The culmination of the outreach to the men was the Mass especially for them where they were invited to receive Communion – many for the first or second time in their lives:
The Mass at which the men were to communicate, at eight o’clock. The women were not allowed in. At seven o’clock, the men were already assembled, and proclaimed by their recollection the dispositions with which they were presenting themselves at the Holy Table. At the Mass, there was a major incensing, although it was not a sung mass. The Parish Priest assisted at the altar, dressed in stole. The ceremony began with the “Veni Creator”.
Before giving communion, the Superior who was saying the Mass, spoke for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. Those assisting who filled the entire church had been prepared by the pious reflections and prayers a missionary had made throughout the Mass, and certainly the Lord was greatly glorified on that beautiful day.
It really was an imposing spectacle that assembly of so great a number of men who did not even let themselves so much as turn their heads, keeping their recollection and a silence in which you could have heard a fly, approaching Communion with angelic modesty, very many with tears in their eyes, without confusion or jostling, as if they had been doing all their lives what they were doing perhaps for the first or second time. For when the Spirit of God breathes, he makes men make a lot of progress in a short space of time.
There were to be seen young people dissipate until that time, as they had always been ignorant of the strength of virtue’s charms, dispute in fervour with old men of eighty who were blessing the Lord for having drawn them back from the precipice where they were on the point of being swallowed up. Among other aged people, there was one of eighty who received holy communion unable to hold back his tears. No one in the town recalled ever having seen him approaching the sacraments.
After the Mass, there was sung the “Te Deum”, then benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 15 December 1816, O.W. XVI