Eugene had participated in the first ten days of the mission in Ventabren. He then had to return to Marseille and left it in the hands of the two young priests and the scholastic brother Marius Bernard.
A week later, Father Honorat did not seem to be having the hoped-for success in the mission at Ventabren, and Eugene was worried about its eventual outcome.
As things are at present, it is imperatively necessary that I or Father Suzanne go to your help. It is not enough to assemble a lot of people in the church, one must instruct them, one must move them in a manner that they will be converted.
You are far from the objective if you only have reached half the men and I am worried about the final result.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 27 January 1824, EO VI n. 127
The charge that “it is not enough to assemble a lot of people in the church” still hold true today. The Oblate was meant to teach and convert those present. It is a pertinent question for those of us who are responsible for liturgy in our churches: are we clearly focused on what we want to achieve with the people entrusted to our care?
“The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal.” Article 18 of the working document in preparation for the synod on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”