Through their powerful intercession and enduring example of holiness, the saints in Heaven fulfill posthumous missions here on earth, even many years after the end of their earthly lives. Recently, St. Willibrord (658 – 739), Anglo-Saxon missionary, monk and bishop to Frisia (modern-day Luxembourg), has shown us once again the force of this ecclesial reality in the work of the New Evangelization in Europe.
Parish of St. Willibrord in Thailand Built by Lay Missionary Youth from Luxembourg
In August and September, our apostolic sisters in Luxembourg accompanied an archdiocesan lay missionary trip of one hundred and thirty youth to build a church in rural Thailand. His Excellency Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, archbishop of Luxembourg, personally traveled with the group, following months of preparation, formation and fundraising by the young adults.
During their mission trip to Thailand, the group also visited important cultural centers and received catechetical conferences.
This kind of experience of the globalized Church–the truly the “Catholic” (universal) Church–not only responds to the call for justice and charity by the urgent sharing of goods, but also awakens the hearts of modern young people to the possibilities and beauty of a life of service of Christ and His Church.
Arriving at the work site, they found the cement foundation prepared and a preliminary roof in place, but it was their work to extend the floors and to put up the walls in order to complete the structure.
Once finished, the new parish was dedicated to St. Willibrord with a procession of his statue and a Mass of dedication by the Archbishop of Luxembourg, successor to St. Willibrord! May this missionary saint continue to form young Christians for the local Church in Luxembourg as well as inspire souls to be ready to leave their homelands to serve Christ in their brothers abroad as he did.
St. Willibrord in the Renewed Contemplative Life of an Old Monastery in Luxembourg
Our contemplative sisters in Luxembourg of the Monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen recently were entrusted with the old Carmel Monastery in Cents as part of the work of the St. Irmina Foundation to provide a spirituality center in Luxembourg. In the early 8th century, St. Irmina gave land to St. Willibrord and sponsored the construction of the Abbey of Echternach for him and his missionary monks.
At the end of September, Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ sent a statue of St. Willibrord to our contemplative sisters as a patron of their prayer intention for the pastoral ministry of all the bishops of the Church. Like St. Willibrord, they too are missionary contemplatives in these lands who seek to bring Christ to souls through prayer. Read more about the arrival of the statue of St. Willibrord in English, and in French.
St. Willibrord and the New Evangelization
We ask through the intercession of St. Willibrord that the Holy Spirit once again enkindle the love for Christ in the hearts of young people to let themselves be transformed by that love as St. Willibrord was.
May the patrons of Luxembourg, Our Lady Consolation of the Afflicted and St. Willibrord, guide and protect all those young people who participated in the mission trip to Thailand, and may they intercede for our contemplative sisters in their hidden life of prayer in the heart of Europe!