Lourdes, France is preparing for the feast of the Assumption of Mary on Monday amid fears of another ISIS attack.
The Assumption of Mary is a time to celebrate the Virgin Mary’s bodily assumption to Heaven and is often celebrated with a special Mass and festivals.
Unfortunately for Lourdes, France, the celebrations will be strained and full of security details.
According to the Catholic Herald, Lourdes has increased security measures to offer a safe celebration.
Beatrice Lagarde, the prefect of the Pyrénées region, divulged authorities considered cancelling Mass and the following procession, an event that regularly attracts over 25,000 people.
Rather than cancelling Mass and the procession, authorities decided to close most entrances and force all attendees to pass the gates and have their bags checked.
Over the next two weeks, 250 security police will be at the site of the celebration, some of whom work specifically in the bomb disposal unit.
The Assumption of Mary will be celebrated August 15.
Surrounding roads to the site are expected to be closed to traffic and all garbage bins will be replaced with transparent plastic bags.
Dr Michael Moran, a member of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes and Chief Medical Officer of the Down and Connor diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, lamented the necessity for added security, saying it made him “sad” that the people feared another attack.
“I was in Lourdes at the time of the tragic terrorist attack in Nice, on Bastille day. Whilst at the torchlight procession in the Sanctuary, witnessing such goodness in humanity all around me, the terrible news of what was happening in Nice began to filter through.
“Evil does exist in our world, and we can no longer hope that anywhere will remain immune to the threat of terrorism.”
Dr. Moran continued, encouraging people to rise above the threat of an attack that may not even come.
“The spirit of Lourdes, and true faith, should not be threatened by terrorism however, and although we live in terrible times, goodness will prevail over evil. Until then, we defer to the protection provided by Mme Lagarde and her team, and the authorities in the Sanctuary.”