While we have been focusing on what Eugene was doing in Rome, today’s text reminds us that he still kept involved with the missions of the Oblates in France. The hymn book was published by the Oblates regularly as an effective instrument for their parish missions. cf. and

It consisted of several sections, each creatively put together to help the people to learn and understand their faith in a simple way: 1/ the hymns sung during the missions in Provencal and French – all calculated to reinforce the theme of the sermon and to help people to memorize any catechetical teaching contained. 2/ A summary of the catechism. 3/ The words of the public prayers, and instructions and helps on how to pray in private.

We will have to have our hymn book approved by the Bishop of Marseilles and that of Nimes, and use the former approbation of the Archbishop. You would do well also to have it approved by the Bishop of Frejus. If you decide on that, you must say to him that I have directed you to present for his approbation this book that is already in use throughout his diocese. I think that it will suffice to print 2000 copies. I hope that you have not made changes likely to confuse those who have the former editions. I would have wished them to include the special psalms for the Vespers of martyrs, confessors and the holy Virgin for the convenience of those who only have this book.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 March 1826, EO VII n. 229

The bishops of the dioceses where they preached had to be in accord with what was contained and had to give their approval.


“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”   Charles Mingus

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have sat and pondered on the genius of St. Eugene, found myself saying ‘you smart man’ to him. I pictured them distributing, giving out those books to those people to whom they preached – had anyone before printed books for them in their own language? I imagined the joy of such a gift to those who received it. I remember as a little girl receiving my ‘First Communion’ Prayer book. Full of prayers and pictures, the edges of the pages were gold-like and I would look at the pictures more than the words and run my fingers over those same pages – touching them, as if I could absorb all that was there through my finger tips. And – it was mine – I did not have to share it with anybody. In a house where nothing belonged to one child it was a gift of immense proportions.

    Not only did Eugene and the Oblates speak to the poor in their language, but he provided books to them in their language. A gift of immense proportions. Only a heart that loved so greatly, so truly could unravel the complicated and share with others in as many ways as possible. These Oblates were giving the people the means to carry on and grow in their faith, their love of God, long after the mission was over and until they would return to give another mission. Catching new comers and renewing and going deeper with others.

    I look at what this looks like today, in our parishes, centres of permanent mission as Frank speaks about. Refreshing, renewing, going deeper, walking with, feeding all, particularly those who are marginalized and feeling abandoned, by others and by the church herself. Living out love, making the impossible and complicated simple and a living reality.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Thanks Frank: I hope you and have have been having a blessed Lent.
    This text speaks for the importance of being with the people and knowing what they need. It also speaks of creativity while having to jump through the hoops of each dioceses. Some thing never change.

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