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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The NCBC is Honored by a Visit from the Bishop of Lourdes, France

The NCBC was honored yesterday by a surprise visit from his Excellency Nicolas Brouwet, Bishop of Lourdes France!

The Bishop was visiting Philadelphia as part of his tour of several U.S. historic sites dedicated to Lourdes or Our Lady of Lourdes.

Why Philadelphia, why the NCBC, you ask?

The National Catholic Bioethics Center  has its office in a beautiful building in the historic neighborhood of Overbrook Farms in Philadelphia:

The NCBC Offices at the Katharine Drexel House

The Overbrook neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and, fascinatingly, was the first 'planned community' built along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. A keystone of the project plan was the idea that the neighborhood be built around central institutions important to the community, namely, churches. As a result, the now historic Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was built in Philadelphia, just a stones-throw from where the NCBC offices would come to be.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Philadelphia, PA
Photo Courtesy of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish

The Bishop of Lourdes visited Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and was received on Monday by parishioners at a reception hosted by the Order of Malta, an Order of which NCBC President, Dr. John Haas and NCBC Director of Public Policy, Dr. Marie Hilliard are members. After the reception Dr. Haas invited Bishop Brouwet to stop briefly at the Center. His Excellency was happy to oblige and no sooner had he agreed than he was driven up to the NCBC to meet with us.

The Bishop's visit to the NCBC was as felicitous as it was exciting, for it served as a fitting reminder that the NCBC and its mission (a mission tied, ultimately, to healing and care) has long been consecrated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The NCBC staff gathered with the Bishop for a photo, and then prayed the NCBC's consecration prayer together.

Gathering for prayer

The NCBC Consecration Prayer

The NCBC Staff with The Most Reverend Nicolas Brouwet, Bishop of Lourdes
The Bishop was a kind and soft-spoken man. He asked about our building (which suffered water damage last month) and hoped our recovery would go smoothly. He was well aware of the disasters water can cause, as the Shrine of our Lady and the whole diocese of Lourdes have been working hard to recover from the European floods of last year.

The NCBC was grateful to receive such a guest!

Please pray for the NCBC and for Bishop Brouwet's travels this month!

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