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Fifty years since the Beatification of Father Champagnat

27/05/2005: Vatican

9th May 1955: fifty years have passed since the historical event of the Beatification. A significant date indeed, even though it has been superseded, in a certain sense, by the unforgettable 18th April 1999 when John Paul II declared Marcellin Champagnat a saint for the entire Catholic Church.
But we still enjoy leafing through the family album of 1955 (the Bulletin of the Institute, volume XXI) to recall some of the feelings present in the hearts of the Brothers who were part of this unforgettable event.
“The beatification is not an honour that is bestowed on someone as often as is done by the governments of this world. The Church is set in a different perspective to that of the world. The beatification is a message, a call and an invitation. And if we feel proud, we do so only to be worthy of our Founder.
We do not celebrate a beatification to give work to those who make statues or those who manufacture sacred objects. A beatification has a scope that is essentially moral: it aims to propose a model to us to imitate. And this applies even more so for the religious family born of the beatified person. We were born from the heart of Blessed Marcellin Champagnat and so we must resemble him and make every effort to follow his example as closely as possible.
A Founder who is thus honoured invites us to become enthusiastic, dynamic and well-formed religious. Providence has accorded us such a grace in order to encourage us. It is certainly not so that we can rest on our laurels. Besides, it would truly be a pity if we were to turn inwards to celebrate and savour this grace, keeping it selfishly guarded within our small community.
May many thanksgiving Magnificats rise from our hearts with force and conviction to the Lord! But especially we ask that we may live this joy-filled Magnificat throughout our ordinary activities; a Magnificat that consists of doing everything possible to belong completely to Jesus and to go to him by accompanying Mary, as Father Champagnat taught us.”

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