The community of Magenta (the provincial house) in Rennes is situated in the parish of All Saints (Toussaints) church.
Along with the other parishioners, for twenty years we had deplored the poor state of the church: small pieces of stone had begun to crack off.
As a protective measure, the pillars had been shrouded in white plastic sheeting. After long years of study and consultation between different bodies, the restoration was finally begun in 2014.
At the end of the works, before the ceremony of inauguration, the community joined in the cleaning of the church : chairs, wood-work, the pulpit, the interior staircases, etc.
It was with joy that we took part, along with many others, in the evening ceremony of the re-opening of the church. Among those present at this event were the Archbishop Mgr D’Ornellas, Madame Appéré, mayor of Rennes, and the regional director of the DRAC (Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs). Each one in turn spoke of the place of this restoration in our day and age.
We would like to share some of what Madame Appéré and Mgr D’Ornellas said.
« The Catholic faith has fashioned our town by its monuments ; it has also enriched our spiritual patrimony through the great figures who carried a message of peace, a message of justice … This conception finds its echo in the convictions which have nourished and continue to form a culture in Rennes of openness, of living together, of which we, one and another, are the guarantors …
… This tolerance is also expressed through a principle which we have always wished to place once again at the heart of our common values : “laïcité”. “Laïcité” for us is having the same benevolent regard for all religions: it is protecting the act of believing and considering that it has the same legitimacy, the same value, the same rights, the same duties as the choice not to believe. The “laïcité” of 1905 is not ignorance, nor intolerance, it is a recognition (…)” Madame Appéré
« Patrimony is a message, patrimony is a state of mind, patrimony is a word … Yes, this particular patrimony of All Saints church is a singular word …
Here, in this singular patrimony which the town of Rennes honours, personalities have come to hear the Word, to see their dignity affirmed in order to be able, in their turn, to pronounce a word: Jeanne Jugan, saint Jean Eudes, Claude-François Poullard des Places, Saint Louis Grignon de Montfort, Châteaubriand, Louise Menard …
So many people, known and unknown, have passed through this church, and found there the dignity, the beauty and the grandeur of the word. Yes, in this church of the word, the human being discovers in himself a being of the word …” Mgr D’Ornellas
As a religious community, we are happy now to celebrate with other Christians in a place that has re-found all of its beauty and felt it particularly at the Christmas Eve service this year.