An Interview with Father Jean-Claude Lange
Translated by Gordon Henry
The relics of the blessed Martin spouses, the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, were at the Church of Sainte-Thérèse of Metz from November 25, 2011 through November 28, 2011. An interview with Father Jean-Claude Lange, pastor of the Community of the Parishes of Saint Chodregang.
"Why have you chosen to welcome the relics of the Martins at your church?"
Every year hundreds of our friends and benefactors ask us to entrust their prayer intentions to Thérèse. Many say that she has always been with them, listened to them, protected them, and given them graces. Many also ask us to pray for couples in difficulty, for parents who no longer see their children, for children who are sick or who have lost their faith, for a child in prison and so on. Who better than a mother and father can understand these requests? Whence the decision to welcome the relics of the Martins. Also, some couples of our parish were present at the Beatification in 2008, and they suggested the idea of bringing the relics to Metz. Finally, one other important reason: many young couples with four or five children are active in our parish. This period of veneration of a blessed couple could be, for them, a time of grace.
"Parents beatified, a daughter canonized and made a Doctor of the Church - is this not exceptional?"
The Martin family is a holy modern family that offers a response to the violent attacks the family suffers in our day. Zélie wanted to be saint and prayed that her daughters might be saints. They were a couple who lived completely in love and produced marvelous fruits. Even Léonie, the most difficult of the Martin daughters, who became a Visitandine nun, would die venerated as a saint. Such is what the love of God, lived and shared, can do. As St. Thérèse wrote: " The Good Lord caused me to be born on holy ground. "
"How is the event organized?'
The event is organized around important aspects of the life of the Martins and Thérèse:
- prayer with young people and children;
- prayer with mothers;
- prayer for the sick;
- prayer for vocations with the parents of priests and religious;
- prayer for the missions;
- the blessing of married couples;
- the blessing of children;
- and Eucharistic adoration, so dear to the heart of Louis Martin.
There will also be a solemn Mass, as well as two conferences, "The Ordinary Family" and "The Extraordinary Family".
"What should we expect from this event?"
We will await the graces that God wishes to grant us. . . knowing that the greatest are those that we receive from the Eucharistic adoration, which has been perpetual since 2007. We hope also for the success of our "alpha course," and ( why not?) that our church will become known as the church of the Martin family.
"What does the veneration of relics mean in today's world?"
Some people ask us what the reliquary contains. True, it is a matter of the mortal remains of the Martins. But this means little. We welcome not bones, but friends, a couple, a holy family who can accompany us on the path of holiness.