One year ago today (May 20th) I was indeed far from contemplating a voyage to New York!
In the week following Easter 2012, as the priests of Emmanuel were having fun gliding over the limy bay of Mount Saint Michel, Dominique-Marie David (head of priests for the Emmanuel Community) approached me about a possible mission in Gainesville, Georgia, I had previously spent some time there on mission in 2006 and 2007. Needless to say, accepted immediately! Weeks and months went by. I lived a happy “advent like” six months, waiting for an expected answer from the bishop of Atlanta. It never came. Easter 2013 arrived.
Every year in Tréguier, France, the feast of Saint Yves drives crowds to the old cathedral. Each year a bishop is invited to preach before thousands of pilgrims. Cardinals Roncalli and Daniélou were once the guests of Saint Yves. On May 19th, 2013, the Archbishop of Rennes, Pierre d’Ornellas was the one to preside. Unfortunately, Mgr Pierre was kept in bed with the flu and another bishop had to be found.
The bishop of Le Mans, France, Yves Le Saux happened to be free. Yves is Breton born and one of the first priests of the Emmanuel community. Yves came and preached. He shared: “I remember coming here, as a tourist when I was 17 years old. I stood by that pillar, over there. If only I had known that one day I should be the bishop to preside at the Saint Yves’ feast! Watch out! he said and always be ready to welcome a surprise from the Lord!”
On the following day, as I was home, Dominique-Marie called me on the phone and said ” Dominique? Since you are not going to Gainesville, we have been thinking of another mission for you…But we don’t want your answer now, take your time…”
I replied “Look, I was at the Saint Yves’ feast day celebration yesterday at the Tréguier Cathedral and Yves Le Saux was preaching. He told us ‘always be ready to welcome a surprise from God!’ Therefore, I accept the surprise without hesitation. Where will the mission be?” Dominique-Marie replied “It is Larchmont, New York.”
And so here I am!