Since the 10th century, whenever Good Friday falls on March 25, the Church celebrates a Jubilee at Our Lady of Le Puy, also called Our Lady of the Annunciation.
This year, the feast of the Annunciation fell on Good Friday and was transferred to April 4, the first available date after Easter. From April 9 - 10 Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, and fellow pilgrims went on a pilgrimage to the picturesque town of Le Puy-en-Velay in central France. The town, perched in the midst of Massif Central Mountains, contains many notable monuments including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame du Puy (dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation), the statue of Our Lady of France, and the chapel of St. Michael of Aiguilhe.
The town dates from the 4th century when a chapel was erected and blessed by the angels. It became the Episcopal See during the 6th century. The pilgrimage itself came much later, at the turn of the millenium, when wild imaginations flared up about the end of the world. In 992 the feast of the Annunciation coincided with Good Friday and rumor had it that it was a sign of the end times. Pilgrims from far and wide flocked to the church of Le Puy and invoked the protection of the Mother of God who had previously granted many blessings and miracles. This initial movement gave rise to the bishop granting a Great Pardon on all future years when the same occurrence would take place. This year, 2016, is one of these very rare occasions.
It is interesting to note that in 1095 Pope Urban II preached the first Crusade at the Cathedral at Le Puy, as well as at the church of Vezelay. In 1096, within its walls, the Salve Regina resounded for the first time from the lips of Adhémar, the bishop of Le Puy, who was the Pontifical Legate of the first Crusade. The cathedral has also been a rallying point of many petitions of saints. St. Joan of Arc’s parents went there imploring Mary’s assistance for Joan’s mission. Mr. Olier, the founder of the Sulpicians, discovered his vocation here and inspired one of his followers, St. Louis de Montfort, in his total consecration to the Virgin. This year marks the 300th anniversary of St. Louis’s death (1673-1716).
It was here that the Pope requested urgently the recitation of the midday Angelus for the conversion of the Muslims, who at that time were at the gates of Vienna. Why the Angelus? Because it is the appropriate remedy to that pernicious doctrine of a God so unique in His being that He is only one as a Person, and not the Holy Trinity, Whose second Person, the Son, became incarnate in the Virgin’s womb. And God knows that, today, the Muslim peril has long passed the city gates and is threatening the citadel.
May Our Lady of the Annunciation obtain the conversion of the infidels to Her divine Son.