Emmanuel and Paray-le-Monial
The link between the Emmanuel Community and Paray-le-Monial, the ‘town of the Heart of Jesus’, was made by its founder, Pierre Goursat. The Community had scarcely started when it organised the first gathering of the French Catholic Charismatic Renewal at Vézelay in 1974. The following year Pierre Goursat decided that the gathering would be held in Paray-le-Monial. Bishop Maurice Gaidon was the newly appointed auxiliary Bishop of Autun. He welcomed the Community warmly, “In this year of 1975”, he said later, “I came to Paray-le-Monial to preach the message of Love unloved. I met my brothers in the Renewal and I joined in their fervent and happy prayers. I then realised the link established in the Gospel of St John between the pierced side of Christ and the living water that flowed out”. In 1986, John Paul II came to Paray-le-Monial and gave a new spiritual and missionary impetus to the shrine. Today the shrine is entrusted its chaplains who are priests in the Emmanuel Community.
To visit Paray-le-Monial, where Christ appeared to a Visitation nun in the seventeenth century is to return to the source of grace given by the Holy Spirit: ‘From his heart shall flow streams of living water’ (John 7:37-39)
The message of Paray-le-Monial is unique. The Heart of Jesus, that is to say, Jesus himself, His human Heart, which is alive, reveals to us God’s love. It is primarily a story of love and deep friendship with Jesus, who is true God and true man. Christ invites us all to live this adventure!
The Emmanuel gatherings in Paray-le-Monial have become the International Sessions which are for many a place of healing through conversion and an encounter with Christ. This is a marvel to those who witness it.
Since the early days there are 7 or 8 sessions each year which bring together up to 20,000 participants. There are sessions for families and for all, with programmes for Travellers, for the unmarried, for those divorced and remarried, for retired people and for children and adolescents. Young people aged 18-25 meet at the International Youth Forum .
For the rest of the year in Paray-le-Monial there is the Zacchaeus Forum, the Winter Youth Forum, the Symposium on Bioethics, meetings for medical personnel. There are also many other events such as retreats led by the chaplains for retired people, for women or for men and for priests. There is also the program for the Easter Triduum.
To find out more:
· The message of the Sacred heart
· Sessions at Paray-le-Monial
· The web-site dedicated to the Sessions: www.sessions-paray.com