On Thursday 8th September, the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I’d like to invite you to join me, the Dean and Chapter and our Civic Guests for Vespers and a Torchlight Procession. The liturgy, in celebration of the visit of the relics of St. Bernadette, will take place here in the Cathedral at 7 pm. (Please be in your seat by 6.45 pm). Vespers will conclude with a torchlight procession to the new Lourdes Grotto that has been erected in the cathedral grounds. This procession will hopefully imitate that which is held nightly in Lourdes when thousands of pilgrims gather to walk and sing, flaming torch in hand, from the Grotto of Apparitions to the esplanade of the Rosary Basilica. At the head of the procession, a statue of the Virgin is carried by the pilgrims. It is of course the origin of the well-known hymn Immaculate Mary our hearts are on fire, with its rousing chorus Ave, ave, ave Maria!