Four sunny days from August 1 to 4, 2019 were proposed to honour and follow Father Eymard's way of life, to awaken and nourish our faith, in the heart of his native land.
Thursday 1st August
Walk in the footsteps of Father Eymard to the shrine of Notre Dame of Laus
At Notre Dame of Laus, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in simplicity to Benoîte Rencurel, a young poor shepherdess, whom she asked to build a chapel in the silence of this place for the conversion of sinners. Father Eymard went to Laus when he was very young; this would become his favourite pilgrim shrine. “It is there where I first came to know and love Mary” (CO 119). “Mary is such a Mother there, so kind and so tender” (CO 260). He went there to rest, to make a retreat, to reflect on his missions and to ask for particular graces. It is at Laus, finally, that Father Eymard deposited the Constitutions of the Congregation he founded.
Following Father Eymard we were 25 pilgrims who gathered at Laus to walk to the Hill of the Angel at Pindreau – the place of the apparition – and to the chapel of the Precious Blood. Mass was celebrated outdoors. The theme of reconciliation was naturally highlighted and a booklet guided our reflection, supported by Father Eymard’s texts, among which was the following:
“All generations will call me blessed [Lk 1:48]. Le Laus, a famous pilgrimage shrine. Everything is inspiring; the countryside: description, it is the preparation, it is the before coming to the promised land. Characteristics of this pilgrimage. The first ones, in the beginning, had a simplicity, poverty, recollection, an atmosphere of penance, to come and live there, to suffer there; a characteristic of particular devotion, the devotion of the shepherdess; surprising conversions occur, spiritual miracles - inner renewal - a characteristic of physical miracles. There is a joyful atmosphere, people come eagerly and stay without getting tired, and they leave only regretfully.” (PG 190,1)
Friday 2nd August
Vigil of prayer – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Father Eymard appreciated the beauty of the earth, seeing God there in all his manifestations. In the evening a vigil of prayer focused on God’s work of creation; it was conducted in a beautiful way, entirely in-depth and attentiveness, punctuated by beneficial moments of silence. The relevance of the topic reminded us that our earth needs to be regarded kindly, with respect and care, while opening us to a sense of wonder and prayer with the words of Father Eymard:
“These magnificent stars that adorn the firmament, ... it is God who made them ... that he is powerful! Who made them for me ... how good he is!” Let us bless him! "I admire these mountains, their majesty, their usefulness, their richness. It was God who made them ... for me, to serve as a step to lift me to heaven. How powerful he is ... how good he is!” Let us bless him! "I see this river passing. It will flow into the ocean. This river tells me that my life from God is a river. My ocean is God in eternity.” Let us bless him! "How beautiful is nature on the beautiful days of spring: this greenery full of hope, these thousand flowers, an image of the beauty of God ... How rich is the earth, admire its fruits, it is the hand of God who made it fruitful, and for me …" Let us bless him! "This admirable concert of birds, God who recreates me in exile has placed them between heaven and earth to remind me of the choir of angels in the heavenly homeland." Let us bless him!
Saturday 3rd August
Adoration for peace and plenary indulgence
A plenary indulgence had been granted by Pope Francis at the request of our Bishop for the 150th anniversary of Father Eymard’s death. The plenary indulgence is a pure gratuitous gift of divine mercy. It is part of a process of an inner, personal faith lived as a pilgrimage. The day provided time for reconciliation, a time of adoration in the chapel, a place of remembrance dedicated to St Peter-Julian Eymard, a time of recollection at his tomb as well as a deepening of the knowledge of his life (projection of a DVD).
Adoration for Peace is offered every first Saturday of the month at Father Eymard's chapel.
Sunday 4th August
Sunday was a day of festivity with a single Mass for our parish, presided by Father José Antonio Rivera Ruiz, the Vicar General, assisted by Father Nino Donda, our parish priest, and concelebrated by numerous SSS religious, whom we wish to thank warmly. These occasions of sharing and communion strengthen our commitment to renew our life in following Jesus.
We concluded this beautiful feast by sharing a meal in a very convivial atmosphere.
Mrs. Brigitte Cassard
Centre of Spirituality and Parish of SPJE