We are in Easter time but it’s a good thing to look a little back and find out how the preparation to the big feast of Easter has been carried out, there where we are.
In the community : during Lent, we took the time to live the way of the cross daily, with the help of a power point presentation which was very different according to the weeks. We shared with the needy the Friday community privations.
At the reception house of la Roche /Foron, we have raised awareness among the numerous people who come for the meetings, to share with the missions of the sisters of Charity.
In the parish: some sisters have participated regularly with the laity every Friday of Lent (we were around twenty adults )… to live together for some time, the 3 pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer, sharing.
With the diocese : a big meeting for young people has been organised at Thorens les Glières (native village of St Francis de Sales…. Near la Roche sur Foron) for the feast of Palm Sunday, in the presence of the bishop of Annecy, on the occasion marking the 450 years of the birth of saint Francis de Sales.
The topic on friendship has been chosen again "to strengthen the bonds and to create some new ones."
The group HOPEN managed to create a dynamic environment for the 600 youths of the whole diocese.
After dedicating the morning to workshops the topic “friendship” was chosen, we then had the mass of Palm Sunday. It was a big moment for everyone and it started with a long procession that went slowly across the village following the donkey carrying the palm branches, while the crowd sang Hosanna.
This beautiful celebration, concelebrated by Mgr Yves Boivineau and numerous priests, brought together youths and parishioners (about one thousand) for an intensive moment of communion.
After the pizza break and discussion, the youths could choose an activity according to their likes : big games, dancing, cinema, workshop on the Pope’s letter, confession, adoration… preceded the concert of pop praise organised by the group HOPEN in the church. Everybody could dance and sing in the midst of communicative joy created by this young group who revives the Christian singing energetically.
At the end of the concert question was made to the group Hopen :
"How did you manage to attract and draw so many youths ?
The answer : "During the leaders’ meetings, we went in front of the Lord with our limits but also with our desire of unity between leaders, movements… when we are united, the Holy Spirit works great things !"
We retained some of the reactions :
a young girl who was queuing up for the concert : " The time of the mass passed so quickly, I was taken up by prayer as if in a dream ".
a facilitator : "I experienced big freedom in the sacrament of reconciliation which I could receive in the afternoon."
a student :" I liked the words of St. Francis de Sales which spoke to me directly: I wish to read more about him."
a young woman: "I liked the songs in the adoration chapel: there was something special. "
some facilitators : "My group has been enchanted", "the presentations of the sixth form students were very beautiful as well as the witnessing of a young woman in her terminal phase."
an inhabitant of Thorens : "So many young people without signs of vandalism or rudeness : it’s astonishing."
From St. François de Sales : « If the exchanged goods are false and illusionary, even friendship will be the same. »
The Challenge : If the shared goods are authentic and sincere, such will be friendship.
From St. Francis de Sales : « Friendships that are based only on appearance and attraction will not last and they melt away like snow in the sun. »
The Challenge : friendships that are based on authenticity and truth, will last like a house on the rock.
From St. Francis de Sales « Let’s be ourselves and let’s do it properly »
The Challenge : Be true, share with the other.
Finally, this day has been lived as a beautiful adventure, both by the youths who could experience concretely the motto of St. Francis de Sales « everything for love, nothing by force » and by the parishioners who were delighted to see so many youths gathered together.
A very big THANK YOU to all those who invested a lot for this day and to all the youths for their joy of living on this feast of Palm Sunday !
Sister Andrée Gallet, soc – Besançon-Savoie