Eugene continues his description of the public honoring of the Cross in Marseilles, despite the opposition of the civil authorities.
The only ones put out were the mayor and some members of a sect opposed to religion. Letter followed letter on the subject, visits and warnings from the police, threats and dreadful ire.
Luckily, in the interval that has elapsed since the glorious days (of the revolution), we have taken to heart its message of freedom which we as much as everyone else must be entitled to.
In line with that our replies were firm and our determination to exploit our rights steadfast. Although the mayor wrote that if the Bishop would not renounce his project to hold the precession, he would hold him responsible for every eventuality, the procession took place. His threat would perhaps have intimidated other men, as on the vigil and the day preceding the vigil he had let a band of thugs roam the town singing the Marseillaise and end up by breaking windows in the St. John district.
But we placed our trust in the Lord and in our people’s good sense. The Bishop wanted to take part in the procession. Nothing like it has been seen since the mission. Good order, piety and joy overflowing amongst the faithful. The presence of the crowd around the cross went on throughout the day and it was quite a job to move them out from the Calvaire – from the outer boundary I mean. Needless to say, that the church was full too – when we wanted to lock up at nightfall.
There were no incidents, whether in the course of the procession or later, that could have given the least cause for alarm; on the contrary, tears flowed from all eyes as countless throats cried out with full voice: Long live Jesus, long live his cross! etc. Given the situation, it was very moving.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 7 May 1831, EO VIII n 390