This year the summer session of the St John Vianney Society took place in Kevelaer in Germany, last month. Almost a hundred priests and seminarians of the Society came together in this small town just fifteen kilometres from Nijmegen on the German/Holland border. The heart of the town is a shrine to Our Lady; all the the town's roads converge on the main square, where a small octagonal chapel holds the icon of Our Lady of the Afflicted. The shrine has stood here since the 1640s. It was wonderful to be in a place whose beating heart is not a shopping mall or a row of Night Clubs, but a working shrine to the Blessed Mother.
The photo above shows many of the Society's members being introduced to the shrine by a German guide. The photo below shows the act of homage being led by the Bishop emeritus of Belley-Ars, Mgr Guy-Marie Bagnard after our first Mass together in the Basilica.
This year's summer session of the Society was particularly inspiring for me. The last summer session which I took part in was in August 2007. The membership of the Society has grown since then and it was great to meet the recently ordained members and the new seminarian members, and to reconnect personally with the members: this priestly movement at the heart of Europe is well and truly alive and kicking. I'll post again on this encounter.