vendredi, mars 07, 2008

A little interview

A young boy had recently a work to do for his Cathechism Class. The task was to ask a few questions to a priest about his vocation. Our young reporter contacted me and I gladly answered. Giving testimony of a vocation is giving testimony of the One who calls and an occasion of thanksgiving.

Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo ! (Ps 33)

How and when did Christ call you to be priest?
I guess he called me from the beginning even though I did not realize it to any great degree. I did not grow up in a family that went to Mass, but I remember some catechism classes when I was a kid. I liked it and Jesus probably talked to my heart at this time. But it was years later that I realized that I might have a vocation.

What made you decide to follow Christ’s call?
My desire to become a priest began with my first Latin Mass attendance. I was a student at this time and I used to go to Mass only on very rare occasions. So it was the Liturgy which made me think about the priesthood. At this time I also read the life of Father Charles de Foucauld and I was very impressed by this man who renounced everything in order to follow Our Lord in the desert. I think this also had an influence on my choice. Then a retreat with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius confirmed this desire.

When and where were you ordained?
I was ordained on July 1st 2000. In the traditional calendar, it is the Feast of the Precious Blood. What a beautiful day for an Ordination! It took place in the South of Germany, a beautiful place named Wigratzbad. It is a place of pilgrimage, since a woman, Antonia Radler, heard Our Lady asking that we pray for peace during World Word II. According to a private revelation that she had received, a Seminary would be founded there at the request of Rome. I don’t know if this prophecy is authentic or not, but the fact is that when the Fraternity of Saint Peter was founded, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) asked the Bishop of Augsburg to welcome our new Seminary.
I studied my philosophy and theology there for almost 7 years and I am very grateful for that.

The beautiful countryside near Wigratzbad

Where have you worked as a priest?
Saint Martin du Canigou, near Perpignan
After my Ordination, I returned to my country, in France, for my first assignment in a beautiful place: Perpignan, a town located between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, a few miles from Spain. It is the French part of Catalonia, a land full of traditions. One of the most famous is the huge procession which takes places in the streets of the city each year on Good Friday, in honor of the Passion of Our Lord. This procession was instituted by Saint Vincent Ferrier at the end of the XIV century. The church from where the procession begins, was built at the same time, and is precisely the church of the Fraternity of Saint Peter where I served for two years.
After a year of transition in Saint-Etienne, I came to the U.S and was appointed as assistant pastor at Saint Francis de Sales church in Mableton, Georgia. I am now chaplain for the Latin Mass community of Arkansas since last August.

For which part of being a priest are you most thankful to God?
Well, it is difficult to tell. In fact, I would say that I am thankful simply for being a priest. It is not an easy task, but what a blessing! I think often about the beautiful words of Jesus that we sing at the end of an Ordination: Jam non dicam….
I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends because all things, whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
Yes, I am thankful for the very particular friendship that Jesus wants to share with his priests. It leads us to Golgotha, but also to a real and deep joy.

Thanks be to God!

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