This feast comprised three stages: preparation, Eucharist and shared meal; it was held on Sunday 31 July 2022.
1 - Preparation
This began on 22 July with a Novena of prayer to Saint Peter-Julian Eymard. In order to prepare for his Liturgical Feast and from the desire to deepen a sense of the mystery of the Eucharist, the source and pivot of the Christian life, the Saint Peter-Julian Eymard Centre of Spirituality at La Mure presented to the faithful a Novena honouring the saint. This Novena contained the beautiful fruits of the Holy Spirit gathered from and presented in various documents of the Church and from meditations of our Founder.
At the heart of the unfolding of each day of the Novena, in keeping with that of the Eucharistic celebration were: the rich thoughts of Peter-Julian Eymard followed by a time of silence, themes of Church documents relating to Father Eymard’s message, prayers leading the faithful to the heart of the Eucharistic charism received by Eymard. The celebrant of the day, through the homily, presented the interrelation of these various elements between them in order to enable the faithful to become aware of and appropriate them.
On Thursday, 28 July, was a day of walking and prayer on the Eucharist, source of peace and reconciliation. Twenty people walked about twenty kilometres, which began and ended at the Eymard Chapel of La Mure. The route was punctuated by multiple stops, including Three Crosses at Serbouvet-Saint Honoré, the cross of Ourme, Villard Saint Christophe, a place where the Eucharist was celebrated followed by a picnic, Pré-Sabot, Tors-Chapelle, the Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard Chapel. The Mass on Friday 29 July was followed by a prayer vigil. Finally, on Saturday 30 July, guided tours of the following Eymardian places at La Mure took place: his Birthplace, the Chapel and the Museum.
2 - The Eucharist, festival of the people, God’s family
Saint Peter-Julian Eymard used to say that the Mass is the joyous celebration of fraternity that we can make last forever. About two hundred and fifty Christians gathered on Sunday, 31 July, for the Eucharistic celebration of this patronal feast of the Parish. Father Yvan Brient, Vicar General of the Diocese of Vannes, presided over this celebration. With him were eight priests: two from Our Lady of La Salette, six from the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, including two from Colombier Saugnieu, those from La Mure, and two deacons. The assembly also comprised people from different parts of the diocese of Grenoble and from France, including the nuns of Our Lady of Salette and Miss Ellen Kleinpenning from Holland.
Father Brient’s homily can be summed up thus: “The Eucharist is a place of communion between all of us,” “with Christ,” “wonderment.” He suggested that these three aspects are expressions of Pope Francis’ and St Peter-Julian’s love of the Eucharist.
Participation in the Eucharist entails becoming aware of the fraternal bond that units all the children of the same Father, excluding in us any attitude of discrimination, division, and all prejudice This means having a passion for the Eucharistic Jesus Christ, in seeking through his grace to pray, think, act like Him, in a word to be “christified”. Experiencing a sense of “wonderment” consists in abandoning all hatred, rancour, but in seeking the great joys of Heaven.
3 - Shared meal, the other facet of the feast
Saint Peter-Julian Eymard used to say that through the Mass, we become aware of being all brothers of the same family. We eat at the same table of the same Father who is in heaven. After the Mass, the people met for a drink and a meal shared with the Mayors of La Mure and Ponsonnas (a town near La Mure), to consolidate their friendships and their desire to become a single fraternal community. They would have understood this instruction from the Patron Saint of their parish: “A law of honour, of charity of Jesus Christ is that he wants us to honour and love his brothers, and for this he personifies himself in them, he communicates himself to them. The child who has received communion is great, the servant, honourable” (PO 8,5).
On behalf of the Saint Peter-Julian Eymard Centre of Spirituality,
Father Thaddée Mupapa, sss
Superior, La Mure, France