In many earlier entries we have seen the vocal opposition expressed by many of the priests of Aix to Eugene’s ministry and to that of the Oblates during their early years of existence. This letter shows how positively the relationship had developed. The ministry of the Oblates had borne fruit in the city, and caused the opinion of the pastors to change. In a gesture of confidence, they now approached Eugene to invite the Oblates to preach the Jubilee year sermons in all the churches of the city. It is with joy that Eugene responded:
I could not be more moved than I am by the letter by which you honored me. If it is true, as you say, that we have already had the happiness of doing some good among your flock, we heartily thank the Lord for he could not give us a grace to which we would attach more value than to contribute to the sanctification of the city that was the cradle of our Society and to which we are linked by so many bonds.
He assures them of the full cooperation of the Oblates in this venture.
Not only are all our missionaries at your command for this memorable time of the Jubilee, but there is none among them who is not disposed to prove to you, by all the services that our holy ministry includes, the desire our Society has to be in tune with you and to cooperate on every occasion for the good work which your zeal constantly inspires you to undertake for the salvation of your flocks…
All I can tell you at the present is that you can count on ten Missionaries who will be able to serve your five parishes during the entire month that the jubilee lasts.
Letter to the Pastors of Aix, 20 October 1825, EO XIII n. 47
Today this spirit of cooperation continues to be expressed in our Constitutions and Rules: “We coordinate our missionary activity with the overall pastoral plan of the local Churches where we work, and we collaborate in a spirit of brotherhood with others who work for the Gospel.” Constitution 6
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie