GENK, Belgium - In May, I moved from the community of Kessel-Lo to the community of Genk. Within a month, under the guidance of Fr. Ludo who is a kind and caring Montfortian collaborator, I have been around the area and have met many faithful. The charismatic priest, Fr. Ludo, apart from carrying out his priestly office in his parish, helps people who are in grave need of pastoral visits and spiritual support. I have gone with him to visit a few sick and elderly people.
In one of the families, an elderly lady shared with me her unforgettable memories about praying in the Montfortian chapel in Genk. She has a very high regard for Montfort fathers who did remarkable evangelization in the province of Genk. Their hospitality and openness to the laity is a point of great appreciation. Our confreres have invited people nearby to pray with them and have organized the praying of the rosary in the month of May.
In addition, this elderly told me, “Father Nepo, our family used to go to pray with the Montfort fathers in your community. After the rosary, we used to go to the ice cream parlour for an ice-cream.” She is already in her 80s but what she did with her family in her childhood continues to produce in her pleasant memories that is of great value to remember and cherish in her old age. She is happy to know that young missionaries are here in Belgium to continue this noble tradition established by our fathers in Genk. Montfort fathers were itinerant missionaries, and they went from one place to another to preach and gather people to pray the rosary.
In the community of Genk, we still preserve this tradition of praying the rosary with the people in the month of May. In the backyard of our community, we have a beautiful and spacious park where we can also find a grotto of Mary. In the month of May, people pray the rosary while walking in procession at the park. In front of the grotto, they spend a moment of silence and sing a hymn to Mary. However, we could not do that this year since the park is under construction. The paths are not yet fully laid out. Instead, we have prayed the rosary this year in the chapel.
Moreover, on the last day of May, after the rosary, people are offered a cup of coffee with a piece of cake. These people who come to pray in our chapel have expressed their desire that we, missionaries, continue the tradition and bring new life. They believe that the missionaries will take forward this heritage of the Montfort missionaries.
On May 31, there were about 15 people who attended the praying of the rosary. Except for a few, others came to drink a cup of coffee. We also had a pleasant chat with them. In fact, Fr. Jef and Fr. Nico couldn’t be happier to animate this group and render a spiritual service to them.
Fr. Nepolean JAMES RAJ, SMM