The first Rule written by Eugene in 1818 had a complete chapter on the preaching of parish missions. He wrote in the first 2 articles, ” The missionaries will dedicate themselves to preaching the Divine Word to the poor. They will bring spiritual assistance to the poor scattered throughout the countryside, as well as to the inhabitants of small rural settlements deprived of such spiritual assistance. They will take care of such needs through missions, sessions of catechism, retreats or otfier spiritual exercises “. The mission team would prepare themselves by personal and community prayer. He insisted they use the language of the poor who for so long had been deprived of the Word of God. The early missions preached in parishes near to Aix were great successes. At times the parish church would not be large enough and the people gathered in the square outside. Like Christ, who walked from place to place in Galilee, the missionaries would imitate him in that way. The place of the Parish Priest was never usurped, because the missionaries came to second his efforts and make his ministry more effective. The missionaries were there at the service of the Christian Community.
- St Eugene insisted on the Word being preached in the language of the poor. Why was this? What is the ‘language’ of those around us that we can begin to learn to speak?
- St Eugene emphasised the importance of the missionaries working as one community with the Parish priest,rather than as rivals, to better bring about the Kingdom of God. What are some areas in our life where we can put this approach in to practice, where we can cooperate rather than compete to achieve a common goal – even if it means humbling ourselves?