Knights, Dames and volunteers from the Los Angeles Location of the Order of Malta recently travelled on their annual week-long pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Each year, the Los Angeles group joins up with other members of the United States Western Association of the Order of Malta forming a group in excess of 300, and journeys to the location where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to St. Bernadette in 1858. The pilgrimage is shared with 50 malades (French for “sick”) from California and other Western states searching for spiritual and even physical healing.

“Over the week-long pilgrimage, there are many experiences of faith as the malades and members of the Order of Malta bond into a faith community,” said Joe Saunders, Los Angeles Location president.  

This year, more than 500 petitions written at the annual World Day of the Sick Mass celebrated in February at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels were entrusted to the Knights and Dames of Malta for delivery to Lourdes. At the World Day of the Sick Mass — held on the Saturday closest to the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes — the Rite of Anointing is given to all those in need of healing.

In addition, members of the Order of Malta provide petition cards to those in attendance, and then carry those petitions with them to Our Lady in the Grotto at Lourdes.

The Order of Malta will again sponsor the archdiocesan World Day of the Sick Mass on Feb. 14, 2015.