In a place in France: A mission in the beach

on 27 Aug, 2019
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Arcachon (France), 08/27/2019, Sr. María Esperanza Olarte.- Being aware of the need to be open to have apostolates with the others (Congregations and laity), during this summer, we in the Province of France had a chance to participate in a mission at the beach, and yes! I did not make a mistake, in the beach.

A mission which we call the “op week” (week with the Order of Preachers), from Saturday the 10th to Sunday the 18th of August 2019 in the bay of Arcachon, south-east of France at 65 km away from Bordeaux, on the Atlantic coast. Since13 years, the Dominican brothers from the Province of Toulouse have been organizing a mission in this place, in an old Dominican parish which dates back to 1855.
The activities in the Church of Notre Dame des Passes
Every day at 9 O’clock in the morning, the tourists could participate in the Morning Prayer, followed by Mass and the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Then, there was the possibility to make confessions and to be listened to and the morning was ended by the meditation of the Rosary at 12 noon. At the end of the day, at 6 P.M, there was adoration and confession, followed by the singing of the Evening Prayer; at 9 P.M there was a conference, or a concert and the day was concluded at 11:30 P.M with the Night Prayer. In the afternoons, sports were conducted for the youth and children and a contest of sand castle for the little ones. While the sport activities took place with Brother Anton, we would go to meet the adults who profited from the sunshine and their reading, to tell them about the “op week” and to motivate them to participate in the program planned for the week.

And also...
- On Monday August 12th at night: A “meal of the monks”, in which about hundred persons who were integrated into the Dominican Family participated; it was an occasion to meet some beautiful persons.
- A day dedicated for the children, in the “school of prayer”. At the same time, it was a beautiful occasion to meet their parents and grandparents. Really, the children enabled us to approach the adults and form good relationships with them.
- The French people are excellent readers; so. a library was kept at their disposal.
- Guided tours of the Church, in addition a shop with products from the Dominican monasteries and a small bar.

The animation team
We must know that the op week has a fantastic organization in every respect! We have to foresee a lot of details; almost everything was foreseen. This time, a team of 57 persons animated the mission: a dozen brothers, six sisters (two from the Presentation, Sr. Françoise Marie B and I), three Dominican lay couples and about thirty youth who came from all over France. A polyphonic choir was organized with all this youth, which animated all the liturgical celebrations.

August 15, the big feast
The feast of the Assumption, which is a very dear feast for the French, was celebrated with a marvelous participation and also a well-prepared liturgy.

My experience
I was astonished by the newness and creativity of this mission in a place like the beach; never have I imagined it. On the other hand, I was surprised to see the seriousness of the commitment of the youth who had decided to dedicate a week of their vacation and also of the joined work of the brothers, sisters and laity. It enabled me to have beautiful meetings and to enrich myself both as a Christian and as a consecrated person. The op week was an occasion to serve, to be formed and nourished by a magnificent Dominican liturgy and to live with the others a ray of faith and joy. I thank God first and the Dominican Brothers of the Province of Toulouse who are not afraid to go out of our Churches to go to meet the others with the others and to dare to break through the borders of our convents and go there, where someone is waiting for us.

As a boy who was at the beach told me: "How happy I am to see that the Church displaces itself."

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