carnet de route
National Day Against Homophobia  
The baptism of Vladimir  
Encourage the priests…  
25 years of episcopate  
National Day Against Homophobia  
Gaypride I was invited by officials of the organization to the Montparnasse station in Paris to visit their stands and find out more about the rights of homosexuals throughout the world. Many people were passing by. Some stopped and asked for more information. SOS Homophobia gave me their annual report: a book filled with personal accounts. The chapter on religions was tough: “All united against equality of rights.“
It was followed by an article on: “The homophobic combat of Religious Institutions “!
Posters showed that homosexuality is still regarded as a tragedy in family as well as socially or professionally.
In more than 80 countries, it is punished by prison, physical penalty or death. Nine countries give a death penalty to homosexuals. In Saudi Arabia, two gays were condemned to be beheaded. In Iran, two homosexuals of 16 and 18 years old were hanged.
Going from stand to stand, I learned what was being done to sensitize the schools and also actions being taken toward young homosexuals who are isolated and tempted by suicide.
As I was going to leave, I was asked to write on a large sign. People passing by stopped to read what I had written.

“If I refuse the other with his difference, I remain a stranger to a part of myself.”
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The baptism of Vladimir  
baptême Vladimir was baptized in Tours, city of Saint Martin. He will be 4 years old. Family members and a few friends have gathered for the occasion. They do not usually go to Church, but for everyone the baptism of Vladimir was an event.
The mother spoke first to explain the reasons for this gathering: ask God’s protection for her son. By this baptism, to confide Vladimir to God’s love.
The father became emotional when he read a prayer of his composition.
Vladimir was standing. He did not move. He listened with respect.
His godfather and godmother approached him and knelt before him to be at his level. They made the sign of the cross on his forehead and then kissed him.
The celebration continued on with joy and gave meaning to this reunion. What will this child be?
We walked back to the house. It was time for gossip. In the small garden, on the table decorated with flowers, food and drinks were an invitation to celebrate. I took pleasure in getting to know each and every one.
But a question came up:
“We do not know how to address him!”
They did not take much time to solve the question: it will be “Jacques”.
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Encourage the priests…  
“Encourage the priests who know so well how to evangelize.” It is the great formula of a woman of Quebec who sent me the letter from a priest, published in a newspaper with a high circulation. This priest had been a missionary during 45 years in different parts of South America. He has lived under the Pinochet’s rule in Chili. He, who has always chosen to be with the poor all his life, was wounded by the words the Pope pronounced while aboard the plane bringing him to Brazil. Thus, his letter to the Pope.  
A French Jesuit priest, Father Sylvain Urfer, had to leave in short notice Madagascar by order of the Malagasy Government. Without any explanation. He had spent 33 years on the Grande Isle among the poor, fighting injustice. His departure created an enormous stir in Madagascar.
A French Dominican, Claude Geffré, an appreciated and known theologian, had to go to the Faculty of Theology in Congo’s Kinshasa to receive an honorary degree honoris causa.
Two days before the ceremony, the Vatican sent a note to oppose to this award. Father Geffré is more than 80 years old!
The theologian Jon Sobrino, a companion of the Jesuits who were martyrs in Salvador and a follower of Mgr Romero, has served the Church with courage in Latin America. He has just been received some disciplinary actions and reduced to silence.
At once I wrote to these priests and theologians who knew so well how to evangelize. They have suffered from the civil or religious power. Faithful to the Church, their wounds show even more their love of Jesus and of the Gospel for the poor people. They are witnesses of our time.  
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25 years of episcopate  
I spent the first half of my episcopate, full of events, as bishop of Evreux (1982-1995).
à Evreux
The second half, marked by meeting people in exclusion, it was as bishop of Partenia.
In 1995, I was sent to another parish, to other banks and to another life.
I am very grateful to God and to all those who have been in my heart during all these 25 years. What a joy to see men and woman attaining at last their humanity! They have given me so much happiness!
The other night, I was in the subway. As I got off at a station, a man did the same. It was not the station where he planned to get off, but he wanted to approach me and seemed very happy. I come from Cambodia, he told me. It is the first time I have met you. You do not have a diocese as before but you are in the hearts of the people.
évêque des exclus In Partenia, we do not stay between us. We go to others. Without tiring.
In Partenia, we go on with no stop. The important thing is to always continue. To go to those who have stayed on the side of the road, victims of injustice.
In Partenia, we put our confidence in life. I am happy to see men and women experiencing a rebirth for themselves and are capable of doing their best.
I have learned not to look first at the Church as an institution, but always with this insight from the Gospel as did Jesus who gave the people their freedom.
The apostle from Maurice Isle, Jacques Laval, to whom I had dedicated my episcopate 25 years ago, will continue to keep watch!