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Celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Ladislas Radigue and three Companions


On Saturday, 29 May, 2021, as part of the wider jubilee celebrations in the Archdiocese of Paris, I was at Picpus to commemorate those of our religious community who died in the Paris Commune of 1871. 

The meeting began at Picpus Chapel at 9.30 with a conference entitled "Living and dying for the love of Christ", prepared by Alberto Toutin, Superior General, together with the General Archivist Fr. Eric Hernout.  Whereas Fr. Eric gave an outlining of the historical context of the events 1871, Fr. Alberto focused on the figures of our four brothers, shot during the Paris Commune. As he was unable to travel to Paris, Fr. Alberto gave his contribution to the gathered assembly via the Internet.

At 11.00 a solemn Eucharist began, presided over by Fr. Christian Flottes, the Provincial of the French Province.  Present at the mass was Fr. Jean-Marie Dubois, the Chancellor of the Paris Curia, priests representing the various communities of Picpus, confreres from other communities of the SSCC French Province, SSCC Sisters with Sr. Goyi Marin, General Councilor.  Representatives of the Congregation of Religious of St. Vincent de Paul were also present:  Fr. Bertin Sanon, Superior General, Fr. Gilles Morin, the Provincial Superior and Fr. Yvon Sabourin, the General Postulator, who gave the homily. Fr. Andrzej Lukawski - General Postulator – on behalf of the Superior General and both SSCC Communities in Rome, with the help of Fr. Remi, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the organizers of the jubilee celebrations and to all the participants.

Earlier, on 26 May, our confreres: Christian Flottes, Remi Liando and Andrzej Lukawski participated in the solemn Eucharist at the Notre Dame de la Salette Parish in Paris, led by the Religious of St. Vincent de Paul, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Henri Planchat - the first priest of this Congregation who is buried in this very place in a special chapel that also contains the remains of the Founder of the Congregation.

The afternoon celebration began at 3 p.m. with prayer at the tomb of our Founders in the historic cemetery in Picpus, where, since 2010, our four Martyrs have been buried: Fr. Ladislas, Fr. Marcellin, Fr. Frezal and Fr. Polycarp.

The last part of Saturday's celebrations was our participation in the “March of hostages and martyrs” organized by the Parish of Notre Dame des Otages in Paris.  It was planned that the march would follow the same route as on that day in May, 1871 (26), when our Confreres and other hostages were taken from la Roquette prison to the place of the execution on Rue Haxo. The march, which was well organized, was chaired by Mons. Denis Jachiet, auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Paris, with the active participation of the young choir singers from Picpus and our brother Antoine Mennecier, who were responsible for leading the singing.   The March was attended by several hundred people and unfortunately encountered unexpected resistance. It so happened that numerous groups of left-wing and communist organizations and people sympathetic to the ideas of the Paris Commune were celebrating the end of their jubilee celebrations in nearby restaurants, located on the route of the March. The organizer of the March, Fr. Stéphane Mayor, the parish priest of Notre Dame des Otages, stated that usually the dates of the anniversary celebrations organized by the church side and left-wing organizations do not coincide. This year, unfortunately, they did coincide, which meant, that during the March, the participants were almost all the time accompanied by malevolent gestures and shouts, that disturbed the common prayer. Unfortunately, there was also a physical attack on the participants of the March by a group of extreme left-wing militants, as a result of which two people were injured. The accumulation of activities of the Commune supporters took place at the Third Station located at the Notre Dame de la Croix church. After finishing some prayers, the March moved towards the penultimate Station. Unfortunately, just behind the church, those opposed to the March used the narrow part of the road to prevent the participants from passing freely. The police negotiations did not produce results and so, for safety reasons, the organizers decided to stop the March and finish with a prayer in the nearby church of Notre Dame de la Croix.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZTqWOyzKeA

For photo album, please click this link: https://cutt.ly/BndZayo