Pastoral Service of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Session opening the Pastoral Year – 01 October 2022

THE WELCOME

Many people from different parts of the world come to the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal. Listening to them, we understand that their expectations are diverse…

Difficult situations, at the time of the pandemic, led us to a reorientation towards what is essential in our mission: Welcome.

During the Session opening the Pastoral Year in 2021, we therefore reflected on this attitude in the light of St Paul’s exhortation in the letter to the Romans (15,7), “Welcome one another just as Christ has welcomed you.” It is necessary to put to verify, personally and communally, where we stand! And we have chosen “Welcome” as the theme of the Session opening the Pastoral Year, held on October 2, 2022.

The day, introduced by Father Alexis, our Chaplain, began with the intervention of Father Gilles DROUIN, Director of the Liturgical Institute at the Catholic Institute of Paris, on the missionary dimension of liturgy and of welcome.

Vatican II has clearly shown that liturgy – often considered as a human act – is first of all God’s action. Its consequence for us is important: it is first of all God who welcomes; our part is not to block him. This turnaround puts us off-centered; it is a question of focusing on Christ, not on ourselves!

In liturgy, it is the bishop and the priest who welcome, who wish Peace in the name of Christ. The person arrives with his/her personal story and the Holy Spirit is already at work in him/her. Expectations can be different. None should be neglected and we can thank God if the person, upon leaving, has gained a little peace. We are not the masters of the encounter between God and the person; it is a question of doing everything possible to make it happen. The Chapel is a place where the Peace of God is present!

It should also be pointed out that the “gatekeeper” is a ministry. Those on duty in the alleyway therefore have a vital mission.

With Father Roberto GOMEZ CM, Vincentian, professor of Sacred Scripture at the Catholic Institute of Paris, we studied some biblical texts from which he led us to deepen the different dimensions of welcome. 

In God, welcome becomes accompaniment. Our mission is to allow people to let what God’s welcome has transformed in them. By welcoming, we can become God’s presence for others. But this requires that we accept to be spiritually unsettled in order to welcome the other in his/her otherness.

After lunch, which was offered in the self-service restaurant of the Vincentian Mother House, Father Alexis CERQUERA, chaplain, animated the afternoon session. He spoke about the mission of the Chapel that is centered on three important aspects to be developed: communication, service of vocations and persons who are poorest. Three fundamental dimensions that we can clearly find in the message of the Miraculous Medal. Finally, he addressed some situations, invited us to reflect on our attitudes and presented the calendar and pastoral proposals for 2022-2023.

The day was opened and also ended with a prayer on welcome.

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