The March for the New Evangelization

The March for the New Evangelization SSVM

Responding to the invitation of our Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich on the 8th of November 2015, and in collaboration with the pastoral service in the diocese of Luxembourg, we were able to take part in the March for Evangelization for the second time. The theme was “Marching Together to the Tomb of St. Willibrord”. The march began at 12 o´clock in the afternoon at Steinheim´s Cultural Center.

After lunch, we sang in different languages. Next, the Archbishop gave the welcoming speech and we began with prayer and the presentations of the different diocesan groups represented.

SSVM Luxembourg Evangelization March

Around two in the afternoon we left on foot from the Cultural Center of Steinheim, and arrived at the Basilica of Echternach. During the walk we prayed the rosary, litanies, and different songs. In total, we walked a 3.2 km route in three hours and all together we were a group of about two hundred people.

The second stop was in the middle of the woods. There we meditated on a reading from the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium about the charisms at the service of the evangelizing community. [1] “The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple.”[2] “She is the woman of prayer and work in Nazareth, and she is also Our Lady of Help, who sets out from her town “with haste” (Lk 1:39) to be of service to others. This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization.”[3]

The third stop was close to the lake of Echternach where Jaime Barragán gave us her testimony of how to live Christianity in the family in the midst of  today´s society. Afterwards, our Archbishop told us the story of St. Willibrord, the first Bishop of Utrecht, apostle of the Low Countries and the secondary patron of the Great Duchy of Luxembourg.

                Willibrord was born in Northumbria (England) in 658, in the bosom of an aristocratic family. His father Wilgils presented him, very young, to the abbey of Ripon. In 678 Willibrordo left his country to go to Ireland, where he was ordained a priest ten years later (688). After two years (690), with twelve other monks, he went to evangelize Central Europe. Willibrord and his companions had to work in a practically virgin land, and they achieved a great number of conversions. These monks were valiant and entrepreneurs. The love of Christ impelled them and they trusted completely in God. Frisia had been constituted as a church subject immediately to the Holy Roman See. Utrecht was the center of the new dioceses. But Willibrord wanted to conform even more to the Benedictine method which he brought to the European continent. He founded a monastery destined to serve as a base for the missionary action in Echternach (land given by St. Irmina) in Luxembourg. Every two years, Willibrord went regularly to stay for a few months of rest and recollection in his beloved abbey, his favorite residence.

Meanwhile, the beautiful qualities of the Archbishop of the Frisians were revealed. He was, according to the testimony of St. Boniface, a man “of great holiness and of marvelous austerity”, but good and paternal with the others. The truth is that he tried to evangelize Northern Frisia and was even in Denmark, moved by the same missionary impulse, but he soon understood that it was a premature enterprise and he returned to his field of action.

But when the Frisians attacked the French, he and his monks had to fall back. He evangelized in Holland, Zealand and the Low Countries. He left St. Boniface as his successor and died in the monastery of Echternach.

Our last stop was in the basilica of St. Willibrord. We visited the crypt where we were able to pray in front of the body of St. Willibrord. We ended this beautiful day with an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Mass presided by our Archbishop and concelebrated by other priests.

The atmosphere of joy and prayer which reigned throughout the March was noticeable. There were many families with children and they were a great example for all those present as they participated in the March with great devotion and respect.

SSVM Luxembourg Evangelization March

We want to thank the Lord for the many spiritual benefits which we received from His generous and provident hands, and we ask the Mother of the living Gospel, she who is the Star of the New Evangelization, to help us to shine in our testimony of communion, of service, of ardent and generous faith, so that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the world and not a single periphery will be deprived of its´ light (Evangelium Gaudium n.288). We ask through the intercession of St. Willibrord that our mission here in Luxembourg may bear much fruit.

Sr. Maria Czestochowa, SSVM

[1] Pope Francis, Apostolic Exortation Evangelii Gaudium, 130.

[2] Cf. Ecum. Council Vat. II, Dogmatic Const. Lumen Gentium, 12

[3] Pope Francis, Apostolic Exortation Evangelii Gaudium, 288.

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