Saturday 19 May 2012

San Tropez Bravade

With Mgr Michael Hayes (centre) Curé of St Tropez with Fr Peter Watts (Curé of Grimaud) and other assistants during a break in the procession.

I was again fortunate to be in San Tropez for the Bravade this year, accompanying the statue through the town for an hour of its six hour procession through the town, ending with Benediction at midnight.  All the Bravadeurs (the remnant of the army and navy of the town) have to be born here to take part.  It's not just a once a year thing, though.  Every month many of them come to the monthly Mass for their patron, St Tropez.  They are not necessarily weekly practising Catholics but at least this popular piety built in to the life of the town keeps their connection to the church alive and active. This is particularly good as the Bravadeurs are all men and its good to see so many men at Mass, in these days when so many men seem alienated by the religion they experience in our catholic parishes.  (I think that the uniforms and guns must help as well!)  Most towns in the area have an annual Bravade (although St Tropez is one of the largest) always with the Church at the forefront and as the context for the celebration, focused on the patron saint of the town.

Some video footage of this years Bravade.

My thanks to the local priests whose hospitality made me so welcome and a part of things.  And to Bishop Mark Jabalé, Benedictine and former bishop of Menevia, who celebrated the main Mass this year and entertained us with some very amusing (but not shareable) stories of clerical blunders over lunch.
 Congratulations also to Mgr Hayes, who just  recently was installed as a Canon of the Cathedral by Bishop Dominique Rey - and yes, canons of Frejus-Toulon do get to wear a "pectoral cross"!
With Bishop Mark Jabalé

The Bravadeurs

 Mgr Hayes receives the salute.

The Procession

And the Saint himself!

1 comment:

The Rev. M. Forbes said...

What fun! I know nothing of the good Saint but the festival is great. Thanksso much.