EUROPEI trust in YOU!
During the first week of July, the General House in Rome offered hospitality to young men from the Central European Province. They took part in a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter by seminarians, novices and those on a vocational journey, organized for the Year of Faith by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
First to arrive was Fr. Vlastimil KADLEC with five vocational prospects from the Czech Republic. Then the German group arrived after a 1,000 km overnight ride by car, led by novice master, Fr. Norbert WILCZEK who was accompanied by three novices and two other prospects.
first Mass together already had an air of internationality, demonstrating that
faith and the Oblate charism do not know national and cultural boundaries.
Father General, Louis LOUGEN, made time for the young men and got to know them.
On the roof terrace of the General House, he pointed out to them that the life
of the Christian and the religious includes two dimensions: the spiritual and
the human. Being able to touch the cross of St. Eugene will be remembered by
of the official pilgrimage program, there was the opportunity to visit places
where the Founder had stayed during his visits to Rome. The pilgrimage itself
began on the evening of 4 July with a procession of 6,000 participants from
Castel Sant’Angelo to the tomb of St. Peter. All of the participants recited
the Credo in their native language in St. Peter’s Square.
On Friday, 5 July, the group split up to attend catechesis in different language groups. In the afternoon, they were able to visit churches in which are kept the relics of saints whose vocational journeys were presented in the pilgrims’ booklet. The day ended with a festival at the Capitoline Hill. It included music and testimonials.
The first meeting with Pope Francis took place on Saturday. He touched the young people with simple, clear and distinct words. One of his most memorable statements was this: “And joy, real joy, is contagious; it’s catching… it makes one go forward. Instead, when you find a seminarian who is too serious, too gloomy, or a novice like that, you think: something’s wrong here! The joy of the Lord is missing, the joy that leads to service, the joy of the encounter with Jesus, which leads you to the encounter with others so as to announce Jesus. This is missing! There is no holiness in sadness, there is not! Saint Teresa – there are so many Spaniards here and they know her well – she said: “A saint who is sorrowful is a sorry saint!” That’s it… When you find a seminarian, a priest, a sister, a novice, with a long face, gloomy, when it seems that they have thrown a wet blanket on their life, one of those heavy blankets…that pulls you down…something is not right! Please, never sisters or priests with the face of ‘pepper in vinegar,’ never!”
In the evening, there was a Marian procession through the Vatican gardens. Perhaps the best prayer that night was the grateful amazement at the endless line of young religious and seminarians, as well as at the beauty of the gardens. And in that warm weather, a “gelato,” an ice cream to cool down at the end of the day, was very welcome.
The final item was the Sunday Mass with the Pope in St. Peter's Basilica. During this pilgrimage, we have experienced with particular intensity the joy that Pope Francis asked for in the faces of the young religious. The days were filled with meetings and impressions that encouraged the participants on this pilgrimage to respond to God's call with: “I trust in YOU.” (Fr. Norbert Wilczek, OMI)