January 2013 News from Plovdiv 

    We awaited the new year together, brothers and sisters, watching the film, "Babette's Feast.

   It was a feast that made us think of a réveillon, but that also prepared us to live the prayer vigil that followed, prepared by our Congolese sisters.

   We reserved a special place during our prayers of thanksgiving and petition for our Congolese brothers still held hostage in Mbau, in the northeast section of the Congo. Fr. Michel Kubler, who was on a visit with the community in his capacity as the provincial's delegate for the Near Eastern Mission, brought in the new year with us in a spirit of joy and family.

   The year 2012 was marked by some important events, both happy and sad. Among the first to be mentioned it would be important to highlight the celebration of the 150 years of Assumptionist presence in the Near East, a celebration underlined by the presence of the provincial, Fr. Benoît GSCHWIND, the assistant general Marcelo MARCIEL, the assistant in charge of the Mission, of Fr. Julio NAVARRO, the postulator, and of several brothers and sisters who had come from France, Spain (including the provincial, Fr. Niceto CALLE), Belgium, Holland and Romania.

   Another happy event was the arrival of our Congolese sisters, Marie Noëlla and Christine, who offered to join the Near Eastern Mission and who have already set about seriously to learn the Bulgarian language and the Byzantine rite.

We give thanks to the Lord for their presence among us because, without a doubt, it enrichens our fraternity, not only humanly but spiritually. The sad events included the death of Fr. Marie Gérard, A.A., a great friend of the Plovdiv community, and, for Claudio, the death of his mother. Still, even these two events were an opportunity to discover how much the Lord sends us signs that fill us with faith and hope.


One cannot attribute to happenstance the fact that Fr. Marie Gérard left us on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, he who every year would go to Lourdes and had a special devotion to the Mother of the Lord who exactly at Lourdes revealed herself to St. Bernadette as the Immaculate conceived without sin.

   During this year 2013, during the month of May, Fr. Daniel will preach several sessions to our brothers in Vietnam emphasizing the value of the Near Eastern tradition of the Church while at the beginning of July there is foreseen in Plovdiv the annual meeting of the brothers and sisters of the Near Eastern Mission.

   This meeting will be dedicated to the Eastern rite and, for our community, will be of capital importance, given the fact that at this point we are the only Assumptionist community that celebrate liturgy in the Eastern rite.

    What does this mean?

   Does this have importance in the context of the Near Eastern Mission and, more generally, in that of the entire Assumptionist Family?