The Dutch region of the Mill Hill Missionaries traditionally celebrates its jubilarians on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption. The inclusion of two Trappist nuns and a diocesan priest, all residents of Missiehuis Vrijland, brought the total number of ‘celebrants’ to twelve! Equally true to tradition General Superior Michael Corcoran and Vicar General Desmond McGillicuddy joined the celebrations.
The festive Eucharist was fittingly led by three jubilarians – Arie Braak, Guido Gockel and Anton Wenker.
In his homily Fr Guido Gockel mhm, Procurator General in Rome, led the congregation in a meditative reflection on the second reading of the day: Paul’s discourse on the resurrection.
“Our Baptism is the foundation of the Christian calling to witness to the resurrection. As missionaries we are challenged to live this calling to the full – to absorb the message to such a degree as to identify with it. ‘He who sees me, sees the Father’.
What is the message? To follow Jesus all the way to the Cross – to give one’s life unsparingly. And so to live the paradox of the Cross – victory out of apparent total failure, life out of death.
What counts as success in the ordinary sense of the word is not part of a missionary’s vocabulary.
Often we are like the prodigal son, the lost sheep, the Samaritan who fell into the hands of robbers.
The Church, similarly, passes through stretches of darkness.
It is only through the saving power of Christ’s resurrection that the Church has continued uninterrupted for the past 2000 years.
Our success is not what we ourselves accomplish but what Jesus accomplishes through us.
We can join Mary when she sings: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me’.
Lord, I thank you that you sustain your Church our own weaknesses and failures notwithstanding”.
During the pleasant gathering that followed the Eucharist veteran entertainer Ben Beemster mhm had us all singing an idiosyncratic version of the Mill Hill anthem – ‘For he is a Mill Hill man’………
A festive meal served by the dependable kitchen staff of Missiehuis Vrijland, with some expert outside assistance, concluded the joyful gathering.
Fons Eppink mhm (with assistance of Theo Geurtsen mhm)
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