Last Friday ten of our diocesan priests left for Rome. They will be joining priests from all over the world gathering with Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy (June 1 - 3)
It all started last year when two of them came to share with me their wish to be part of the Jubilee celebrations in Rome.
It was not the first time this would be done in our diocese. I had seen photos of some of them in Rome for the year for priests (2009 - 2010). I agreed and just asked them to keep me informed of the details and progress.
In any case, fundraising for such a group was not a small challenge. To make it more difficult the Euro became stronger in the last few months.
The people of our parishes asked us just one thing: "Let us know how much we should contribute to make this possible". There is a tradition in our diocese that the bishop's office indicates to each parish the amount needed when organising a diocesan event (the diocesan pilgrimage, an ordination, a funeral...). They all submitted their contribution on time.
A month before leaving, a final fundraising event was held in most of the parishes and with that, they were practically able to cover the tickets, accommodation and part of their meals. So, all these was paid by the parishes and not by the bishop's office!
This was no small effort at a time when our country is experiencing - among other things - the effects of one of the worse droughts of its history. Still, the people remained committed to their usual contribution and added this extra one.
It is difficult to express how grateful the priests and myself are for such a generous support. May God bless you all!