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Candlemas at Sint-Kwinten’s

On Sunday 2 February, the Feast of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple, also known as Candlemas, many faithful gathered at Sint-Kwinten’s to celebrate the Eucharist, presided over by Father Juan Carlos, ss.cc., moderator of the Leuven pastoral zone.

 

candles mass

Children processed with candles during the Opening Rite and placed them around the statue of the African Virgin with child, decorated with a shawl from northern India.
 
 
The congregation was greeted by a lector with the following words:
A very warm welcome to all those parents who during this past year had your child baptized in this church, and to all the children, and to everyone celebrating with us today. During today’s Eucharistic celebration, we wish to emphasize that “being baptized” is not a momentary event, but rather an event that is the beginning of a long path of growing in faith.
 
 
We wish to make clear today tat we need each other on that journey. Together we are the Church of Jesus. Together we will pray for your children, and for all the children present here, that they may discover, through you, who Jesus is, and that they will come to see Jesus as their best friend and as the Light along their path.

At the reading of the Gospel (Luke 2:22-40) we heard the following verses:
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
 
 
In his homily, Father Juan Carlos said that this Gospel scene was repeated in a way when parents brought their children to be baptized in Sint-Kwinten’s church during the past year:
 
You came here to give thanks to the Lord for the birth of your children and to give them the chance to receive new life through the water and the Spirit. But, as Simeon told Mary, life will not be easy, because trying to live as a Christian nowadays is not so easy. Being a Christian is being ready to be considered as a sign of contradiction. But you are not alone, dear parents, in the task of raising your children as Christians. Today this faith community says to you: We stand by your side. We will support you, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
Some of the children, a father, and a mother read the Prayer of the Faithful. It was moving to listen to these young children praying for one another and for others.
 
 

 

For all people here in the church, that we are good and kind to each other, and continue to do what Jesus asks us to do.

And during the Offertory, children brought forward the bread and wine that became the Body and Blood of Christ.

 

At the end of the celebration, the children received a special blessing, and each one was prayed over by a priest.

During the blessing, the congregation sang:
 
Bless the children, Lord, take them into your arms. With your love, warm them over and over again.
 
Bless the children, Lord, and protect their lives. Give them Your grace over and over again.
 
Bless the children, Lord, keep them safe. Fragile and delicate now, make them strong for tomorrow.
 
 
 
After the Eucharist, following good Flemish tradition, a pannenkoeken (crêpe) feast was enjoyed by many in the Sint-Kwintenshuis.
 
 
 
Many thanks to everyone who made this celebration a deep moment of prayer and encounter with the Lord, and certainly also to all those who prepared the hundreds of crêpes.