The young men are making a 5-month road trip pilgrimage from France to the Holy Land.
Gonzague and Théophile, two 22-year-olds from Angers, France, left in November 2021 to travel by motorcycle to the Holy Land. They plan to arrive in February 2022, where they will give all the prayer intentions entrusted to them, and for which they will have prayed along the journey, to a monastery.
Before leaving for five months, Gonzague and Théophile made a commitment to pray the Rosary every day.
What pushed these two young professionals who just started working —Gonzague is a hearing aid acoustician, and Théophile is an accountant — to embark on such an adventure?
After a year at the Emmanuel School of Charity and Mission, which they attended alongside their work, they wanted to “continue the mission and put themselves at the service of others and of the Lord,” as they explained on French Catholic radio station RCF-Anjou.
The two friends put themselves at the service of others every day by praying for intentions entrusted to them, which they will give to the monastery of Our Lady of Palestine in Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, in February.
People open their hearts to them
In the meantime, they pray for an intention with each decade of their daily Rosary. They have intentions they took with them from the start, those they receive by e-mail, and those given to them in person as they travel.
“As soon as we meet people, believers or not, we ask them if they want us to pray for them,” explain the young men, admiring some who “say they don’t believe” but still open their hearts to them.
But how do they do it when they don’t speak Italian or Bosnian?
“We said to Jesus, ‘If you want us to talk about you, make it happen.’” And each time they meet people, “there’s always someone who speaks a little French.”
Having left with just a few pieces of luggage, they find lodging through chance encounters. “We wanted to let ourselves be carried by Providence. We’ve always been welcomed by monasteries or by families,” they say with joy.
After crossing the Alps and Italy, Gonzague and Théophile arrived on December 4 for a stop in Bosnia, where they were scheduled to help Reconciliation, an association of young people in difficulty, for three weeks. There, they redid the bathroom of an adjoining house for the homeless.
They restarted their motorcycles on December 27, heading for Greece and then Israel, where they will visit the nuns of Beit Shemesh and help another association in Bethlehem called the Franciscan Boys Home.
On their return, in March or April, the two pilgrims would like to go back to Italy, where they plan to stop in Rome to entrust their own discernment to the prayers of Pope Francis.
To send Théophile and Gonzague a prayer intention, email them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find them on Facebook: Les Pèlerins d’Emmaüs