August 15: Regional Jubilarians Day Netherlands

This year’s jubilarians:

Bernard van Spaandonk 40 years

Ko Klaver and Frans Meulemans 50 years

Hans Boerakker, Cor Rothweiler, Pierre Spanjers 60 years

Eddie Karhof and Theodora Slot 65 years

August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady, is the traditional date for celebrating all jubilarians hailing from the Dutch Region.

This year’s celebration had a particularly festive character, a collective sigh of relief, after a two year hiatus occasioned by Covid-19. Moreover General Superior, Michael Corcoran and General Councillor, Gerry Hastie, graced the occasion with their presence.

The Jubilarians Hans Boerakker, Cor Rothweiler and Pierre Spanjers concelebrated the Eucharist.

Pierre Spanjers, Cor Rothweiler, Hans Boerakker

Here’s an extract from Cor Rothweiler’s homily:

Cor Rothweiler

Coming together, exchanging thoughts and experiences. Mary and Elizabeth must have done the same when they met. It is therefore very fitting that this jubilee feast is always celebrated on the feast of Mary. She dared to set out, to undertake a journey that was not without its dangers. She felt driven to tell the Good News about how God had intervened in her life. She wanted to share that with others. She brought Jesus in person and Elizabeth cannot find the words to thank her for that.

Is there a more beautiful picture of the missionary going on a journey to let others share in the faith of redemption and liberation? The jubilarians did that, each in their own way.

We are on a journey, not just this morning to come here. The jubilarians day is a snapshot of that journey, which we took long ago, to look back on what lies behind us and also to look to the future with confidence.

Travel apparently is in people’s blood. It means to set out, to go out, to search, to gain new impressions and experiences. To travel is to leave somewhere, go somewhere else, then arrive there and finally come home again. Thus, we can think today of how the journey of each person’s vocation has been, what it was like to undertake the journey to other countries, other people with their own cultures and customs. It has been a pilgrimage From ancient times to this day, there are people who travel for religious reasons .

They go on a pilgrimage to holy places, go on a hike for themselves for clarification and orientation in their lives, contemplate the Secret of existence as they walk, or contemplate with others on a theme related to what is going on in the world. their lives, in church and society. They are all representations of the general fact that traveling does something to you: it broadens your perspective, you get to know new worlds, you are confronted with the values in another culture and of course also with yourself.

Among us are those who have taken a long walk in the footsteps of many before them. Something happened to them. There are also many travel reports, sometimes in the form of a book, to share these experiences with others. This only partially succeeds, because each and every one of them is a unique experience. This way every jubilee also has that about his own life.

Because of the changes that travel can bring about in people, in all times and cultures the idea of a journey, road, path and journey has become an image of life and way of life with the accompanying spiritual development. The Jesus’ movement is typified in the Acts of the apostles even without further addition as the way, as the New Way.

And thus, travel can become an image of all spiritual life, because the soul goes on foot and asks for attentive life. Whoever goes on a journey gives his soul the opportunity to call for attention.

How interesting it would be if each jubilarian could tell his own story about the beginning of his journey as a pilgrim of God and how it went on.

On the back of the booklet, the jubilarians look at us.

Some are classmates, others we got to know in the areas where they worked. Others only when they came to retire, here in Vrijland or St. Jozefhuis.

We celebrate the feast of Mary. We know Mary’s attitude to God’s election that she would become the mother of the Saviour. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.” How should all this be done, was her question. A certain reticence perhaps. Some people notice that even when it comes to celebrating a jubilee:

“Is all that really necessary”, is their response. I just did what was expected of me.

It may sound Biblical, but on the other hand, it can lead to a denial of one’s self-esteem.

Jubilees are celebrated to reflect on the positive in life. We didn’t get there alone. We have received support from family, friends, colleagues, but above all from Him, who, as once the Emmaus travellers, accompanied us. In difficult days of uncertainty, of doubt, in finding a way in all developments in church and society, He has been with us. That is why we are here not only to meet, but to sing, like Mary, God’s praise: “With all my heart I praise the Lord, with all my breath I rejoice in God my Saviour, for he has looked to his humble servant. for great things hath the Mighty One done for me. Holy is his name.’

Our journey continues. As missionaries we are nomads and like them we too are becoming rare. In the footsteps of Abraham and like so many women and men in the course of Church history we have left our own home, our own country on our way to the land that God would show us.

And because this travel has become part of our identity as the song expresses it:

“Living everywhere nowhere at home ” it is sometimes difficult to relax in a home when the journey comes to an end and to really experience this home as home.

If you were thrown back on yourself during the journey, then that applies to an even higher degree now.

It is then good to be able to celebrate a jubilee together with your fellow brothers and sisters. You are not alone. Your fellow travellers are with you.

The manager of Care Institution ‘Warm Hart’ at Vrijland, who doubles as professional cook, provided a delicious lunch.

A beautiful day it was!!

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