All in Marist Schools Australia Melbourne
At the back of the church in Marhles dedicated to St. Marcellin Champagnat stands 78 year old Br. Louis, a product of La Valla who grew up in the footsteps of Champagnat. He stands next to a granite statue of his hero, his mentor, his friend.
We travelled to Lyon for Easter Sunday mass. The bus trip was certainly eventful and provided occasion for us to recite “The Memorare” whilst the bus was in the midst of a three point turn beside the river. Fortunately we survived the turn with John McMahon and Michael Herry intervening to give the driver expert dircections.
The following reflection was used as an introduction to one of our Paris prayer sessions:
So well did Roman Gaul take to Christianity, that France has been referred to in recent years by one of the Popes , as “First Daughter of the Church”.
On Monday, some of us discovered the church in Montmatre where the first Jesuits, on fire with a love of Jesus and a passion for living the Gospel with greater integrity, gathered and talked and nourished their faith with each other. And this was in the 16th century, at the height of the Protestant reform, which as Catholics, they realized had not arisen out of nowhere. Something had gone very wrong in the Church they loved.
It was with mixed emotions that we boarded the TGV (train) to travel at 300 kilometres per hour on our journey to Lyon two hours south of Paris. Whilst we were a little sad to be leaving Paris there was a sense of quiet anticipation about moving closer to the origins of Marcellin’s story and the associated quietness of the country. There was also an emerging sense of wanting to get on with the business for which we came.
Day 2 had been set aside to enable the pilgrims to visit some of the places in Paris that Marcellin would have visited. In particular, we wanted to become more aware of the history of France during the time of Marcellin and of the people and organizations that would have impacted upon his thoughts and reflections.
We arrived in Paris after the longest session flying imaginable and hit the ground running! At the airport we were greeted warmly by our French guide, Christine. On the trip from the airport she pointed out some features of life in Paris.
Our arrival in Paris was one eagerly awaited for after the many hours spent travelling throughout the previous night and day. At last, we were here. The city of buzz. The city of fashion. The city of history. Here we stood as travellers, a small group of 24 pilgrims compared to the estimated 44 million tourists that would visit the city this year.
We knew that we were pilgrims but at this stage we really wanted to be tourists – and our wish was granted!