Log-book: November 2003

  Charity Fair How to get back on your feet? 
  My friend Léon  A beautiful meeting place
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Charity Fair

Vincent de Paul In a well-known suburb of Strasbourg, organizers and parishioners were making preparations for the Saint Vincent of Paul Day, patron of the parish. On Saturday night, I was celebrating mass and I was ending my sermon with a quotation of Mr. Vincent. ''The poor are our teachers.'' 

They have something to tell us. While speaking, I saw a woman with an expressive face who in an insisting manner was making gestures with her hand. It either meant that she recognized
herself in the words of Mr. Vincent or that she wanted to speak after me. In fact, she wanted both.

visage expressif Once close to the altar, she caught everybody's attention. Her face was disfigured resulting from an operation after cancer to the jaw. She had no tongue. It was difficult to understand her.
But the main points of her message came across: ''I have suffered much and was very afraid. But I put my trust in God and I lost all fear inside of me. That's what I wanted to tell you.
Have faith, put your trust in God and you will fear no more.''

I repeated these words for the assembly and asked to applaud this woman that had just shown us that the poor are effectively our teachers.






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How to get back on your feet?
Didier insisted on coming to see me. He is from the east of France. From the outset, he tells me he is homosexual and he lives with his friend. Both are Catholics, engaged in their parish. The recent document from Rome which he finds retrograde condemns the union between homosexuals. He is appalled and feels rejected.
condamnation It is true that one could expect a different language from the Catholic Church than that of condemnation and intolerance. Particularly after the lamentable sexual affairs discovered within the Church, the secret was held for so long and today is now revealed in the open! This document will solve nothing. It will make the homosexuals feel guilty, it will hurt many of them and will push many of them away from the institution. 
Didier is wondering what attitude to take and how to go on without bitterness. In fact, he found the answer himself. The institution will not break him or get the better of him. He wants to live.

aller plus loin His desire is that love be the winner in his life. I rejoice over the words of Didier. His experience of being rejected will help him to go further, that I am certain of. If he succeeds in getting back on his feet after this event, many will be enlightened and reinforced. 



My friend Léon

You have left us. I am in sorrow. Illegal immigrants and people in inadequate housing will feel like orphans. They have lost their champion defender.

deux amis For the last ten years, we have been fighting companions, going across France together to meet with demonstrators, to support people on hunger strike, to occupy empty buildings and to make speeches. We slept in St. Bernard's Church in Paris among the illegal immigrants and last summer, side by side, we uprooted transgenic corn in the fields of Marne. 

One day as we were being expelled by the police, we first came out from the building followed by a woman pushing her child in a push chair. She did not look well, in fact she looked awful. You had tears in your eyes and you told me: ''Jacques, see in what kind of society we are!''

You could not tolerate injustice. I admired your courage when you made speeches in front of everyone. You were so convinced that you were afraid of no one. You were an atheist Jew, however you often called me ''my favourite bishop''.

Adieu Léon

A specialist of cancer, you fought your last combat against cancer that did not give you any chance. May God be with you, my friend Léon. 




A beautiful meeting place

Abbaye St. Gérold The snowy mountains of Varalberg in Austria were magnificent. The trees of the forest were still green strangely enough in late Autumn. Undoubtedly, they were thinking it was still Spring! 

In this majestic setting, filled with sun, St. Gerold stood out as a welcome place filled with beauty.

The soul of this place was a Benedictine. It was easy for me to understand why so many people came to this place with such a spiritual quality.  espace d'accueil

The mountain people lived in harmony with nature and animals. To them, earth was not an object but a subject to treat with respect and attention. I found them sensitive to modernity, tolerance and quality of life. During the weekend, I took great pleasure in speaking and conversing with them. A certain number of them had suffered and still suffer from the Church. They have been hurt by a lack of understanding and refusals.

chanter l'eau du torrent
I gave them the example of the stream that can be heard close to St. Gerold. The stones are obstacles to the water streaming down the mountain. But it is the stones that make the water sing.
The obstacles coming from the Church that we have to face can become new roads and the ordeals can become a source.