Lourdes, the French pilgrimage site for the sick, reopened four weeks ago but the pilgrims are still very few.
The situation is dramatic. A coronavirus lockdown for over two months created a deficit of estimated €8 million.
In normal times, the sanctuary employs 320 people and recruits almost 100,000 volunteers each year to welcome three million pilgrims, including more than 50,000 sick and disabled people. Lourdes has 137 hotels. In France, only Paris has more. Now, almost all of them are closed.
On July 16, the sanctuary organises a virtual pilgrimage with 15 hours direct livestream, also to ask for donations.
Picture: © Christine und Hagen Graf, CC BY, #newsCgheezbouf