On November 17, 1859, at Marseilles, Fr Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, established the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament – an association of the faithful affiliated with the Congregation and recognized by the Church (Project of Life, 1). Through it, he invited all the faithful and his religious “to live the mystery of the Eucharist fully and to make known its meaning, so that Christ’s reign may come to the glory of God and be revealed to the world.” (Project of Life, 2)
Marking the 160th foundation anniversary of the Aggregation in this year 2019, the Province of Vietnamese Martyrs has celebrated days of recollection-conference and living the Eucharist for all aggregates from Thursday 14 November 2019 to Sunday 17 November 2019 at the Provincialate in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The celebration had two parts: Recollection-Conference and Eucharistic Living Day.
Part I - Recollection-Conference
This two-day part was for 160 aggregates who were representatives of all local aggregations across the country. At this time, they gathered to live together, to share fraternal meals, to dialogue and most especially to study Eymardian eucharistic spirituality, liturgy, Bible reflection conducted by SSS priests. Besides that, group sharing gave them the chance to present advantages and disadvantages in their local aggregations and in so doing, seek guidance and help from SSS directors. Through on-going formation, they were able to deepen their eucharistic spirituality and charism and to help others in their local group to live properly in the ways that Fr Eymard had proposed.
During these days, a pilgrimage to Duc Me Bai Dau, a famous Marian site in Vung Tau, was organized for all participants as an opportunity for them to express gratitude to Mary who always intercedes for all the human family and for all members of the Aggregation. Making this pilgrimage was also the way all children of Eymard imitated his example of loving Mary and entrusting all things through her hands.
Part 2 - A Eucharistic Living Day
This day was for all members of the Aggregation in Vietnam. It probably was the biggest gathering ever for the Eucharistic living day, with more than 900 participants. Most of them were aggregates, the rest were SSS religious and invited guests. In line with the theme of this year, all members of the Eymardian family were able to “live together” according to the spirit of the Project of Life number 2. On this day, all aggregates had a wonderful chance to do all things together: Eucharistic celebration, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, meetings, sharing meals. It was hard to verbally express what it means to “live fully the Eucharist” but through the Eucharistic Living Day, all could understand that living the Eucharist brought a lot of spiritual benefit such as sharing the ideals of Fr Eymard, living positively in times of difficulties and challenges, showing love, promoting unity and being at service to others. Indeed, to “live fully the Mystery of the Eucharist” is to live completely and fully all dimensions of the Eucharist.
The solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Bishop Peter Tran Dinh Tu. Concelebrating with him were Fr Provincial, his council, and other SSS priests. It was the spirit of unity, which was kindled through talks, conferences, and adoration, that made the aggregates to celebrate the Eucharist more significantly and effectively. All felt the fellowship within the Eymardian family and the fraternity among the children of one heavenly Father.
As the Eucharistic Living Day came to the end, all participants left, expecting to have more Eucharistic living days so that they can live the spirit of a family.
Hoping that after this gathering, all aggregates are more motivated in their lives and obtain more spiritual benefits as well as better comprehend the SSS charism and spirituality, driving themselves to carry out their mission as aggregates: “proclaim the Eucharist, so that the Reign of Christ may come, and God’s glory be revealed to the world”.
Fr Martin Augustin Bui Van Hoang Phuc, sss