Abelly: Book 2/Chapter 01/Section 02/Part 01

From Vincentian Encyclopedia

The Diocese of Paris

Abelly book two.jpg

We learn from Monsieur Vincent himself the great fruit of a mission given in a village of the diocese of Paris, when he reported the success to his community to have them give thanks to God for it.

I beg the community to thank God for his blessing on the exceptional missions we have just finished, especially the one at N. There had been a marked division in this parish between the pastor and his parishioners. On the one hand they had a strong aversion to the pastor, and on the other he had a deep resentment at the bad treatment received from the parishioners. He had gone so far as to begin a lawsuit against them, and had succeeded in having three or four of the ringleaders put into prison for having laid a hand on him in the church, or on some of his relatives. Most people not only did not want to attend his mass, but would leave the church when they saw him approach the altar. The affair had gone so far out of hand that I never saw the like. They protested that under no circumstance would they ever go to confession to him, and they preferred not to receive communion even at Easter time.

Things had grown so bad that several of these people came to us a while back to ask that a mission be given in their parish. We did so, and by the mercy of God, they all returned to their religious duties. What moves us ever more to bless and thank God is that the parishioners have become perfectly reconciled to their pastor, and a great peace and union has come to the parish. Both sides are pleased and grateful. Ten or twelve came, speaking for the whole parish, to thank us, telling us how much the mission had accomplished among them. I was embarrassed to hear what they had to say.

Who was responsible for this, gentlemen? God alone. Was it within the power of man to bring about this union of hearts? Even an entire Parlement would not be able to bring a solution to a situation where people were so divided, except for policing the parish to avoid criminal activity. God alone was the author of this outcome, and it is to him we give thanks.

Gentlemen, please give thanks to him with all your hearts. Ask him in his divine goodness to confer on this Company the spirit of union which is no other than the Holy Spirit himself. We should be so united that we can bring about this union among others. We were founded to reconcile souls to God, and man to man. [1]

Another brief mission was conducted in the parish of N., near Paris, having in all only three hundred souls in the entire village. However, we can remark nine different outcomes worthy of comment. Although these things refer to this particular parish, much the same will be encountered in almost any of the places where missions are given.

  1. Two church wardens were elected each year, but for ten or twelve years they had never given an account of their office. They kept for themselves some of the money belonging to the Church, but since they had been challenged on their administration they made a report and made good the money they had held back.
  2. Several persons had kept papers and documents belonging to the Church for many years. They have now turned them over, and they have been stored in the parish strongbox.
  3. Some concubinage has been rectified, with the guilty parties separating or leaving the parish.
  4. The entire population, men, women, and children, received the seed of God's word. They were so responsive to the mission that with marvelous attention they attended every morning and evening sermon, and even the midday catechism lesson.
  5. Although poor, they made a tabernacle and presented a ciborium and silver chalice to the parish. The previous ones were only tin.
  6. They repaired their church, which was in imminent danger of collapse. They decided to rebuild it completely, although the cost would come to at least twelve thousand livres.
  7. All lawsuits and differences were settled, so that there remained not a single one of which anyone was aware which was not resolved. This was done in such a Christian manner that the parties in dispute fell to their knees, asking pardon of each other.
  8. All the sick poor were visited, consoled, and helped, both corporally and spiritually.
  9. Each person in the parish made a good and praiseworthy general confession. They acquitted themselves so well during the mission that they were well instructed and strengthened, not only in the faith, but also in the disposition to lead a Christian life in future.

We will not speak in such detail of other missions, for that would take much too much time, and be repetitious. We will recount only some significant events which we learn from the accounts of the missionaries themselves, or from other persons worthy of credence.

References

  1. CED XI:5-6. Jacques Tholard directed this mission, which took place in 1655; the village is not identified. See CED V:360.


This page:
Abelly: Book Two/Chapter One/Section Two/Part One: The Diocese of Paris

Index of this section:
Abelly: Book Two/Chapter One/Section Two/Index: The Most Notable Fruits of the Missions Given in Various Parts of France

Index of this chapter:
Abelly: Book Two/Chapter One/Index: The Missions of Monsieur Vincent

Index of:
Abelly: Book Two