As part of my summer experiment, I am currently helping out at the Chapel for Europe, in Brussels. It is a Catholic chapel with an ecumenical vocation, helped by the Jesuits, situated between the European Commission and the European Parliament. Its main focus is not parish work. Instead, its aim is to provide a place of prayer for the multilingual staff of the EU institutions. Adoration, morning prayer, Masses and ecumenical prayer lunches are held in chapel every week.
So far, we have also been running conferences and talks on themes such as Political Islam and Europe and Conflict Resolution.
It’s been good and I’m enjoying my time here. The city and people are very friendly and great to work with.
Last week the chapel helped host a Week for Hope, an event organised by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. It was series of prayerful conferences taking place in different locations in the city centre each with a contemporary theme and uses a saint as an example. For instance, the talk on Monday evening was on Fighting Organised Crime and used the example set by Blessed Pino Puglisi on how to do it. Other evenings have been about Blessed Hildegard Burjan and Women’s Role in Politics and Blessed John Henry Newman and Education.
Last week, we also had our own conference and we made it into a movie night for the young professionals working for the EU. We showed The Negotiator (starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey) and had someone come into talk about conflict resolution. It was a fascinating time and I think the people came away feeling that the evening was both entertaining and worthwhile.
Although, it wasn’t an evening with an overtly Christ centred theme, it did raise questions about values and perspective. Both of which got people thinking that it was an evening about what Christianity says about issues without Christ, the Church or Christianity being mentioned at all. This added to the though-provoking issues already raised in the evening.
As most of the European Parliament Members go on holiday during the summer, the movie night was the last evening event at the chapel until September.
Next week we return to Birmingham to reflect on our time away and go on a retreat later in the month.