In Alsace, a year to celebrate Saint Odile

It is not certain that Saint Odile died in 720 – according to some sources, this death could have taken place in 721 or in 722 – and even less that she died on December 13. But for a long time, the tradition of the Church has fixed December 13, 720 as the death of this saint, born blind in the 8th century and who recovered her sight by being baptized.

Mgr Luc Ravel, Archbishop of Strasbourg, had therefore planned to open the jubilee year marking the 1300th anniversary of the death of the patroness of Alsace on April 13. In his third pastoral letter, published on December 10, 2019, he invited all Alsatians to commemorate the death of their patron saint, considering that a jubilee is “ a time of happy joy, of jubilation in the Lord, a time suitable for rebuilding our strength “.

But due to the global pandemic, the diocese has been forced to change its programming. It is finally this Sunday, December 13, 2020 that ” we open our jubilee on the date we were due to close it, explains Bishop Ravel to The cross. We will do it in the basilica of Mont Sainte-Odile, with around thirty people in person, but everything can be followed live on the website of the diocese.. “

Bishop Ravel will therefore open the Jubilee Door this Sunday with his main collaborators and invite all those who can to come up here, in an individual or family approach, to pass the Jubilee Door. ” All parish priests are invited to live the opening of the Great Jubilee in communion with us, elements of the homily and universal prayers having been sent to them for this purpose. », Continues the Archbishop of Strasbourg.

763 meters above sea level

While waiting for the faithful to return in groups to this mountain at 763 meters above sea level, which normally attracts 1.3 million visitors per year (1), the relics of Saint Odile will circulate from parishes to parishes, through the twelve zones. pastoral projects that cover the Bas-Rhin and the Haut-Rhin. ” We still have to find dates with the rector to circulate the reliquary », Specifies the Archbishop of Strasbourg.

As for the large gatherings that the diocese had planned to offer during the summer, in particular “ pilgrimages for elected officials, for bikers, for young people or for consecrated life ”, it is still too early to know if they will be possible in 2021.

There will always be time to organize them in February or March ”, estimates Mgr Ravel, who, as a former bishop in the armies, compares this situation of uncertainty and adaptation at the last moment to “the conduct”. This is not without destabilizing a little pastoral habits, since ” you have to have your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time “.


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