It was customary in Marseilles to have a public procession in honor of the Sacred Heart. This year the local government had prohibited all public religious processions

I stood in need of your consolation in my distress over the arbitrary prohibition on processions after everything was set to pay honour to Our Lord in a fitting manner. When you read La Gazette you will see our notice; it will give you some idea of our anger. They simply forgot to underline the quotation from the Prefect’s letter and left out the last paragraph announcing what the Bishop would provide to make up for the forcible suppression of Friday’s procession, the Feast of the Sacred Heart. That day he will say a low Mass at the Cathedral and all the faithful are invited to come and to go to Communion.

To Henri Tempier, 25 June 1832, EO VIII n 426

Despite the government’s hostility, the religious fervor of the people of Marseilles could not be extinguished. Eugene gives a description:

You know how things went here but you could never get any idea from the papers of the beauty, emotion and divine quality of our celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart that took place on the day you celebrated the Feast of St. Peter at Rome. The Bishop was distributing communion for two and a quarter hours. Everyone in the Cathedral, and it was packed, went up for communion. It was a magnificent evening. Ah well, we did our best to make it up to Our Saviour for the insult offered him.

To Henri Tempier, 9 July 1832, EO VIII n 427

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Sometimes the challenges that appear to be insurmountable can be overcome in ways that require a little ingenuity and no small amounts of inspiration and grace.

    I think of hearing the words from the Preface – “how indeed did our Lord Jesus Christ proceed…” – what did Jesus do? Eugene never fails to inspire me – perhaps because he never gave up – he might have been tempted and he might wondered at times where he was being led but he never gave up even though it might take awhile before the way would open up before him. I think for a moment of St. Paul – he and Eugene were so alike in some ways.

    I come here each morning and am reminded that I need to first stop and wait – to listen and then to accept the courage and grace to step – one step at time, even though the way before me is not really lit or clear. The people of Marseilles needed to stop doing what they were used to doing in order to be able to find a new way, a different way.

    Just as no one could extinguish the religious fervor of the people of Marseilles no one can quench the fire of God’s love within me. I can choose to back away from the challenges that arise, but the Spirit will always be there with me should I choose to accept the challenge.

    Here are the basics for me – the foundation that I move out from and that I return to so as to be fed.

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