The pope’s visit to the shrine at Lourdes last weekend has left the local Roman Catholic Church deep in debt
Pilgrims at an open-air Mass on Sunday were asked to make a suggested donation of €10. At the end of the day, the coffers came up short, by well over €1m.
“It would be good if we could find €1.2m to cover the costs related to the pope’s visit,” said Monsignor Jacques Perrier, bishop for Lourdes and the nearby town of Tarbes.
For the pope’s two-day visit, more than 300,000 pilgrims travelled to Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees, where an illiterate peasant girl, St Bernadette, said she had visions in a grotto of a white-clad Virgin Mary in 1858.