Although millions of candles are sold each year in Lourdes for burning at the grotto and being carried in the torchlight procession, it seems that candles, and especially candlesticks, have practically disappeared from the churches. At the chapel of St Gabriel in the main basillica, there was just one candle, or rather an oil burning imitation of a candle, with no candlesticks. At Bartres, and at the chapel of the Sacred Heart, it was exactly the same, although the sacristans did manage to find a second, non-matching, candle. Only at the Ukrainian Church did we find proper candlesticks.
At the Benediction at the end of the procession of the Blessed Sacrament there was not a single candle to be seen!
Another ecclesiastical item in short supply in Lourdes is the thurible. At Bartres an exceedingly diminutive and unimpressive one was found, and at the Ukranian Church, as one would expect, they had an Orthodox style thurible with bells. Otherwise, they seem to have gone out of fashion in Lourdes.
Oxford Pilgrimage 20th October 2018
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