“It was while going to visit a handful of catechumens… for he had his knapsack on his back.” That was the Jean Wauthier whom we mourn… His life: it was a Gospel life; in the North of Laos, in a region near the border with Vietnam and its war, he was the only priest. A good part of each month in a village of 800 Christians, he was often on a perilous trek in the mountains. Like Jesus, he went along doing good.
“I want to be like Him,” he said, “because I am a missionary. In telling them of Christ, it means to care for their whole life, according to their needs.” He lived in the midst of his own, joined with them in their very lives.
“We are Christians; we work together; we help everyone,” he said. He knew what was awaiting him in this region of poverty and insecurity. He had already experienced the executioner’s gun when he was saved as if by a miracle. How did that impress him? “Not so terrible,” he told himself. “There it is, the time to offer my life for them.” Last December 17, eight days before Christmas, the sacrifice was offered.
Homily of Bishop Henri Jenny, Archbishop of Cambrai (France),
at the memorial Mass for Jean Wauthier, 27 December 1967.