Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 5–Bruges to Paris

We left for Paris in the morning and en route, we visited Reims, the city where the French Kings were traditionally crowned. A city made famous by St Remy, the Bishop who baptised Clovis the King of the Franks. We visited the Basilica of St Remy and also the Cathedral of Our Lady of Reims.

The Reliquary holding the remains of St Remy.

The sacristan was there and is a friend of our tour guide. On account of the friendship, he pulled the reliquary out of the enclosure so that we all could venerate by touching it.

This panel in the same basilica shows three baptisms that changed the course of human history. In the middle is the baptism of Our Lord. On the left, the baptism of Constantine. And on the right, the baptism of Clovis.

One of the tympana of Reims Cathedral. The large statue in the middle is Christ and the interesting scene on the left of His head is the Last Judgement. Leading the charge into Hell is a King, followed by a Bishop... It may have been that the artist was not paid enough for the artwork!!

On the north portal of the western façade stands the Smiling Angel. There is another angel depicted as smiling but that one is not visible as the central portal has been boarded up for restoration. That is the angel of the Annunciation.

The western façade of Reims Cathedral.

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all of the world...” I bumped into one of our parishioners. Victor Tee. It was really such a pleasant surprise to find someone from the Sacred Heart JB in Reims... our dear Victor is on work assignment in that part of the world. I had just celebrated Mass in the chapel located in apse of the Cathedral and was on my way to Paris....

A plaque indicating the exact location where Clovis was baptised in Reims Cathedral.

On the wall, at the bottom recesses, is an interesting prefigurement of Christ. Here, the priest Melchizedek is depicted as giving Holy Communion to Abraham dressed in the costume of a Mediaeval Knight.

Image

Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 3

Dear parishioners of the Sacred Heart.

Somehow or rather, the day one travels is counted in the pilgrimage as Day 1. Hence, arrival into Brussels was Day 2. Y’day was our Day 3 and today, we leave Belgium to enter into France. For me, it is a rather sombre day only because we have to give the grand dame of Paris brought down by fire a miss.

Be that as it may, Day 3 was a fruitful reminder of the Camino which I walked on last year. Across the road at the traffic junction, there was the ubiquitous sign of Santiago de Compostela—a metallic scallop shell. Indeed we spent the whole day trudging through a city which lays claim to the title of Venice of the North—Bruges.

We attended a public Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer (the Sint Salvatorskathedraal). It was almost unrecognisable but not on account of the language. Instead, the priest almost did not follow the rubrics of the Mass—only one reading from the Old Testament and the Gospel. There was no penitential rite and the congregation sat until the eucharistic prayer where everyone was invited to stand near the altar.

Amongst the holy places we visited was the minor basilica of the Holy Blood of Jesus. I tried to sneak a picture, not of the vial itself but of the chapel but was politely told that it was not possible. Fortunately the guide took a picture of it.

On y va à Paris.
Au revoir
Padre

Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 1 & 2

Dear parishioners of the Sacred Heart.

I was here in the Cathedral of Ss Michael Archangel and Gudula of Brussels yesterday. We landed and after claiming our luggage made our way to the Cathedral. I lit a candle for the parish community, giving thanks for the successful Family Day.

I have a lot to thank all of you for your support of the event. This is the start of a French pilgrimage. One of the places I will go to is the Convent in Paray le Monial, where our Beloved Lord in His Sacred Heart appeared to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Brussels is not a beautiful city. It is functional, being the “capital” of the European Union. We came to Bruges and will be attending the public Mass in the cathedral later...

God bless,
Fr Simon Yong

St Michael the Archangel
Cathedral of Ss Michael and Gudula
St Gudula

There are two minor basilicas, one on top of the other. The Minor Basilica of St Basil—amongst the things seen inside. Aptly the symbol of the life-giving death of the Lord—the pelican that feeds its young with its own blood. And the Ecce Homo—Behold the Man.

The basilica on top of the Basilica of St Basil is where the Vial of the Blood of Jesus kept. The reliquary in which the relic is kept and taken for procession.