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Grace upon grace: Our path to Sint Kwinten

Six years have already passed since we first came to the Sunday celebration in Sint Kwinten. Time flies! At that time we were married for three years, proud parents of our son Joachim and happily expecting Esther. Kim and I were both raised Catholic and were able to make the Christian faith our own in our student days. We met in the Christian student association Pharos, a group of students who came together regularly to pray, learn about the faith, and support and encourage each other on this path. After Pharos, we were and still are active in the Jerusalem community. So, although we participated in many Christian activities, we remained somewhat hungry in the area of liturgy and parish life. Experiences abroad strengthened us in the conviction that our longing for more was not unrealistic but a justified hunger and thirst for more.

Group photo of the Jerusalem Community

On the advice of a priest friend (then still a seminarian), we went to have a look at Sint Kwinten. Sam had been to Sunday Mass at the American College in the past, so he knew about the existence of this international group, but that was about it. Two things stand out from that first visit: the enormous reverence with which the liturgy was celebrated and the friendliness of the people. It was beautiful to see how everyone actively joined in praying during the Eucharist and how devotion was shown by regularly kneeling and bowing. Also the number of priests, altar servers and the incense were immediately noticeable: these are people who have a heart for the Eucharist! For them, it did not seem to be an weekly obligation or a routine, but a special encounter as the highlight of the week. Afterwards, a friendly French woman approached us: “Are you new here?” I always find it a bit awkward when you, as a local, are welcomed in your own country by someone from abroad. But it was nice to be noticed and talked to, and it certainly encouraged us to come back.

Our visit to Sint Kwinten had been gratifying, but at the same time we were left with a number of reservations. Is it feasible to be in church at 9 a.m. on Sunday? What about the language barrier for our children in the future? In the months that followed, we returned regularly, but not every week. Gradually, however, our love for the liturgy grew, and we noticed that we looked forward to attending the Eucharist in Sint Kwinten.

It took us a while to really get to know many people in the parish. We don’t regard ourselves as super social networkers, and with small children it is not always obvious to stay and talk after Mass. In recent years, this has changed, and we have gotten to know a lot of people better, including by participating in activities outside of Sunday Mass: TOOL (the couples group: Teams of Our Lady), the Men’s Group, hospitality… and by volunteering in various ways. We now really feel part of this faith community, and are happy to see the same faces every Sunday.

We would like to give special thanks to all the people who have been part of the community team over the years. Your care for the community and the liturgy has already been a great blessing to us. We hope to be able to contribute in the future so that Sint Kwinten can remain a place where people find new hope and find their way back to the Lord and his Church.

We would like to give special thanks to all the people who have been part of the community team over the years. Your care for the community and the liturgy has already been a great blessing to us. We hope to be able to contribute in the future so that Sint Kwinten can remain a place where people find new hope and find their way back to the Lord and his Church.

See you soon!

Sam and Kim