In making preparations for the Aubagne mission, Eugene touches on the heart of the mission, which is the personal God-encounter of each individual in the sacrament of reconciliation. The Pastor of Aubagne had been a former member of the Lazarist religious congregation, and so Eugene is able to tell him that the Missionaries followed the system of Saint Vincent de Paul for confessions. This meant being available for as many hours as necessary and to take all the time needed by every person coming to the sacrament.
I would like to know the exact number of the population of your parish so I can determine the number of Missionaries. Since we follow the confessional method of your holy patriarch, Saint Vincent de Paul, that is, hearing confessions without intermission, we don’t go very fast.
Letter to Father Figon, Pastor of Aubagne, 5 October 1822, EO XIII n. 42
We have seen in previous entries above [cf. 24 February – 7 March 2011] what a privileged place was given in each parish mission to the individual sacramental encounter of each person. It was yet another important way in which the Missionaries expressed their closeness to the people: to treat each one in the confessional as the most important person at that moment and to give that person their full ministerial attention for as long as was needed.
“The regeneration of society is the regeneration of society by individual education.” Jean de la Bruyere