The pilgrims whose journey we are following in spirit spent two days exploring the beautiful Catholic history of Belgium, with an emphasis on Blessed Edward Poppe:
While the Pilgrims traveled from Aachen to Temse, Belgium, Fr. Wegner wove examples from the life of Blessed Edward Poppe into the group’s meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Fr. Edward was a Belgian priest of Temse called the Apostle of the Eucharistic Crusade. His motto was, “I would rather die than serve God halfway.” He was a parish priest who died at the young age of 33 in 1924, and who, in his short lifetime, worked tirelessly for the sanctification of priests.
“Fr. Poppe was a Franciscan Tertiary,” said Fr. Wegner. “He manifested the spirit of poverty like St. Francis, and he gave up three things he loved: his violin, which he played very well, his wine, and his cigar. Consider his example as you meditate on the Third Joyful Mystery.”
The pilgrims visited the house where Blessed Edward was born in 1890 before continuing on to the city of Ghent in the northwest of Belgium, where they visited St. Bavo’s Cathedral. Housed within the Cathedral is the “Ghent Altarpiece,” a masterpiece of the 15th century, painted by Jan Van Eyck.
The group then journeyed to Bruges.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving us Blessed Edward Poppe.Through his intercession graciously hear our prayer. Grant that our love for your Son, for His Church, and for the Blessed Eucharist may increase. May his testimony encourage many to live as true Christians. May his example inspire young men to become priests for today. Hasten the day of his glorification in the communion of Your saints. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, His and our Mother. Amen.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Blessed Edward Poppe, Pray for us!
A walking tour of the historic city of Bruges is how the pilgrims spent the day. In Medieval times, the city was a major port and source of commerce. Its Golden Era ended in the 16th century, however, and the population steadily declined. The economic reversal also meant that the old architecture of the city was left intact, so that when Bruges began to strive again in the late 20th century, it’s beautiful old medieval churches and buildings contributed to the city becoming a popular destination for tourists.
At the conclusion of the walking tour, the pilgrims visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which houses a relic of the precious Blood of Our Lord, collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land after the Second Crusade.
The next destination was the Beguinage, the home of the Beguines. They were often younger daughters that would not marry. They made the two vows of chastity and obedience and would live in the Beguinage, a part of the city that was reserved to women. In the Beguinage they would obey the superior, do mainly works of charity but would also work in trades to provide for the community. The Beguines had several times of prayer in common.
Mass was in the afternoon in the Jerusalem Chapel, which is modeled on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and contains a replica of Christ’s tomb. At the conclusion of Mass, the pilgrims were permitted to venerate a relic of the True Cross.