Message on the Feast of St. Eymard

Jul 31, 2009 |

8_2_eymard_2Dear Brothers,

Greetings and best wishes on the Feast of our Holy Founder.

We are now entering a time of opportunity for Eucharistic evangelisation,in the midst of a triple preparation: preparation for our Provincial Chapter in February 2010; preparation for our General Chapter in May 2011; and preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012, all linked through the Eucharist.

This Eucharistic period was heralded by the theme that emerged from last September’s Amplified General Council in Madrid, which was based on Fr. E;ymard’s words: “ This is the beautiful and amiable mission of every religious of the Blessed Sacrament: disciple and apostle of Eucharistic love; this is his true name, his grace, his life.”
Discipleship and apostleship, community and apostolate – the two aspects of mission. In his recent letter convoking the General Chapter, Fr. General speaks about the challenge to marry these dual elements of community and apostolate, if we are to carry out our Eucharistic mission effectively. This, he said, calls for a lifestyle oriented towards mission. Fr. General goes on to say that it is necessary to improve the quality of our community life if we are to relaunch our Eucharistic mission at the service of the Church. We must be good disciples before we can be good apostles. He tells us that the central theme of our life is the interaction between community and apostolate. The mission is never the expression of one individual, but arises from community – our mission is always a corporate activity – there is always a link between what we are, and what we do. When we are on mission, we are always religious. At the AGC, he told us: “ we exercise our ministry as members of a fraternal community, where the mission of each one finds support in common prayer and fraternal sharing …..the quality of our religious life, our consecration, deepens the quality of our mission.” The quality of our community life determines the effectiveness of our mission. That community life which supports our mission must be one of fraternity, prayer and service.

We will find this theme of Eucharistic mission through community again in one of the principal themes of our Provincial Chapter, restructuration of the provinces of Europe, which is about deepening our Eucharistic mission at the level of community life, through collaboration between communities.

Looking ahead to the Eucharistic Congress, again we find community identified as an essential aspect of Eucharist: “Communion with Christ and with one another”.

This year, as well as honouring Fr. Eymard, we are also honouring another priest who was friends with the Founder, and who was also steeped in the Eucharist – St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. On this, the 150th anniversary of the death of this exemplary patron of parish priests, the Holy Father has proclaimed the Year of the Priest.
Like Fr. Eymard, who said “I would give up everything for priests”, Fr. Vianney had a tremendous respect and love for the priesthood : “ O how great is the priest”, he would say, “ if he realised what he is, he would die”. This love of the priesthood was due above all to the intimate link between priesthood and Eucharist, which he believed to be the source and primary purpose of priesthood. He was convinced that the fervour of a priest’s life depended entirely on the Mass: “ The reason why a priest is lax” he said, “is because he does not pay attention to the Mass”. “ All good works taken together do not equal the Sacrifice of the Mass” he would say, “ since they are human works, while the Holy Mass is the work of God”.

He urged his parishioners to pray, particularly in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament: “ We know that Jesus is there in the tabernacle. Let us open our hearts to Him, let us rejoice in his sacred presence. That is the best prayer”

Under the inspiration of these two great priests, may our community live and our Eucharistic apostolate prepare us to proclaim abroad our Eucharistic Mission through our Provincial Chapter, our General Chapter and the Eucharistic Congress.
Let us be roused to action by the theme of the General Chapter:
“ To rekindle our passion for the Eucharistic mission,
In order to become, in the footsteps of Fr. Eymard,
Disciples and apostles of the Eucharist
For a world that challenges us”

Your brother in Christ Eucharistic,

Rev. Patrick Costello,sss

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