Like every year a time of preparation precedes this celebration and closes with a shared meal. The preparation consists of three items: a novena to St Peter-Julian Eymard, pilgrim walks and pilgrimages to the Eymardian sites. The novena is animated stage by stage by confrères of the SSS community of La Mure. It is an occasion for the faithful to assimilate Father Eymard’s rich teachings so as to deepen their approach to participating in the eucharistic celebration and also to rekindle the desire to live and bear witness to it daily. The beginning of this novena coincided with the launching of the YouTube network: ‘Centre of Eymard Spirituality’. You can find here the entire celebration of this Novena, the pilgrim walk of 3 August towards Monteynard and the celebration of the Eucharist on this feast.
This preparation, like this celebration, for the first time was conducted during the pilgrim walks and pilgrimages to the Eymardian places. The Eymard Eucharistic Centre, in collaboration with the parish, organised pilgrim walks. Each of them ended with a Eucharistic celebration. These walks, carried out on various routes around La Mure, provided participants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Word of God from the Mass of the day and the related thoughts of Father Eymard. There was opportunity for participants, most of whom were vacationers, to meet and get to know one another.
The liturgical feast of Saint Peter-Julian Eymard, the feast of the parish bearing his name in La Mure, took place on Sunday, 6 August 2023, at the Mass of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Father Fiorenzo Salvi presided at this Mass, which was concelebrated by the following confreres: Gabriele Di Nicolo, Provincial Superior of Italy, Barthélemy Kangu, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mihn Dang, from Vietnam, Norbert Pagnier, Aimé Porret and Jean-Pierre Silvant, from the SSS Community of Colombier, France, the confreres of the SSS Community of La Mure, while Brother Luigi Landrini SSS, from Italy, served as the Sacristan. This celebration also offered the opportunity to thank the Lord for the 25 years of priesthood of our confreres Barthélemy Kangu and Thaddée Mupapa.
In his homily Father Fiorenzo Salvi traced in detail the relation between the two celebrations: the Transfiguration of the Lord and the feast of Saint Peter-Julian Eymard, while highlighting three points drawn from the Word of God of the day: “This is my beloved Son”, “Listen to him!” and “Rise up and do not be afraid!”
“This is my beloved Son.” The Transfiguration assures the path leading to Christ. After his death on the cross, there follow his resurrection and glorification. Jesus' true identity is revealed to the three apostles. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,” the voice of the Father states. Thus, St Peter-Julian Eymard invited people to make this experience of the apostles their own and, starting from the Word of the Heavenly Father, to recognize Jesus Christ as “our sovereign legislator and Lord” and to adore him as our God. (cf. PG 25,4).
“Listen to him!” is the second point. In addition to his identity being revealed, Jesus’ apostles are told to listen to him in faith, to follow him with confidence along his paschal path and to share his destiny. This invitation was echoed by St Peter-Julian Eymard: Jesus alone has the words of eternal life. So, we must listen to him and follow him as our only master and model (cf. RA 16,4). Listening to Jesus means letting him act in us.
“Rise up and do not be afraid!” is the third point. At the Transfiguration, the living, resurrected and glorious Jesus promises to be with the disciples, not in a tent according as Peter wished, but in his gift to the community: the Eucharist. Thus, he fulfils his promise: “And I am with you always until the end of the world.” Likewise, for St Peter-Julian Eymard, the greatest miracle of the glorious Jesus, Saviour, is that of dwelling in God hidden in the tabernacle day and night. There we find the greatest proof of his love (cf. PG 147,2).
Finally, Father Fiorenzo Salvi invited the faithful to follow the Lord in order to share his victory over evil and his eternal life, and to make the Lord’s Transfiguration their own as Father Eymard taught. This entails becoming committed without delay to the work of Transfiguration: “It is to change yourself into Our Lord, to share his virtues, his state, his glory” (cf. PS 625,1).
The celebration ended with a shared fraternal meal in the La Mure parish hall. Ultimately, Jesus Christ, our Lawgiver and Lord, is present among us in the Eucharist. We are invited to share the mystery of the Transfiguration, to change ourselves and to let him act in us in order to share his glory. This special liturgical feast of St Peter-Julian Eymard revealed, as always, new riches of the Eucharistic spirituality of this saint of Isère among the participants.
Father Thaddée Mupapa, sss