Thirty new Sulpician candidates and members from around the globe have gathered at Le Grand Séminaire at Issy-les-Moulineaux, just outside Paris, to begin a month-long experience of the foundations of Sulpician spirituality, history, and pedagogy. The program, which normally occurs every three or four years, lasts from July 3-28, 2011. The participants come from all three Sulpician Provinces, France, Canada, and the United States, and in addition, they hale from countries as diverse as Vietnam, Japan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, India, and the Philippines.
Hosted by the General Council, the program is an essential requirement for new Sulpicians to complete their formation as Sulpicians and formators of priests. A team of three animators, one from each Province, coordinates the program. The three animators are Fathers Jean-Louis ROUILLIER, p.s.s., of France, Gerald McBREARITY, S.S., of the United States, and Argiro RESTREPO, p.s.s, a Colombian currently doing ministry in Canada
This “mois sulpicien” marks the thirtieth anniversary of the event, which began in 1981, under the leadership of the late Father Constant BOUCHAUD, p.s.s., Superior General at the time. It marked a major turning point in the promotion of international cooperation and sensitivities in the Sulpician community.
More than thirty others, Sulpicians and non-Sulpicians, will participate in the program as presenters or simultaneous translators (French-English; English-French). The three Provincials, Fathers Bernard PITAUD, p.s.s. of France, Jacques D’ARCY, p.s.s., of Canada, and Thomas ULSHAFER, S.S. of the U.S. will also give overviews of their respective Provinces. The General Council will also participate in various roles throughout the month.
In addition to visits to the major historical sites in and around Paris, such as the Church of Saint-Sulpice, the residence at rue du Regard, and Le Séminaire des Cârmes, a highlight of the program includes a pilgrimage to sites connected to Sulpician history and tradition in the middle of France.
In particular, the pilgrimage will include visits to Lyon, Le Puy, Pébrac, Langeac, and Ars. At each location, explanations of the significance of the site will be given and the group will join in concelebrated Masses or other religious services. Of particular importance is a visit to the cloistered Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine in Langeac, where the Sulpician founder, Father Jean-Jacques OLIER, had encountered Blessed Mother Agnès de Langeac between 1631 and1634 (click here for the story).
Two retired Sulpician bishops will also participate by presiding at festive Eucharistic liturgies throughout the month, Mgr Joseph DORÉ, Archbishop Emeritus of Strasbourg, and Mgr Georges SOUBRIER, Bishop Emeritus of Nantes.
The month concludes on the afternoon of July 28, 2011 with a concelebrated Mass at the historic Church of Saint-Sulpice, followed by a banquet at the Generalate on rue du Regard. The Superior General, Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s. will preside and preach.