on the bottom right corner.

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Here is a short (not-so-good-quality) extract of the live broadcast:

There is ample opportunity here to take pictures of ‘holy’ things you’d never thought existed even in your wildest dreams. Like this water feature:

You could give out non-stop about the commercialisation of what is supposed to be a holy pilgrims’ place. But why would you? The choice is yours. No need to go into the shops if you don’t want to. Personally, I think they are entertaining and awe-inspiring in more than one way. There is stuff on sale there that leaves you speechless, like the mints made with holy water.

Given that everything here is run by volunteers (except the masses: priests are paid employees) it is really amazing how everything is running like clockwork. This morning there were probably more than 10,000 people at this mass in the Underground Basilica – there was no shouting, no pushing, no angry scenes. It should put those people’s arguments to rest who say that if you want to get things done, you need to pay people a fair and decent salary. Not necessarily.

Lourdes attracts good people. But it is a place that has left me confused. There are so many things here that “should not” exist anymore, things that remind me of times gone by, for a long time. And I really do not want, do not want to look back, at what was or could’ve been.

My head is spinning.

There is a story about a woman with disabilities who came here to Lourdes as part of a group with other disabled people. One of the other disabled persons got cured. After this, the woman at the centre of the story did not go to Lourdes anymore for years. Eventually, she returned. When she was asked why she had stopped going to Lourdes after the healing of he other woman she said that she got afraid that she might be healed herself – she did not feel that she was ready anymore for a life without ‘dis=ability’. – Makes you think and wonder.