FOLKLORE AND WORSHIP

Confirmation in my chapel as on every Monday. Visit of the ox for the Corpus Christi procession. It was intended to bring the animal up to the great hall. The people had invaded the bishop’s residence. I was obliged to do the honors for such a beautiful visit. Everybody showed great interest. They vied with one another to say the most flattering things: Noustre bel evesque nos fas tant de plaisir de lou voire etc. (Ed. Provencal: “Our nice bishop gives us such pleasure to see him)

For many years the Butcher’s Corporation of Marseilles had made an ox part of the Corpus Christi procession. Originally the reason was to recall the animals used in the Temple sacrifices of Israel. In Provence it had become part of folklore with a flower-covered ox, a little boy dressed as John the Baptist riding on its back, and butchers in costumes accompanying it. Because it was important for the people, Eugene initially allowed it to continue, but was later to stop this practice as it its inclusion turned the focus away from honoring the Blessed Sacrament.

He wryly concluded his journal entry:

Five Francs to little Jean-Baptiste, 10 Francs to the noble butchers, dressed in Henry IV costumes, apart from the cloak. A present to the man leading the victim. Thus everything ends up in money.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 11 June 1838, EO XIX

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One Response to FOLKLORE AND WORSHIP

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am reminded of how children create scenarios as they play; whether it be little girls dressing up as princesses as they hold tea parties or little boys dressed as firemen who run around putting out imaginary fires. And how the parents join in and play along with them. As the children grow older these games are no longer played out.

    I am reminded of how Vatican II took place and how some of our practices and ways of worshipping changed, especially for the laity who were gathered in the pews; allowing many of us to take an inclusive and more importantly active part in our liturgies. The focus was altered and our faith rituals allowed ongoing growth and a more mature participation.

    How do I allow my focus to widen and grow, to become more than an imaginary game?

    I think for a moment of how Jesus spoke, how when he healed the lame he told them to pick up their mats and go and live. We don’t continue on as we have been, looking at life passing-by because that is what we have ‘always’ done; we roll up our mats, we let go of our crutches and focus on a new way of living.

    Recently I was asked by someone why I do what I do particularly in relation to taking part as a member of the Mazenodian Family – why I don’t just relax and rest and wait for someone else to do it. Yesterday I kept thinking about why I am the way I am. The thought came to me that God did not call me to sit and wait for anyone to come to me; rather God called me to be a missionary, to go out to the people.

    God calls me to allow myself to be sent out. Today, this Monday another adventure begins…

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