Vic, Spain. On the eve of the 150th death anniversary and Solemnity of St. Anthony Mary Claret, a small group of Claretians gathered together at the crypt of our beloved Father Founder in Vic to pray before his sepulcher. Among those present were Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF (General Superior), Fr. Gonzalo Fernandez, CMF (Vicar General), Fr. Ricard Costa-Jussà, CMF (Provincial Superior of Sanctus Paulus) and his council members living in the Barcelona area, the CESC Team and community members of Vic.
The vigil opened in silence, and a candle is lit in the darkness. Father General makes the sign of the cross, and Fr. Gonzalo made the introduction. The Apostolic Prayer of Claret prepared by La Casa Sul Pozo (Communità di Via Gaggio Onlus) served as the opening hymn.
One of the highlights of the vigil is the dialogue made by Father General and Fr. Gonzalo in front of our Father Founder. They thanked St. Anthony Mary Claret for having been the mediation chosen by the Lord to call each one to the missionary life. They related to him the struggles and efforts, the congregation members’ weaknesses, and strengths in living the demands of missionary life and preaching the Word to the present world. They prayed for the entire Claretian Family and for more vocations in the Congregation so that we may continue to contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God.
Due to the pandemic the world is suffering from right now, the planned grand celebrations were reduced to the simplest possible – confined in a small crypt, with a handful of missionaries around the lighted candle representing Claret. Perhaps this is how the celebrations are meant to be – like that of Father Claret’s last moments on earth – a handful of missionaries and monks of the monastery around him.
Despite gathering in a small number, the situation also opened the venue for more people to celebrate. Representatives of some of the different branches of the Claretian Family expressed their greetings and words of oneness with the Congregation in digital form. The members of the General Government of the Congregation who weren’t able to join physically also rendered their greetings digitally. The entire vigil was transmitted through the iClaret channel and official Facebook Page of the Congregation.
Before the final blessing, a group of young people from Chile rendered the song “Misionero Ideal” that served as the vigil’s closing hymn.