The theme of the 62nd International Military Pilgrimage (PMI) May 10-16 is Pacem Meam do Vobis (“My peace I give unto you”). The cross on this year’s logo was designed in Hungary as the symbol of the 2020 International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest. The cross was exhibited and carried in procession. It represents our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us his peace as well as the Eucharist, source of our peace and our salvation. The dove carrying the olive branch symbolizes the Holy Spirit and represents the gift of peace. Armed Forces Day was observed on May 21 and Memorial Day on May 30.
They gave their all for our country........their limbs, their lives, their all. Many continue to give to our country through the handicaps they must endure for the rest of their lives. Some of the wounds are visible and others are not, such as the mental, emotional, and even spiritual wounds. Perhaps the most common is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or PTSD as a result of the trauma of intense bloody combat. Many a Vietnam veteran sit near the door of a restaurant in case of trouble and instinctively look for cover when a fire cracker goes off. Flashbacks are common. Their families, particularly their spouses and mothers, suffer too. Clearly, these veterans need a lot of healing. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude for our freedom. Meet Adam and let him tell his story at https://players.brightcove.net/802593642001/y6FLiIa0f_default/index.html?videoId=6293785506001. See other testimonies at https://www.warriorstolourdes.com/wtl/en/about/testimonials.html.
It all shows the folly of war usually started by the aggression of one side or the other due to the quest for power and empire building....Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Putin; the list goes on. Each looked for the glory of his country and himself as well as personal power and his legacy. In other cases it is a reaction to preserve the power of the empire and crush the yearning of the people for self determination and freedom.
Wherever there is a need, there is a knight. Every May the American Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) and the Knights of Columbus organize and finance a pilgrimage to Lourdes for active duty military and veterans in need of healing as part of the International Military Pilgrimage (PMI). There is an application process on the website and opportunities to help at www.warriorstolourdes.com.
You dear reader can even go on a virtual pilgrimage and read personal testimonies on that same website. The Military Pilgrimage consists of daily prayer, procession, Mass, and being bathed in the healing waters of Lourdes, and other retreat activities. For a brief video overview go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSjc8NqP9E0 and a previous military pilgrimage Mass go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWAr_poQlCM.
Soldiers from the Army, Navy, and Marines process/march in front of the Basilica at Lourdes.
History. During World War II, members of the French military visited the site of St. Bernadette’s apparitions, offering prayers for peace. In December of 1944, U.S. military personnel joined British, Belgian, French, and Russian military representatives for a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.
After the War, French soldiers and their chaplains invited German soldiers and their chaplains to gather to pray together. The purpose of this initiative was to heal physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds and to reconcile the past between these former adversaries by recognizing their common identity as Christians in search of peace.
Military of 40 countries of the free world including Ukraine participated in the 62nd Annual International Military Pilgrimage (PMI).
The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) was created by St. Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church's full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the U.S. in 134 countries. The AMS is responsible for the spiritual well-being of more than 1.8 million Catholic men, women and children. See milarch.org.
Veterans of the Knights of Columbus and the military of different countries process/march following an event in front of the Basilica at Lourdes.
The Knights of Columbus (kofc.org), the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, was founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGivney, a parish priest in New Haven, CT. It has more than 1.9 million members worldwide, including Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, and Ukraine. The Knights donated more than $185.7 million and more than 76.7 million hours of service to charitable causes in 2018. Animated by its core principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, the Knights of Columbus has a long history of serving the military since World War I as shown in the video “Armed With the Faith: the Knights of Columbus and the Military” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL5QMMx1FoU.
In 2011, the Order established a new scholarship program to help fund the education of seminarians preparing to become Catholic chaplains in the U.S. military. In 2014, the Knights in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation, provided funding to help complete the construction of computer-equipped custom smart homes for severely wounded heroes. The Knights have printed and distributed more than 600,000 durable Catholic prayer books titled Armed with the Faith for members of the US and Canadian armed forces. Today, the Knights of Columbus has more than 1,130 volunteers regularly serving at 130 VA medical centers.
Our knights have served on the front lines of every war fought by the United States since the Order’s founding in 1882. Today, there are 67 active K of C military councils including West Point and eight Fourth Degree military assemblies around the world.
Applications for the 2022 May pilgrimage are now available by clicking on the "Step 1" tab here below. Please carefully read through "Who is eligible?" to find out if you qualify.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
Each category of eligibility is outlined here below. Please note that while expenses are covered for selected warrior pilgrims and their designated caregivers, it is not the case for their companions, pre-9/11 veterans and non military-affiliated volunteers. Exceptions may apply.
WOUNDED, ILL OR INJURED MILITARY PERSONNEL
Includes wounded, ill or injured individuals serving on active duty, honorably discharged, separated or retired from the United States Military (priority given to post-9/11 era). This category includes individuals suffering from PTSD, Moral Injury, and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Since all pilgrims will lodge in hotels, wounded, ill or injured warriors must be able to perform all "activities of daily living" either alone or with the assistance of their designated caregiver. Applicants and their clinical providers should anticipate that professional medical or nursing services, including hospitalization, will be limited during the pilgrimage. EACH wounded, ill, or injured individual must complete and submit the full application to include the wounded, ill, or injured medical annex with physician signature.
NON-WOUNDED, NON-ILL OR NON-INJURED MILITARY PERSONNEL
Includes non-wounded, non-ill or non-injured individuals serving on active duty, honorably discharged, separated or retired from the United States Military (priority to post-9/11 era). EACH non-wounded, non-ill, or non-injured applicant must complete and submit a separate application to include the appropriate medical annex.
Designated Caregivers, as defined by the VA and Military Services, include healthcare providers, spouses, adult relatives, significant others or friends who serve as a *certified designated caregiver for a wounded, ill or injured warrior. Services caregivers provide may include, but are not limited to, assistance with activities of daily living (i.e., personal hygiene, dressing, sitting, standing, feeding, bathing, etc.), ensuring the correct dose and timing of prescribed medications and/or providing supervision to ensure the safety of the warrior. A designated caregiver must be in good health, capable of sitting and/or standing in place for extended periods, capable of walking long distances (up and down stairs, hills and on uneven surfaces) and cannot have physical limitations that will prevent them from properly assisting the pilgrim. Designated caregivers should anticipate that professional medical or nursing services, including hospitalization, will be limited during the pilgrimage.
*A copy of your VA or Military Certification documentation must be included with your application.
Includes non-military spouses, adult relatives, significant others or friends serving as a travel and pilgrimage companion for a military pilgrim. A companion is NOT considered a designated caregiver. EACH companion must complete and submit a separate application to include the appropriate medical annex.
Includes child relatives under the age of 18 serving as a travel and pilgrimage companion for a military pilgrim. EACH child companion must complete or have completed and submit a separate application to include the appropriate medical annex.
Includes any individual (including pre-9/11 era veterans) over the age of 14 who wishes to volunteer to physically support the movement and general care of warrior pilgrims as assigned by the Leadership Team for the Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage. A Volunteer must be in good health, capable of sitting and/or standing in place for extended periods, capable of walking long distances (up and down stairs, hills and on uneven surfaces) and pushing a wheelchair. Volunteers cannot have physical limitations that will prevent them from properly assisting our warrior pilgrims. EACH volunteer must complete and submit a separate application to include appropriate medical annex.
Includes both military (active, retired, discharged) and non-military Chaplains or Deacons who wish to attend and provide spiritual assistance for pilgrims. Non-active duty Chaplains will require a letter of good standing from their diocese or religious governing body.