It was with much sadness that I received the news that our friend and our brother had left us, but that’s normal. Yet, when I think of him and his life it is also a moment of joy. He was a great man who in spite of his small stature had a big heart for working men and women, and for all those who are victims of an unjust society.

I knew Jean-Marie for more than 30 years, when as chaplain to the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW) he came to England to help us develop our Movement and above all how we could improve the review of life. When Jean-Marie participated in a review of life with English activists, he would always listen attentively to what was being said and at the end of the sharing in a very humble way he would give his little reflection about what he had heard. Despite all the difficulties experienced by the activists Jean-Marie had the capacity to see the signs of hope, which are present in all the collective struggles and actions carried out for justice. Jean-Marie would always say, look here in this situation or in this action, ......

you can see the resurrected Jesus Christ. He is with you in your daily struggles. Jesus came into this world and by his life and action he showed us that the leaders of the Temple of Israel had forgotten what God wants for the powerless, the poor, the worker, each person who has been marginalised which is to be set free and liberated from their oppression. This is what you are engaging in with your friends, believers and non believers, to build the Kingdom of God here today.

Ten days ago I had the privilege of eating with Jean-Marie after he had give an excellent presentation about the history of the working class in his neighbourhood of Moulin to the members of the International Council of the WMCW. We spoke together about our friends and about the economic and political crisis in France, Great Britain and of course in Europe. As usual he was very interested in what was happening in the world. What struck me was that despite his age and weak health, he was involved in some groups of reflection in the home where he lived with his brother priests on the documents of Vatican II. He said to me “Paul it is necessary that we as church rediscover the spirit that came out of this Council”.

Right up to the end of his life he was faithful to his conviction that we have to announce the Good News in our daily life and engagements in a language accessible to everyone. When I look at the Church today and indeed the modern world that is broken by the current crisis, I am convinced that the Church and the World needs priests like our dear brother Jean-Marie. 

On behalf of the Movement of Christian Workers of England I would like to say that Jean-Marie was, is and will always be with us as a sign of hope for all who struggle for the realisation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Au revoir my brother, many thanks for all your friendship and for having shared a part of your life with me and my comrades and I ask you to pray for us so that we do not abandon the call of Jesus to construct the Kingdom of God here in our environment today.

Paul Edwards

Movement of Christian Workers

E-mail: - Registered Charity 1023531

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