The Night of Mary

Last weekend I took part in the first event by the Guild of Our Lady of the Garden Enclosed aimed at young adults: the Night of Mary. We gathered in the small hamlet of Warfhuizen, home of the shrine of Our Lady of the Garden Enclosed, for shared lunch and dinner, companionship, an introduction by hermit Brother Hugo on the topic of night, an afternoon walk through the Groninger countryside (below) to stretch the limbs and an evening candlelit procession to Our Lady at the shrine.

About a dozen young people came to spend the afternoon and take part in the procession, which was also open to adult pilgrims. We processed under a starlit sky, around the village cemetery and a field behind it (the only option in the village to walk a circle, unless we took a 15-kilometer detour in order to cross the canal), followed by a couple of very curious horses which managed to disrupt the prayer of Deacon Patrick, Brother Hugo and seminarian Sander leading the procession (the three fell into helpless laughter after a horse nuzzled the back of the deacon’s neck… a bit of a shocker in the dark!). At the shrine, we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a lot of personal prayer intentions. These intentions are not new at Holy Hour at the shrine, but the sheer number of them was.

For something of an impression, Ingrid created this short film:

There are some photos available at the website of the shrine, here.

Photo credit: Mercèdès Terlaak

Changing of the guard

Although it is not unheard of that an auxiliary bishop combines his duties with some other function, such as seminary rector (I am thinking of the case of Bishop Arthur Kennedy, auxiliary of Boston and rector of the St. John’s Seminary there, for one), that will not be the case in Haarlem-Amsterdam. Newly appointed Bishop Jan Hendriks will be taking up the duties of vicar general, but bidding his farewell to the Tiltenberg seminary.

In many ways, certainly in recent years, Msgr. Hendriks has become the face of the seminary. Under his direction, the Tiltenberg has grown (only three weeks ago, Msgr. Hendriks signed the contract for a new wing that will serve as a meeting hall and large lecture room), reflecting the steadily increasing number of students, now from at least four dioceses, living there. On my last visit there, a few years ago, when I stayed in the guest house, the rector expressed the concern that the guest rooms would soon be needed to permanently house new students. I do believe that a fair share of the credit for these developments can go to Msgr. Hendriks.

Now that the rector becomes a bishop, a successor needed to be found. And one has. At yesterday’s press conference Father Gerard Bruggink (left) was presented as the new rector  of the Tiltenberg. Fr. Bruggink has been the rector of the Marian pilgrimage shrine in Heiloo for the past couple of years, and before that he was a parish priest in Hilversum for ten years. At the moment, official sources inform us, he is working on a dissertation on the papal primacy, based on the life and works of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216).  From this we may gather that Fr. Bruggink has experience in pastoral parish work as well as a link with Mary, just like his predecessor. He is also a scholar, and is not unfamiliar with social media: on the website of the shrine, he keeps a regular blog.

Photo credit: RKK/Robbert Jan Bron