The incredible story of Father Vincent’s chalice

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Father Vincent Charmet, 30, was ordained in June 2023 for the diocese of Lyon. Originally from a village of 800 souls in Beaujolais, his very first mass in the small church where he was baptized gave him a big surprise. The last village priest, who died in 1968, left a premonitory message, full of hope and faith.

There are coincidences in which it is difficult not to see a wink from Providence. Ordained on June 25, 2023 at Saint-Jean Cathedral in Lyon, Vincent Charmet, 30, is today vicar at the Saint-Augustin parish in Beaujolais, in Belleville. Born in 1993 into a family of winegrowers in Pierres Dorées, it was after the experience of God lived in an abbey, then World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow in 2016, that he entered the seminary in Lyon in the outcome of management and philosophy studies. 

His four grandparents were winegrowers, his father is also, and all come from the Azergues valley, more specifically from the pretty golden stone village of Breuil where there is a small 15th century church, Saint Pancrace d’ Oingt, in which Vincent was baptized as a baby, like so many others. The last priest to have lived there, Father Claude Clavel, died in 1968. Since then, like many villages in France, the small church has only been open occasionally, depending on the occasion. 

And the last great and beautiful occasion took place on July 7, 2023, when Vincent, ordained barely two weeks ago, came to say his first mass for the family and neighbors, in thanksgiving and in memory of his baptism on August 1, 1993. It was then that the deputy mayor informed the parishioners of the astonishing discovery, a few months earlier, in a cupboard in the sacristy. 

The message found in the chalice, on which the parish secretary indicated the wishes of the last parish priest, on June 26, 1968.

Vincent Charmet

The chalice is intended for Vincent

During January 2023, while tidying up the sacristy, some parishioners including an uncle and Vincent’s father, discovered in a cupboard a beautiful box which contained a chalice and in which was a paper. When you unfold it, you can read a surprising message, written by the parish secretary and dated June 24, 1968:

This Chalice belonged to Father Claude Clavel who intended it for a child of the Dupeuble Family if he reaches the priesthood, or for any other child of the Parish who would become a priest”, signed “the parish assistant after agreement of Mr Abbot Domez and Mr Canon Devay”. 

The astonishment is at its peak, the Dupeuble family cited in the message, a practicing family close to the priest at the time, is none other than the family of Vincent’s paternal grandmother! This message dated June 24, 1968 was therefore written exactly 55 years (plus one day) before Vincent’s ordination on June 25, 2023. 

Mass on July 7, 2023 in the church of Saint Pancrace d’Oingt, with on the altar the chalice of Father Clavel, last priest of the parish, who had not served for more than 55 years .

Vincent Charmet

Because there is no doubt that this chalice is intended for him, a deputy mayor gave it to Father Vincent a few minutes before the mass so that he could celebrate with it. A providential symbol! After this first mass, all the participants were invited to an aperitif, with Beaujolais of course, for an official presentation, with speeches and applause, and many participants admitted to being marked by this message of faith and hope. prophetic. 

“It must be said that Father Clavel left a very good memory in the village. He was very loved and had left an impression on the inhabitants during his lifetime with his strong personality and his deep faith,” says Father Vincent. “The story even tells that every year, during Holy Week, he went to the vineyards to see the workers to tell them that he planned to see them at Easter mass, and everyone obeyed him! »

The tradition revived

Very moved by this beautiful and mysterious transmission, Father Vincent still confides his astonishment. “I had never heard of this story of the chalice, it’s surprising that in my family, no one talked about it before. If this did not confirm my choice of priesthood, because I was already well into it, it is certain that it sheds new light on it, anchoring me in a story, in a handover that goes beyond me. little “. Vincent confides that this chalice now accompanies him everywhere and that he uses it every day. “If it is neither rare nor precious and has no particular monetary value, it is obvious that it has exceptional value in my eyes and that at each mass, I think of my predecessor in heaven.” 

End of the story ? Not quite. Because as soon as Vincent received the chalice from the hands of the parishioners, he said it loud and clear: he was putting it back “in play”. “Whether in my lifetime or not, in five years or in fifty, if a child in the parish is one day ordained a priest, I will give it to him immediately! »The tradition is therefore launched. 

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