The Chapel of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin
St. Thérèse Church, Metz, France
An interview with Father Jean-Claude Lange
On Sunday, September 30, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., Bishop Raffin inaugurated a chapel dedicated to Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin in the Church of Sainte-Thérèse of Metz. Following is an interview with Father Jean-Claude Lange, pastor of the Community Parishes of St. Chrodegang, which include the church of Sainte-Thérèse.
Why have a chapel dedicated to Louis and Zélie Martin?
In November 2011, our parish hosted the relics of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin for three days. Many couples were deeply affected by the exemplary Christian life of the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This chapel will offer these couples, most of them young people with children, a place where they can come and pray and entrust their children to the Martin spouses.
Each year we receive from throughout the diocese prayer intentions sent to St. Thérèse. When parents ask us to pray for a ten-year old-child suffering from leukemia, a little girl of two years suffering from a genetic disease, a couple about to be separated, children who are estranged from their parents for years, a childless couple . . . when they ask us to pray for the return of peace in the family or for a child to return to the path of God (we could add dozens of intentions, all cries of parents) . . . I said that we must entrust all this suffering to parents who understand these painful situations because they have lived them.
Louis and Zélie Martin experienced the worst suffering: the loss of four children in infancy. They struggled with their daughter Léonie, a difficult child, unstable . . . one who seemed to them the farthest from God. Zélie's sister even called Léonie "a terrible little girl!" The Martins were parents who led all their children to God, a couple who were engaged in works of charity, a couple who regularly prayed with their children, a couple who had experience with sickness.
How can Louis and Zélie Martin help us to live as Christians today?
Their holiness is truly for our time, for families experiencing pain and turmoil. This is a couple and a holy family who offer a response to the violent attacks on the family in today’s world. We are told that holiness is possible in ordinary life as spouses and parents. Holiness is not reserved for popes, bishops, priests, and religious! Thus, with the opening of the chapel dedicated to Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the church of St. Thérèse becomes a church of the Martin family and also the church for today's families.
Where is the chapel dedicated to the Martin spouses located?
This Sunday, September 30, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., Bishop Raffin will inaugurate the chapel of the Blessed Martins and will enshrine their relics. This chapel is near that of St. Thérèse, where there is also a shrine. Between the two chapels, there is the choir with the altar, as if to mark the heart of the church where we must pray and worship. The Eucharist was at the heart of the life of the Martin family, and it is at the heart of our lives as well. In our church, where the Eucharist is celebrated and perpetually adored (since April 2007), we do not worship relics--we worship Jesus in the Eucharist! The Martin family will help us to love Jesus and to make Him loved, as little Thérèse liked to say.
This article was published on the website of the Diocese of Metz, France. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of Father Jean-Claude Lange.