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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. ALAIN THOMASSET, A.A.

Fr. ALAIN THOMASSET, A.A.

Fr. Alain Thomasset, A.A.

Interviewer – Fr. Alain, would you share with us a bit about your background with regard to your family, childhood and early education?

Fr. Alain Thomasset, A.A. – I was born in 1967 in Brussels, Belgium, the oldest of four children. My two sisters, one brother and I went a catholic elementary school. When I was 17, two young people came to the school I was attending to give witness to the Maranatha Community located in our city. After a period of discernment, I felt called to share in the life and mission of the brothers.

– Would you say more about this community, its history and present life?

– The Maranatha Community was founded by a Belgian Assumptionist, Fr. Mutien Lambert, A.A. in the late 1970s. He had been greatly involved with the Charismatic Renewal movement both at the national and international levels. Fr. Mutien believed that the influence, life and spirit of the movement could be translated and applied to daily life by the coming together of both young people and families who sought a prayer centered life, wanting to live a more intense community life. We are about 90 members today who yearly go apart together to make a retreat. Some members of the community desire a deeper commitment to the community which is spelled out in a charter. This commitment is on a yearly basis and includes prayer, both personal and communal, fraternal life whether single, married or religious and evangelization.

– How did your formation as an Assumptionist take place within this context?

– After my novitiate in 1987-1988, I did my four years of philosophy and then four years of theology. I was ordained on May 15, 1996 in Brussels. Following ordination I was assigned to the parish in which we lived as an assistant priest. I greatly enjoyed this work mostly because I had always worked with young people even as a student. In 1997 I joined an ecumenical group, as I was very interested in the dialogue with the Anglican community. From 2000-2005, I did doctoral studies in theology at Louvain-La-Neuve in Brussels where I focused my thesis on the work of Blessed John Newman. At the same time I was a teacher’s assistant at the school. My interest in Cardinal Newman began while I was in the novitiate when I read his autobiography. As a result I began to study and think through his eyes and eventually to teach in the way of Newman. What also piqued my interest during my studies was reading and doing research on the Anglican period and the church during that time. Cardinal Newman’s life and specifically his faith journey, continues to affect my life and teaching.

– What assignment followed your doctoral studies?

Fr. Alain - From 2005-2008 I was assigned to Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Brussels which includes a campus belonging to Louvain and where I worked part time with young adults. In 2008-2009 it was suggested that I come to Assumption College in Worcester, MA to teach a course on Cardinal John Henry Newman for a semester. So now at last I am conducting an independent study course on him along with a Bible course in the theology department.

– Where will your ministry take you when you return home?

– When I return to the Maranatha Community, I will continue my parish ministry and a weekly Saturday evening prayer group, teaching classes in the diocesan seminary for French speaking students and facilitating the ‘friends of Fr. d’Alzon’ group which meets monthly, promoting his cause for beatification.

– What is your vision/hope for the future of the Church and/or the congregation?

– Speaking only from my perspective and experience in Belgium, I see that the Church has been suffering for several years and attendance at worship has been poor, especially by the young. Now however, we have a new Archbishop who is reaching out to the young to catechize, to bear witness to Christ and His gospel, making himself accessible to people at every opportunity. And the good news is that it is working! This is a very hopeful sign for Belgium. I also believe that for us ministering is the spirit of Fr. d’Alzon, we are strengthened by his idea and belief that Christianity needs to reach the heart through the mind if we want to transform society. This is very timely in the world of today. I am hopeful for the future of the Assumptionists that the Lord will use our gifts, talents and capacities to proclaim the Kingdom, not knowing the future but moving us forward in faith with kindness toward Christ our Light.

 
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