An extremely dramatic event that took place during every mission was the penitential procession that focussed directly and tangibly on the effects of Christ the Saviour’s Cross as taking away the burden of sin. In the Diary of the Marignane Mission, Eugene shows how any missionary innovation needed reflection and discernment on the part of the missionaries, and the importance of preparing the people to understand and be receptive:
Vespers began at two o’clock. After vespers, sermon on delaying one’s conversion.
After the sermon, the Superior went up into the pulpit to give the avis on the penitential procession that was going to take place. These avis, which were given likewise in the other missions we have given, were all the more necessary today when we had to prepare the faithful for an unusual sight that was going to unfold before their eyes.
It is only after the deepest thought, putting it before God and weighing the advantages and drawbacks of the event about to take place, that it was decided on, and the ensuing happy outcome was proof that the inspiration of trying it came from God, as was believed beforehand.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 24 November 1816, O.W. XVI