Life is an eternal journey


As pilgrims we started our journey by bus towards Le Puy-en-Velay on 8th Saturday morning. We had the Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Puy, along with the pilgrims of Saint James the Compostela. It was presided by Father Pierre Richaud, the superior of the house in cours Gambetta. In the homily he mentioned that Mary’s “yes” to God not only changed her life but the lives of all believers of the generations to come. He comes from the diocese of Puy which had given many vocations to the SMA.

After the mass we were explained of the beauty and spiritual value of the cathedral. After the delicious meal of that particular region of Puy in a restaurant, we visited the Cloistered Monastery of Puy. We were astonished and taken by surprise by the cathedral’s treasures: gold and embroidery. Then we climbed over the hill to see the statue of our Lady of France inaugurated in 1860. The statue made of Canons reminds all the visitors the words of prophet Isaiah, Joel and Miccha that “the swords will be made into plough shares”(Is.2:4; Joel.3:17; Micha4:18).  

 Click here for the photo album

On 9th July Sunday morning Father Paul Quillet took John, Lourdusamy and Malachi to Taizé by car. The rest of the participants joined the community mass presided over by Father Pierre Richaud. In his Sunday homily he told us that Jesus’ mission was not appreciated and accepted by the Pharisees. Even John Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus whether it was he who was the expected one. Jesus did not get stuck of the blocks or incidents that came across his mission instead he moved forward. He also told us that Jesus gives strength and grace to all of us who are heavily burdened when we are in difficulty.

Father Paul Quillet led the morning prayer of 10th July, using the prayer of Taizé “Lord, open our eyes and our hearts”; Lord you have given us this world to love and to change. When he prayed Lord help me to follow you till the end, one could see the creativity, faithfulness and liveliness of Father Paul to the mission. Doctor Arnaud explained us on physical fitness. While explaining us of harmony of body and mind he told us that the brain could be developed. Doctor Catherine Sourty the dietician spoke on eating qualitative food rather than junk food. While being conscious of the consumption of food there is the necessity of physical exercises at least 30 minutes of walk.

On 10th July Fr. Donatien Djohossou joined us for the sessions. He is the first SMA priest from Benin. He worked in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia. For the past 8 years he works for French speaking African Americans in Washington.

In the afternoon Father Tom conducted the session on personal growth and development. The first two years of the growth and development as a child is important in every human beings life. Whatever is learnt in this period is continued during the whole life of the person. At this age the script is written for the whole life of the person. While talking of emotional balance and maturity he spoke of transactional analysis developed by Eric Bern. The session helped us to know and examine, the image of God that each one has and the way one relates to God. He also spoke of the need of positive strokes and affirmation. He concluded the session by saying that we are human beings than human doers.

After the supper he spoke on EFT giving us some practical skills to Release Stress and to energize one’s Life. He spoke of chakras and Thitchi which also could be tools for us to relax ourselves and free from stress.

It was Father Pascal Janin who led us to receive God’s blessings through the morning prayer of Tuesday morning. While making us to meditate on the personalities of Polycarp and Ireneus he put us into contact with Lyon which has got Christian roots.

 Father Tom made us to reflect on sexual maturity through the morning session. Self knowledge of one’s own sexuality calls for awareness of inner feelings and tendencies. Each and every healthy person especially a celibate is capable of solitude and the ability to be alone. Sexual energy is the gift of God that is to be channeled toward nongenital forms of love and creativity. We celibates are making difference in the lives of others. We are giving life. Tom’s session made us to go into the depth of our being to know the emotional intimacy and emotional balance that we have.

The article on “Is the priest at home? The personal maturity and mental health of the priest”, and Insights for Living Authentically in “Middle Time” were for reading and discussions in groups.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Francis Kalan on the feast of St. Bernard the patron of Europe. In the beginning all were invited to pray for Europe which is built on sacrifices and values so that Europe goes back to the roots of Christianity. In his homily he spoke that there is similarity as well as difference between the call and the question of Saint Peter the Apostle to Jesus asking, “Lord we have left everything and what we will gain in return?” Bresillac who responded to the call gave everything even his life for the Church and Jesus.

12th July Wednesday prayer led by Father Frank Wright made us to praise God for everything. We prayed the Psalm 23 that the Lord is my Shepherd. After this prayer he took us a way back to the ministry of SMAs to the African Americans from the time of Father Ignatius Lissner of the then province of Strasbourg. He told us that Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther’s father was the pastor is close to Our Lady of Lourdes’ church in Atlanta and Martin Luther’s house is not far away from that. He concluded that the work of justice continues by the sons of Bresillac.

In the beginning of the session we were asked the questions like does our work flow from prayer? What is our goal? How we live out our commitment? And what is SMA spirituality? Am I hooked into things that won’t give life?

There is a butterfly lives in each and every one of us. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls it butterfly. Then he spoke of 12 steps of spirituality, journaling and forms of prayer that we are attracted with and getting energy for our apostolate.

In small groups we discussed God’s purpose for this world and my own participation in realizing God’s plan. It was a beautiful occasion to look into our prayer life. When each group finished sharing in the general session, Antonio spoke of the books of Bruno Semplicio. During the meal, the community in Lyon and the participants and organizers congratulated Francis kalan who celebrated his 54th birthday.

Visit to Chaponost: When we reached Chaponost, Father François Feneon, Father François Mulin Father Emile and the sisters received us along with the lay missionaries. It was wonderful to see how the lay missionaries, religious and priests work together for the mission and in the mission.  Father François Feneon explained us how well the house is used to welcome missionaries and for mission animation. Every year 12000 to 13000 come over there for different sessions and seminars. It was wonderful to see how the scouts are enriched by the SMA house in Chaponost. Cardinal Barbarin visited this house on 9th July 2017. This house is run by the lay people, religious and our own SMA priests. We had barbecue as our supper. We came back with the beautiful souvenir of welcome and hospitality of the house of Chaponost.

Francis Kalan SMA