The March for the New Evangelization in Luxembourg
The March for the New Evangelization in Luxembourg

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

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

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, said litanies, and sang several songs. The 3.2 km walk lasted three hours, and our group in total was 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 on 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]

At the third stop, near the lake of Echternach, Jaime Barragán gave us his testimony as a father on 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 co-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 at a very young age to the abbey of Ripon. In 678, Willibrord left his country to go to Ireland, where he was ordained a priest ten years later. After two years (690), he went to evangelize Central Europe accompanied by twelve other monks. Willibrord and his companions were among the first missionaries in that territory, and they achieved a great number of conversions. These monks were valiant entrepreneurs. Impelled by love for Christ, they trusted completely in God. Frisia had been constituted as a church immediately subject to the Holy Roman See, and the center of the new dioceses was Utrecht. 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 the base for missionary activity in Echternach (on land given to him 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. According St. Boniface’s testimony, he was a man “of great holiness and of marvelous austerity” yet good and paternal with others. He tried to evangelize Northern Frisia and was even in Denmark, driven by the same missionary impulse, but he soon understood that it was a premature enterprise and returned to his field of action.

When the Frisians attacked the French, Willibrord and his monks had to fall back. He then 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 the Basilica of St. Willibrord. We visited the crypt where we were able to pray in front of St. Willibrord’s tomb. 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 evident. There were many families with children who were a great example for all those present, and they participated in the March with great devotion and respect.

We want to thank the Lord for the many spiritual benefits we have received from His generous and provident hands, and we ask the Mother of the living Gospel, the Star of the New Evangelization, to help us shine in our testimony of communion, service, and 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, 288). Through the intercession of St. Willibrord, we pray that our mission here in Luxembourg may bear much fruit.

Sr. Maria Czestochowa, SSVM

The March for the New Evangelization

November 8, 2015 in Luxembourg

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[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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