International Catechists’ Pilgrimage to Rome (suite)

03 journées mondiales des catéchistes 2

Risk an experience, an adventure on our territories of the Faith!

Don’t become a ‘statue in a museum’ (Pope Francis)

Journées mondiales M A Servel

” Participating in the Congress of Catechists was an unexpected chance ! The proposition came from the service of Catechesis: the partitions between the 2 services of the Church (Catechesis and Catechumenate) are very porous! They are only two means of entry in the announcement and transmission of the Faith.

It was a moment of grace and an experience of profound joy and attachment to this Church of Jesus Christ; even with its tardiness, its heaviness, its ‘bumps and lumps’ that weigh me down and restrict me sometimes. A Church with its ups and downs as Pope Francis likes to say!

This transversal dimension of the Services of the Church (Catechesis / Catechumenate) reinforces its universal character. We were from 5 continents and 51 countries. Diving each day into the multitude of different languages and cultures, hearing the contributions from different countries … all of this input enlarged our tent and more than modified our vision of human and ecclesial realities!

I very much regretted that the diocesan delegations split into 2 groups: ‘Delegates’ and ‘Pilgrims’. Even though I was there as a ‘Delegate’, I took the liberty of slipping into the Pilgrim group whose programme was equally tempting. In this way I participated in evenings that I would call ‘Culture and Faith’: presentations of works of art leading into Prayer.

The commentated visit to the Mamertime Prison, close to the Forum and Coliseum, struck me particularly.

11 congrès des catéchistes prison Mamertine intérieur

Set pieces, lighting, and stories alternated: it was very poetic and culminated in an intense profession of the Catholic faith.

The visit to the tomb of Peter and the founders of our Church was equally a moment of intense Communion with the Church of yesterday, today and tomorrow. You become part of history … It was invigorating and a grace to welcome and make bear fruit … in the daily living of our ‘Galilees’.

journées mondiales le pape It was the meeting with Pope Francis however, that was the high point … Seeing the successor of Peter in front of your eyes and within touching distance, gives you a frisson of Catholicity. His touching remarks, insisting on life as witness, go straight to the heart, because they ring true! A pressing invitation to be creative, to go out to the peripheries, including in our habitual ways of thinking and our ‘sacred habits’. It is the dynamism of love, it is the movement of God Himself.

The Eucharist at the altar of St Peter’s Chair was a very intense moment for me; it was grandiose and divine. Surrounded by people from different nationalities, plunged into an environment of songs, music and fervour that transports you; I thought I was on Mount Thabor and wanted to ‘erect my tent’. It was divine and at the same time had a noble simplicity to it!

06 journées mondiales des catéchistes

In Rome you feel the heart of the Church beating, in relationship with all of our local Churches (with their heaviness, but above all their enthusiasm). These few days were full of hope, like the almond tree that announces the springtime. The experience encouraged me in my desire to transmit the faith through my present Service of ‘Liturgy and Sacraments’; the faith that makes me live in the Church, the faith that lives in me and colours all of my meetings, all of my choices and everyday acts…

This Congress was the first of a series that promises to be rich and fruitful; four are envisaged. Who else will have the grace of such a human and spiritual experience, and when? I hope that others who desire it may experience it … such an event opens up horizons …”

Sr Marie Andrée Servel





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