Pope's pilgrimage leaves church in debt

The pope’s visit to the shrine at Lourdes last weekend has left the local Roman Catholic Church deep in debt

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.

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