In Haute-Loire, the project to build a calvary receives unexpected support

In Haute-Loire, the project to build a calvary receives unexpected support

A few kilometers from Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire), Mathieu Bourdilleau will erect an ordeal in his garden. To finance this evangelizing project, the launch of a participatory prize pool mobilized well beyond expectations.

The 8,000 square meter land is a green setting in this village of Saint-Vincent (Haute-Loire) of nearly 1,100 inhabitants. Established here for ten years, the Bourdilleau family has an original project: erecting a five-meter-high calvary in their garden.

Mathieu, the father of this large family of five children, sums up the genesis of this initiative: “the fauna and flora evolve so freely all around us… We wanted to put the creator back in the middle of his creation”. Located a few meters from the road to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle which connects Lyon to Puy-en-Velay, the ordeal will be “a visible anchor point and illustrates the dynamic of evangelization in our rural environments”, continues this former 39-year-old SNCF agent now a stay-at-home father. Through this act, the family, already involved in various Catholic activities such as scouts or patronage, hopes to “announce the good news”.

An unexpected outpouring of support

With the support of the local bishop Mgr Yves Baumgarten and the SOS Calvaire association, an online prize pool was launched at the beginning of March 2024 to finance the construction of the monument, the delivery of raw materials and the installation. In just over a month, the goal set at 5,500 euros was already reached. “The momentum and enthusiasm generated reinforced our approach,” says Mathieu Bourdilleau, surprised to have a wide diversity of donors. “The majority are young people under 35 and people far from the Church, it is both unexpected and pleasing. We are touching on popular piety,” he continues. While a blacksmith has already offered to offer a bronze plaque, young people have already committed to lending a hand to erect the cross.

We touch popular piety

Matthew Bourdilleau

Despite the success of this collection, the project is not unanimous, some residents denounce an intrusion of religious fact into the public domain or are worried about the densification of the passage in the surrounding area. However, if since the law of separation of Church and State of 1905, it is prohibited to affix or raise a religious sign or emblem in public spaces, it is still possible to do so on the private property. Thus, the implementation should take place in the spring of 2025, in view of the next Jubilee in April at the Vatican.

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