Father Henri Caffarel regarding the International Meeting

The reason for the importance of an International Meeting, explained by Father Henri Caffarel during the first International Pilgrimage of the END in 1954.


It is one of the joys, the pride of our generation to have, if not discovered, at least become aware of the Christian grandeur of Marriage. Conjugal love, paternity, maternity, procreation, the couple’s mission, do not mere evoke for us the realities on the earth, but also the sacramental realities, meaning the human realities transfigured by grace, bearers of grace, all of which speak of divine realities.

I have just said that it is one of the great examples of pride of our generation. Yes, and it is justified in a sense: we have sought, we have found, we congratulate ourselves on finding. But sometimes there is a note of naivety and self-sufficiency in our pride. We have found, yes, but because God has given. We ought not congratulate ourselves, but instead we ought to thank God.

For a long time now, I have dreamt of a great gesture to be accomplished by Christian couples, by which they would publically express to God their gratitude for belonging to this time in which his light has been granted.

This gesture will be our pilgrimage to Lourdes on June 5th, 6th and 7th.

A gesture of gratitude to God, “giver of all gifts.” But also, a gesture of gratitude to the Church.

Troppo influenzati da una educazione individualista, noi abbiamo spesso stentato a convincerci che i doni di Dio non ci vengono che nella Chiesa e dalla Chiesa – ciò che San Cipriano traduceva:nessuno ha Dio per Padre, se non vuole la Chiesa per madre. Queste ricchezze del matrimonio, bisogna comprenderlo bene, non sono in terre straniere che noi siamo andati a cercare, ma bensì nel tesoro inesauribile della nostra madre Chiesa. Noi le abbiamo ricevute dalle sua mani.

We have no right to keep it to ourselves, as misers and profiteers. Since we received from the Church, then the Church must be the first beneficiary. Our gratitude must not only be lip-service, but also, a gift of ourselves.

A gift of ourselves, an ardent and deliberate desire to put our couple in to the service of the Church:

  • to make our children the Church’s
  • to offer the Church with readiness those that God might call for “the highest service”
  • to work with all our strength to transmit what we have understood of marriage to so many couples who do not know this and who await it
  • to share in its missionary task, beginning with our parishes.

You ask me, why Lourdes? Because it is a Marian Year. Because our Teams are under the patronage of Mary and absolutely want to have her as the witness and guarantor of their gratitude and their promise.

In Henri Caffarel, Editorial published in the «MONTHLY LETTER TO THE TEAMS OF OUR LADY» in January 1954.