A group of wounded warriors and active duty military members are on their way to France for a spiritual journey focused on healing.
The annual Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage is put together by the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
ABC11 spoke to the group at the RDU Airport as they prepared to leave for their weeklong trip.
Major Brian Minietta is a Fort Bragg Chaplain who is making his third pilgrimage.
"The calling of the Chaplain Corps, why we exist, is to nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the fallen," said Minietta. "I get to do all three of those on the pilgrimage."
The goal of the trip is to help people wounded in combat find new ways of healing.
"I expect a lot of time for prayer, meditation and fellowship," said Fort Bragg Sgt. 1st Class Mary Katzenberger. "That's what I am hoping to get out of the trip."
Soldiers from 40 countries are taking part in the military pilgrimage to the city of Lourdes, a holy site for Catholics.
The annual pilgrimage began in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. Participants are selected based on essays they write.
Lourdes is one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the world. It was the location of a series of 19th-century apparitions, during which the Virgin Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous.
During the past 100 years, millions of pilgrims have visited the city.
Click herehttps://www.warriorstolourdes.com/wtl/en/about/index.html to learn more about the pilgrimage.
Wounded warriors make spiritual journey to France as part of healing