Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Students on Plgrimage

Louvain, Belgium: Oct. 1st: - On Thursday, October 1st about 1400 students and 180 teachers from the school “Damiaaninstituut” Aarschot set off to officially hand over to the Picpus fathers boxes which they had made to hold the relics of Father Damien.

After travelling the 20 km between Louvain and Aarschot, the young people all dressed in T-shirts decorated with a large picture of Father Damien, crossed the city on foot to reach Damien Square opposite the Chapel of St. Anthony. This journey symbolized the distance between Tremolo and Molokai.

Fr Frits Gorissen, provincial of the brothers in Flanders, and several brothers welcomed the young people and expressed his joy and gratitude for this collaboration for the canonization of Damien. Before blessing the two boxes Father Frits explained to the young people that a relic serves as a sign to keep alive the memory and spirit of the life of the saint who is venerated. Within this festive environment the assembly listened with great respect. Several young people had the opportunity to say before the cameras and the many journalists what Father Damien meant in their own lives. The director of Damiaaninstituut thanked all the students and teachers and explained how his school will continue in concrete ways this year which had given them a true patron Saint of the school.

At the end of this celebration, before the procession set off again to Aarschot, someone dressed as Father Damien made a final speech to young people. “Being a saint or being the greatest Belgian was of little interest to Damien”, he said. “The only thing that Damien asks is that you continue his work”.

Challenged by these words, the 1400 young people paid their respects once again to the relics of their future patron Saint future. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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