Military chaplains are used to hitting the road and heading where the pain is being felt. But on a recent pilgrimage to Lourdes with wounded soldiers, a group of Catholic chaplains also found a sacred space for healing, reports the Catholic News Service.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes 'is a special place for Catholics and for anyone who has faith. It's a place where you can feel and experience prayer,' said Msgr Frank Pugliese, one of the chaplains on the pilgrimage.
'I think this is truly a field hospital' where people experience inner spiritual healing as they reconnect with God and other people of faith, said the monsignor, who is the former vicar general of the US Archdiocese for the Military Services and a retired military chaplain who served the naval forces for 21 years. He is currently helping two parishes in San Diego.
In Lourdes, 'the healings that happen I think are amazing, not all of them physical,' he said. 'People have a sense of peace, of being loved, of being able to leave behind some of the baggage that they come with. And I think that's sometimes a more powerful healing than if someone throws away crutches,' he said.
Msgr Pugliese was one of more than a dozen Catholic chaplains who brought their unique pastoral expertise to a Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage, where they accompanied about 60 retired and active duty US military facing disabilities, together with family members, caregivers and support staff.
The May 13-19 pilgrimage, organised by the US Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Knights of Columbus, offered an opportunity for prayer, healing and friendship in Lourdes -- where Mary appeared to St Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.
Photo: Auxiliary Bishop Richard Spencer greets US Army Maj Derrick Mitchell after Mass
FULL STORY In Lourdes, military chaplains find a sacred space for healing (CNS)