Applications now being accepted for all-expenses paid pilgrimage to Lourdes for U.S. military personnel

The Knights of Columbus is now accepting applications for the May 2015 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for U.S. Military Personnel. The pilgrimage is open to servicemen and servicewomen currently on active duty or honorably discharged since Sept. 11, 2001, including wounded and disabled warriors.
The Knights of Columbus will cover all expenses for approved military personnel. Expenses for approved designated caregivers will also be covered by the K of C, while companions are also invited to participate, with financial aid considered on a case-by-case basis. Volunteers are also needed and welcome to apply. Pilgrims will depart from the U.S. on May 12, and from Germany on May 13.
“The Knights of Columbus is pleased to be able to work with the Archdiocese for Military Services to provide such a meaningful and profound spiritual experience to the men and women who have served our country so well,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “We look forward to being with these brave men and women on this pilgrimage, which marks the latest chapter in our nearly century-long history of care and support for our troops and veterans.” The pilgrimage, co-sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Knights, is the latest event in the long history of both organizations’ service to the military and involvement with Lourdes. The pilgrimage is a part of the U.S. participation in the 57th Annual International Military Pilgrimage, which will bring tens of thousands of troops, veterans and other pilgrims from around the world to the famous Marian shrine, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.
“The formal events of prayer, liturgy, and military tradition are coupled with informal exchanges in the sanctuary and throughout the quaint city of Lourdes, which allow all military pilgrims an opportunity to share culture, exchange military insignia and keepsakes, and deepen the unity in faith which surpasses national boundaries,” said Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D. “In a particular way, wounded and disabled warriors are encouraged to come to Lourdes — a place where healing is common.” Each approved package includes lodging, meals, credentials and round-trip airfare. Companions may be offered needs-based financial assistance on an individual basis. U.S.-based and European-based medical and non-medical volunteers are also encouraged to apply, though travel and lodging will not be covered.
Applications and (if applicable) payments in full are due no later than Jan. 31, 2015. Applications will be reviewed by the pilgrimage leadership team and medical director, who may contact applicants with additional questions. For more information and to download brochures, visit the 2015 Warriors to Lourdes website at http://www.warriorstolourdes.com.
The Knights of Columbus, animated by its core principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, has a long history of serving the military. It provided hospitality centers for members of the military throughout the United States and Europe during the First World War. After that, it helped sponsor war relief activities and education programs for veterans. Currently, the Knights conducts sponsorship programs for military chaplains while also providing Catholic spiritual resources for military members and a steady stream of volunteers to the more than 135 VA medical centers. In addition, the Knights has recently partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation by providing funding to help complete the construction of computer-equipped custom “smart homes” for severely wounded heroes.
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGivney, a parish priest in New Haven, Conn. The Knights has grown to one of the country’s largest charitable organizations, with more than 1.8 million members worldwide. Last year, the Knights donated more than $170 million and more than 70.5 million hours of service to charitable causes.

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