September 14, 2008

Pope Benedict Holds Mass at Lourdes

Pope Benedict XVI, holding an open-air mass Sunday in Lourdes, France, said there is love in the world that is stronger than evil.

The 81-year-old pontiff addressed tens of thousands of pilgrims at a Catholic shrine in the Pyrenees Mountains foothills where, in 1858, 14-year-old peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous told priests the Virgin Mary had appeared to her, the BBC reported.

The mass at the shrine, known as Grotto of Massabielle or the Cave of Apparitions, was the second outdoor mass celebrated by Benedict on his French trip. He held services in central Paris Saturday.

The pope planned to spend three days at the shrine, which is revered for its miraculous healing waters. About 6 million believers make the trek to the grotto every year, the BBC said.

In his homily Sunday, Benedict said, "The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us."