The Archbishop of Aix was in temporary poor health and needed someone to accompany him on his pastoral visits throughout the Archdiocese of Aix, and to preach on his behalf. Eugene appointed Oblate Father Mille to this important mission.

I would now like to give you some instructions. First of all, you must remember that you have been called to be the instrument of the chief Pastor during his pastoral visit. Consequently, you must be imbued with the importance of this ministry’s greatness.

Bearing in mind that Eugene had been a bishop for 5 years, and had just been appointed to have the responsibility of the Diocese of Marseilles, the advice that he gives to Fr Mille reflects his own pastoral approach. The list is a mirror of Eugene’s own episcopal ministry:

I don’t have to tell you that you must stress the sublimity of the grace and all the blessings the Lord dispenses during the presence of a Bishop visiting his flock
to instruct them,
correct them,
console them
and impart the Holy Spirit to those who have not yet received him,
to arouse repentance in the hearts of those who have lost it;
to recall to the knowledge and practice of God’s holy law and the Church’s precepts;
to inflame the charity of this good Mother Church even for those who are dead, since the Bishop comes to pray for their souls in every place of his jurisdiction.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 21 April 1837, EO IX n 614

We will recognize all this put into practice by Eugene himself during the next two decades as Bishop of Marseilles.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I begin with giving thanks. I think of the gift we were given yesterday and turn back to briefly look at yesterday’s offering. Points 3 and 4 seem to leap off of the page as I see them with new eyes.

    Returning to this morning’s offerings there is a definite connection – the steps of this journey that we all undertake together are not separate and on their own; each new day is simply the next step we take. Our guide is the Holy Spirit using Eugene, Frank and each of us to illuminate the ground we walk on. We each share and shed our light upon the other. The word family comes to mind.

    Eugene shares with Fr. Mille his own way of shepherding his flock, of serving those the Lord has given him to serve and I realise that all of us are invited by the mere fact of our baptisms to share the blessings and graces that God bestows upon us.

    A new light is shed upon us, and upon how we as God’s people live love, serving God, the Church and most importantly each other; it is a part of the role that is given to each of us no matter our state. We teach by sharing what we have been given, console and share the Holy Spirit who lives within us…

    This has been an integral part of my shared journey, learning how to follow Jesus, in the Church with Eugene who is our model, and yes Frank and so many of you. And not just the ordained Oblates but indeed all the members of the family for each has so many wonderful ways of following and sharing themselves. Nor is it exclusive to just our family but lived with all we meet, especially those we meet who are in any way poor. Communities within communities – each touching and so a shared part of the other.

    It is as if another light has been turned on. This is the secret of ‘presence’. I stop for a moment to run into the arms of my beloved to share with Him the gifts I receive from all those who invite me to join their journey.

    At this moment I am right where I am supposed to be.

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