This Sunday fills me with so many reasons to glorify the Lord. 39 years ago it was also 19th of October when the Pope who is being beatified today, Paul VI, beatified four Servants of God, among whom was Eugene de Mazenod. That Sunday Paul VI declared: “After much careful deliberation, and having prayerfully implored divine light, now with our Apostolic Authority, we inscribe in the register of the beatified Charles-Joseph-Eugene de Mazenod.” In his homily Paul VI preached: “To the sons of Father de Mazenod, (Oblates of Mary Immaculate)… be very proud; exult with joy. Blessed Eugene was impassioned lover of Jesus Christ; he was unconditionally attached to the Church. On the morrow of the French Revolution, Providence was to make him a pioneer of pastoral renewal…” The Blessed Pope also used the words of his Predecessor Pope Pius XI, to describe the Oblates when he said that Sunday: “Oblates, you are the specialist of the most difficult missions.”
That Sunday 39 years ago was a Mission Sunday, today the Church observes a Mission Sunday too. As we think about the missionary activity of our Church which takes the Gospel to all continents let’s listen to what Blessed Paul VI preached in 1975 when he beatified the Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate: “To all baptized, to all apostles of today, Blessed Eugene sends out the message: let the fire of Pentecost invest, invade you and you will experience the enthusiasm of mission.”
As I was watching the image of Blessed Paul VI being unveiled on the façade of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome after Pope Francis declared him Blessed of the Church I quietly said what little Luke said this morning: “Thank you.” It was for the holiness of that Pope and for him recognizing in the name of the Catholic Church the holiness of our Founder. Blessed Paul VI you can be sure that we Oblates have taken seriously what you said to us on 19th of October 1975 – we are very proud of Our Founder Saint Eugene de Mazenod. We also thank you Blessed Paul VI for your words of encouragement and faith. Thank you.