Monday, 24 March 2008
Happy Easter from Ars!
Hope everyone has had a good Easter Triduum and is celebrating the Resurrection in style. A group of us (priests, seminarians and prospective seminarians) are in Ars to see the stomping ground of St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney. So far we've seen the church - with the attached basilica enshrining his body - where he catechised the villagers and eventually heard confessions for up to 16 hours a day; the presbytery where he lived in evangelical poverty, giving away the luxurious furniture which one of the benefactors of the parish gave to him; and the statue of his meeting with a boy of the village (pictured), where he said, 'Show me the way to Ars, and I'll show you the way to heaven.'
The seminary where we are staying was started after JPII visited Ars in 1986, and trains priests from all over the world. It is a great privilege to visit the home of the patron saint of priests, not least because like him it is a very humble and unostentatious place, not much bigger than it was when he was alive. I'll update you on our pilgrimage as the days go by.