APPEALING TO POPULAR DEVOTION

Let us never forget that the Missionary Oblates were founded primarily to preach missions to those who were considered the most abandoned by the ministry of the local church. We were founded to be on the move, searching for ways to evangelize those who were the furthest from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We have seen how the missionaries responded to the culture and popular piety of the people of Provence. [ see: “Parish missions: ceremonies to reinforce the preached message and to appeal to the senses” in http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=489 and the entries which follow until http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=543 in which these ceremonies are explained] People responded warmly to symbolic gestures, processions and religious objects. Here, 21 years after our foundation, Eugene reminds the missionaries of the basic practices always to be followed, while thanking God for the rich spiritual harvests of the work of his religious family members.

Our practice is to impart Benediction every morning and evening after the service, to solemnly expose the Blessed Sacrament during the ceremony of the renewing the baptismal vows, and in the morning of the day fixed for the blessing of the children, during the recitation of the breviary before the procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
Several processions take place during the mission
1. The day of the Missionaries arrival.
2. The day of atonement.
3. The day fixed for the consecration of the girls to the Blessed Virgin.
4. The day set aside to commemorate the dead, at the cemetery.
5. The day solemnizing the Blessed Sacrament, with the Blessed Sacrament.
6. The day of the planting of the cross.
The letters I receive from our various missions – we are preaching five at the same time in different dioceses – are most consoling. Marvels are taking place everywhere.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 20 January 1837. EO IX n 602

If you are interested in learning more about the missions, I recommend Chapter III of “Living in the Spirit’s Fire” https://www.omiworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Living-in-the-Spirits-Fire.pdf

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One Response to APPEALING TO POPULAR DEVOTION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of the number of persons I know who have had an experience of God, of God’s infinite and tender mercy [love]. Like me they may not have known what they were seeking or waiting for until they heard God say their name.

    I am reminded of Jesus in the garden with Mary – she did not recognize him until he said her name. And Eugene himself who shared that he had ‘looked for happiness outside of God’ and then of his ‘Good Friday’ experience of Jesus, our crucified Saviour.

    I look at that lovely little list of what needed to be done in order to catechize 200 years ago and what that looks like today. How each of us are ‘sent’ and ways we share with others are own experience of God; and the small (or big) rituals and practices we have to keep alive within us in our own daily lives.

    In learning about the Oblates and members of the Mazenodian Family I see those same steps and practices around the world and how they are shared among ourselves and those we are ‘sent’ to be with. Fr. Lacombe’s “l’èchelle” in early Canada and today with the tools and practices using the internet and social media; this morning’s free sharing of Hubenig’s “Living in the Spirits Fire”.

    This very place where we are invited to take part in reflecting on our Founder’s way of life and the living out of the Charism given to Eugene and then shared with us. Here on a daily basis being able to share with each other Eugene’s journey and how that becomes and is lived out as our own as we enter in to the ever deepening heart of Jesus within us.

    This is how we appeal to popular devotion in our own cultures and milieus according to our call from God. In this way we can help ‘lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, help them to become saints’.

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