FLANDERS, Belgium - The month of May is popularly known as the month of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church. In Flanders, many devotees choose this month to visit well-known Marian pilgrimage sites, such as Scherpenheuvel and Banneux, and organize processions in honour of the patron saints. Similarly, the month of October is celebrated as the Month of the Rosary by practicing Roman Catholics. In our pastoral zone, after the arrival of Fr. Nepo, we have been reintroduced to many traditions that were somehow forgotten by many. This year, in the month of May, he has emphasized the importance of singing a Marian hymn during the Holy Eucharist. Churchgoers have appreciated his initiative. Personally, I find his musical abilities amazing. Within a few years, he has not only learned many Flemish hymns but also demonstrated a talent for composing hymns. He has composed several Marian hymns, and some of them were sung during the month of May.
In the month of October, Fr. Nepo has encouraged people to pray the Rosary before the Eucharist. Regardless of whether people were present or not, he initiated the Rosary on time, ensuring that we could celebrate the Mass at the scheduled time. As a believer, I would express that these initiatives are much needed in our time. I appreciate him for helping us understand the importance of the dévotion to Mary in our liturgical calendar. He not only introduces himself as a Montfort father but also demonstrates through his initiatives in liturgy and pastoral service that he is true to his identity and deeply rooted in Montfortian Spirituality.
An Understandable Language of Faith
HOEGAARDEN, Belgium - These days, our churches in Hoegaarden are experiencing a revival. People are greatly impressed by the increased presence of children in the Eucharist. Fr. Nepo has suggested to the parish team to reserve the first few rows for the children. Initially, he invited the children to come to the front rows before making the sign of the cross. Now, they do so spontaneously, which brings us great satisfaction and encouragement. It motivates us to give our best for the growth of our faith communities.
Fr. Nepo’s pleasant smile and sense of humour are highly appreciated among both parents and children. He has a remarkable ability to communicate in a language that is easily understandable to children. His homilies resemble more of a friendly chat with children than complex and dogmatic statements. To actively engage people in the Eucharist, he poses thought-provoking questions about God, Christ, the Church, and faith. This approach encourages the congregation to respond, and children particularly feel at ease sharing their answers. In October of this year, he distributed rosaries among the children, emphasizing the importance of praying the rosary. His explanation captivated the children so much that they immediately began wearing the rosaries after receiving them. The faith communities in Hoegaarden are happy with the presence of a Montfortian father in our pastoral zone, serving as our spiritual guide.