Without A Shepherd / Zonder herder

Passionisten bij de Mariagrot Op vrijdag 20 april heeft een delegatie van twaalf Passionisten uit Dublin, Edinburgh en Parijs het gehoortehuis bezocht van Pater Karel in Munstergeleen. Father Frank, leider van de delegatie uit Dublin, heeft hierover verslag gedaan.

Hij vertelt hoe enkelen van hen verdwaald raakten op het vliegveld van Dublin, over de tranen in de ogen van sommigen tijdens de H. Mis in de kapel, en ook hoe de heiligverklaring van 'Saint Charles' in Ierland en Schotland al leidt tot een stijging van het aantal roepingen. Vier nieuwe Passionisten hebben zich inmiddels gemeld.

Lees verder voor het engelstalige verslag van Father Frank met de titel 'Without a Shepherd', ofwel ''Zonder herder.'

Without A Shepherd From the desk of Fr. Frank Sunday, April 29, 2007

A week past on Friday eight men left Mount Argus at 5 o’clock in the morning heading for Dublin Airport, to be met there by another, on our way to Brussels and then on to Munstergeleen, birth place of Father Charles. We were to be joined in Brussels by a tenth man who was flying in from Edinburgh, and our contingent of twelve apostles was to be completed by two others who would make the journey by car from our house in Paris. The Passionists were out for the day - watch out world!

Even at that early hour on a spring morning the airport was extremely crowded. Having managed to stay together from the Long Term Car Park to the Terminal Building, and even through Security into the Shopping Area, we then scattered in various directions intending to meet up at the Departure Gate.

Some went off to have breakfast, some to browse in the bookshop, and others headed off immediately to the Departure Gate, two of them never to be seen again until we returned to Dublin that night – they went to the wrong gate for the wrong flight on the wrong airline, and by the time all the security hoops had been jumped through they had missed the flight we were meant to be on. Where is there a shepherd when you need one?

Needless to say I was one of those who went for breakfast. I had been talking to Fr. Harrie, parish priest of Munstergeleen, and knew that we would not get a full meal until 3.30 in the afternoon, so I thought it made sense to eat early and well.

Passionisten aan tafel (2)

Myself and Fr. John enjoyed a full Irish Breakfast, both choosing to sacrifice the hash browns for extra sausages – if I had talked to Father Harrie a bit more I may have discovered that the traditional Dutch Dinner he had planned for us later that day was aubergine soup followed by sauerkraut and, you guessed it, sausages - enormous ones! Still, you can never get enough of a good sausage, and they were absolutely delicious.

We enjoyed a wonderful reception from the local people and from the Dutch Passionists, two of whom had driven down from the north to welcome us. We had coffee and cake before visiting the shrine and the farmhouse where Father Charles was born. The sun was shining as Dutch TV and newspaper journalists interviewed us by the river flowing past the shrine.

We celebrated mass and some of the people had tears in their eyes. At the mass, and at the meal that followed, we were joined by Dolf Dormans, the man whose miraculous cure paved the way for the canonisation. At 5 o’clock in the evening the bus picked us up to begin the return journey – we lost nobody else en route and a wonderful day was had by all – bar the two lost sheep.

Passionisten in kapel Pater Karel

On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, as we think of Christ Our Shepherd, it feels good to be part of our worldwide group of Passionists as we prepare to honour our humble brother, Charles Houben, himself a gentle shepherd of the broken hearted, whom the Church has seen fit to raise to sainthood.

It may be that Saint Charles is already beginning to effect his intercession because this year, for the first time in a long time, four young men have applied to join the Passionists in Ireland and Scotland. We ask your prayers for them and for us as we discern the way forward.

Passionisten aan tafel in Munstergeleen