Anuncio Festival: in Marseille, post to strengthen your faith

Anuncio Festival: in Marseille, post to strengthen your faith

He is wearing a blue shirt with a large cross on it and the question “And if it is true?”Two young men standing by a pedestrian in the city center of Marseille. Peace be upon you. Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you. Says Pierre cheerfully. are you insured » The interaction was short, the man politely withdraws, but the missionaries still saw a ” Signal “ From the Holy Spirit: “He had loafers!” Details among others felt earlier by Pierre and Valentine, inspired by charismatic movements, during prayer.

This theology and psychokinesiology student, aged 25 and 22, was sent on a mission to evangelize the people of Marseilles and vacationers as part of the Anuncio Festival. From July 28 to August 7, nearly 250 Catholics under the age of 30 put out their sleeping bags in 12 cities in France, Pierre explains, “Let us witness our joy and spread the good news.”. For the first time, in Marseille there are fifteen of them, the majority of them from the Paris region.

“to leave of”

At St Charles’ Church, near the Old Port, where festival-goers hold their places, the busy agenda is punctuated by prayers. They meditate, give thanks and praise, with their hands raised to heaven. “It’s a special moment to be available to the Lord”rejoices Anne Solin, a 21-year-old student from Lille, very religious, like other young people.

“Reliance on Providence” : expression on everyone’s lips. When they are informed at the last minute of their destination, fed by the donations of nearby merchants, they learn this “to let himself go”Cyriak, 28, a student in the humanitarian sector, explains. On the street, Margaret, 27, bibles and medals in her pocket, approaches everyone she meets, “skeptical” Or a Muslim, hawk of Quraish, or in a hurry, convinced that she was “bet (for him) Providence Road”. “I was doing it too in the beginning, but I took a lot of fabric”The shadow of Valentine’s Day does not discourage him but is more and more seduced by the way of inviting the Holy Spirit to get to know him “open hearts”.

Certificate in the center

Every morning, in the priest, under the portrait of Charles de Foucault, Father Robert and Rhona, who came from Fréjus (Var) to accompany the missionaries, gave them some advice. Structuring one’s testimony about faith, forgetting unknown references such as “Prayer” or “Paray-le-Monial”, or even facing Muslims – almost a third of the population of Marseilles – who know the Qur’an like the back of their hands, “Speak from the heart” Avoiding theological debates… “You’ll never be ready when you go down the streetbelieves Eudoxie, a 22-year-old who, learning to speak her faith to her classmates, spent a year at CapMissio Missionary School in Montpellier. But with Anuncio, we don’t necessarily need training, because it’s all about certification. »

The secularization of French society justifies this in their view “Renewed Evangelism in the Streets” As Cyriac notes. And this is despite the deteriorating image of the institutional church, with the publication of the Ciase Report in October 2021. Moreover, the missionaries do not consider the crises of the Church of France to hinder their mission and say they are there. people they meet. “People understand that abuse is a broader social phenomenon.”thought Pierre.

Faith and joy

If festival-goers feel tired, they run away in frustration. The days are long and not all spectators are eager to meet her. But “Seeing my inner struggles gave me the certainty that my faith was advancing.” Says Anne Solin, who is participating in the Street Missionary Festival for the second time. Missions push me to dig into myself and discover the treasures of my faith, Pierre adds, convinced that the words are distributed in the street “You’ll work one day or another”.

In the evening, the missionaries were talking about beautiful encounters: about this high school student who accepted a medal, about this unbelieving nurse with whom Pierre and Valentine discussed in detail the origin of evil and the place of women in the church. “I wondered first to what extent the Holy Spirit had guided me to it, Valentine’s Day Comments. And what I’ve learned is that you have to trust. »

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Festival organized since 2008

The Anuncio Street Missionary Association was founded in 2008 by architect Rafael Corno Thinard, a layman. Every summer, she organizes a festival that brings together about 200 young Catholics across France, as well as a few religious ones.

The theme for the 2022 edition, which took place from July 28 to August 7, was thirsty. The participants departed from Versailles and were distributed in twelve cities. They are first found in Marseille, as well as in Touquet (Pas-de-Calais), Malo-les-Bains (Nord), Pouliguen (Loire-Atlantique) and Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône).

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