A young adult, singing to herself and God in a field of wildflowers. There were a thousand young adults here this week, from all over Europe and the world. Next week, for Holy Week there will be 6000, most between 18 and 25 years old.
Sunday Afternoon in the countryside in France. Françoise and Daniel are dear friends of one of my friends, Jean-Jacques Pérennès OP. They live in Lyon, France where Françiose teaches high school physics and chemistry. Daniel teaches contemporary history of the Arabic world in Paris at the Sorbonne, so has a one room flat there. But on the weekends they escape to their once abandoned 19th century farmhouse in Courzieu near Lyon. They invited us over for a leisurely Sunday dinner, classically French, with different wines before, during and after dinner and food that is simply indescribable, served in the kitchen next to the wood stove and fireplace. Afterwards, we took a stroll around the country side to see how spring was creeping up the valley, coming first to the cherry trees and the wildflowers but not yet to the pines and oak.
Today I visited a beautiful, old church in Tournus, France. The church was built in the Roman style in the 11th and 12 centuries. There are many similar churches in the area, but none comparable. It has two towers, one of pink stone, one of gray.
The Dominican community in Strasbourg is centered in prayer. One night at evening prayer, I was inspired to give you a taste of this experience with this simple page. The song is Notre Père (Our Father), and it is the community singing.
The evening of the Jubilatio was filled with Le Spectacle: Le Livre des Justes (the Book of the Just), a play in the style of a medieval mystery, meant to be performed in a Cathedral to educate the faithful. Making use of scenes from the Book of Revelation and the Book of the Prophet Daniel, the play presents the universal struggle between good and evil.
One of the main events of the Jubilatio Day was a Café of Interreligious Dialogue. The event was planned jointly by Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews. A plaza along the L'Ill river in the center of town was reserved for Sunday afternoon and tables and tents were set up. Each of the religions invited people to come to start the crowd and scheduled musicians to come and perform.
On Sunday, April 2, we had a huge celebration for the youth of the entire region, "Jubilatio," a part of the celebration of the Holy Year and the World Youth Day in Rome in August. However, parts of the local Jubilatio were planned in conjunction with people of other faiths and supported by a governement grant.
The BIG DAY began with a series of dialogues, topical group discussions. There were discussions on Beauty and Art, Interreligious Questions, Solidarity, and here Gabriel Nissim OP and Marie Marguerite Ancel lead the discussion on Faith.
Alsace is defined by the Vosages, the mountain range on the western side of the province. Champ du Feu is on the ridge, hovering over Alsace. The image at the top is taken from the 100 year old tower there. On a clear day one can see the Alps, the Black Forest, and the Alsacian plain through which flows the Rhine. Of course, we didn't have a clear day, but the rain added an air of mystery to the setting.
Here is the European Union Headquarters here in Strasbourg. The round tower on the left appears unfinished on purpose - to symbolize that the union itself is perpetually unfinished, always an imperfect unity which we must strive to improve. The right side is the beginning of a spectacular, graceful curve of glass which fronts two tributaries that come together at this point. The expance reflects the European Union Court of Human Rights and the European Parliment, each on their own bank of the converging waterways.