On the bicentenary of the promise of twelve young Marist Priests and Seminarians at Fourviere to found a Marial Society, there was a gathering of over 1000 Brothers, Fathers, Sisters and young people at the Basilica to commemorate the event.
The plan of the twelve which had been forged in St. Ireneus seminary, they committed to God at a Mass and prayed for divine help. Among the twelve was Marcellin Champagnat who as early as a few months later – on 2nd January 1817 – founded the Institute of the Marist Brothers.
On arrival at the Basilica everyone was provided with a blue scarf which was inscribed with the words “200 years on – the promise remains”.
The Eucharist was celebrated by the Superior General of the Marist Fathers, Father John Hannan, accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop of Lyon and many priests. Members of all four Marist branches – Priests, Sisters, Missionary Sisters and Brothers were present, led by their respective General Superiors. Also present were around 400 young people, from many of the countries where the Marists are working, who had gathered at L’Hermitage a few days earlier under the motto, “Live the Dream”.
At the procession for the Preparation of the Gifts alongside the bread and wine, several young people carried a large Sun and a large blue “M” to the altar, symbols of the international meeting of Marist youth.
Five Brothers from the Province, one from each of the five countries met in the morning at Lyon. After an evening meal in the Provincial House at Lyon with many other Brothers, among them Brothers Emili Turú and Joe McKee, they spent two nights at CISL, Lyon. After a well organised Mass on Saturday, everyone was invited back to the Marist Fathers for a picnic and the opportunity to meet and chat. To end the evening there was a concert of classical music in the school hall.
The Cardinal from Lyon had just set out for Krakau but left behind a message of greetings which was read out and in which he encouraged everyone “to follow the present dream and to continue to pass on in today’s world the Church’s face of Mary; a mission for all of us which will certainly be an important theme in the forthcoming General Chapter of 2017 at the beginning of the third century of the Institute.
Brother Alois Engel