The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16th July, is always marked with special celebration in the French town of Lourdes because it was on this date that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the last time during the series of visions to St. Bernadette in 1858. Members of the Carmelite Family
from various countries make a pilgrimage to Lourdes between 14th and 17th July every year, and this summer the feast was rendered even more special because of the ordination of two Discalced Carmelite friars as deacons.
Ordinarily the only sacraments celebrated at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
are those of the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick. Because of Lourdes' special place in the lives of so many people, the Sanctuary receives many requests from people wishing to celebrate baptisms, ordinations and marriages in Lourdes, but these normally have to be declined because of the large number of liturgical celebrations already taking place at the shrine.
This year an exception was made by the new Bishop of Tarbes & Lourdes, Monsignor Nicolas Brouwet, who ordained two Discalced Carmelite friars as deacons, one French and one Swiss, at the request of his former fellow student, Brother Henry, who is Provincial of the Discalced Carmelite Province of Avignon-Aquitaine.
Bishop Brouwet with the candidates
The ordination took place in the Notre Dame Chapel during a celebration of Mass.
A friar taking part in the liturgy, Brother John of Saint-Mary, O.C.D., said: "The liturgical space was rather small but nicely decorated with flowers by the Carmelite nuns of the Child Jesus from Bagnères-de-Bigorre. After
a few minutes, the fervour of the ordinands, added to that of the bishop,
was such that it triggered the fire alarm, the siren sounding for six
or seven minutes! Brother Henry was then able to resume the presentation of the two ordinands to the bishop, Brother Aurélien-Marie (31) and Brother Joseph (53). In his homily, Monsignor Brouwet focused on service. The service of Bernadette did not finish with the last apparition of Mary on 16th July 1858, but opened-up in new ways of serving in Lourdes and then in Nevers [where she became a nun]. The service of the deacon is formed in the school of the woman who was called 'the servant of the Lord', and whom, on the cross, Jesus gave us as our mother."
The friars being presented to the Bishop.
The newly-ordained deacons.
Source: Lourdes Press