Neuhaus, 11 July 2009 – Some 1000 guests and co-workers of the Brothers of St John of God of the Bavarian Province went on a pilgrimage to Neuhaus, the birthplace of Bro. Eustace Kugler, on 11 July this year, to prepare themselves together for his Beatification which will take place on 4 October in Regensburg. The people of Neuhaus and the Brothers of St John of had worked together in very close contact for many weeks beforehand, to stage this event: the food had been prepared, a sumptuous altar had been built, a huge marquee had been erected, and a road paved with flowers had been laid...
"Firmly anchored to the earth, but at the same time projected towards heaven... That was Bro. Eustace Kugler. It was this that made him an enlightening figure, not only to his contemporaries but also for us today, who can warm our hearts in his love and learn from his example what it means to choose the path of perfection to which Christ invites us all," said the Bishop of Regensburg, Mgr Josef Ammer, in his homily at the Solemn Mass.
Before Mass, the pilgrims stopped over in the chapel dedicated to Bro. Eustace and again before his birthplace to pray and sing together. At the end of the Eucharist several representatives of the participating Centres belonging to the Bavarian Province were given five highly significant symbols of the life of Bro. Eustace: the man of prayer, the Christian man, the disabled man, the man at the service of others, and the artisan. The Brothers, Co-workers and Guests will study the symbols in greater depth between now and the date of the Beatification and will submit the results of their reflections on the eve of his Beatification, on Saturday 3 October, in Regensburg.
"Anchored to the earth - Projected towards heaven" - a profile of the life of Brother Eustace
"Stimulating, moving and full of feeling," was one comment on the musical entitled "Anchored to the earth, but projected towards heaven" on the life of Bro. Eustace, which was given its first public performance on 11 July at Reichenbach, which the Co-workers and Guests of the Order's Centre for the Disabled in Reichenbach offered as a tribute to the new Blessed by staging his life in 14 sequences.
Eleven of the scenes are played out to widely differing kinds of musical settings: the performance opens it with a three-voice choir, followed by a raucous blues, sacred music in Latin, followed by a pop song, and ending with a gentle meditative song inviting people to reflect... The different musical styles were intended to reflect Bro. Eustace's different life experiences. The songs were sung by the chorus of Co-workers and the chorus of the disabled Guests people from the Reichenbach Centre. The musicians, composers and authors are all Co-workers at the centre: Uli Doblinger, Katharina Mezei, Margit Scharl, Josef Schmid, Markus Niemeier, Alfred Stadler and Steibl.
It is also planned to stage a number of other performances after his Beatification in October.