Hommage to the School Director Francisco Vieira
He had a dream for his school: he wanted to organise Christmas in Europe in the centenary year of the Fátima visions, in 2017. Unfortunately, fate decided otherwise for Francisco Vieira, but the quartet of Renato, Pedro, Elisabeth and Yannick, together with their teams and their students, insisted on taking up the challenge in honour of their Director.
Fátima’s Marian shrine is one of the most important pilgrim destinations, on a par with Lourdes in France or Czestochowa in Poland. This was a first for the AEHT – to hold the event in a place entirely devoted to one religious belief. The concept of Christmas in Europe is intended to be inclusive, and of course above the individual beliefs of the participants. Its prime objectives are sharing and mutual respect. This is indeed how it was in Fátima, but each participant was able to find, in these peaceful and serene places (in winter at least) a moment that favoured reflexion and perhaps also even devotion.
Coimbra, a student town par excellence (there are students of 80 nationalities on the campus) reminded all the participants of the importance of international exchanges for educational purposes. Ana Paula Pais, a true plenipotentiary ambassador for her town, who for four years presided over the destiny of the AEHT, once again became involved by inviting the delegations to an event in her very fine hotel school.
Fundão, Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Fátima for Christmas in Europe, Setúbal, Estoril, Faro, Lisbon for conferences, seminars on Mediterranean culinary arts associated with sports or with the cinema on the Algarve, the Ten days Ten chefs festival, or celebrations of chocolate or pineapple in the Azores – it is fitting to emphasize Portugal’s exceptional vitality and its undeniable contribution to the AEHT.
For opening up to the rest of Europe, Portugal’s example could well be emulated. A word to the wise is enough!
Christiane Keller – Christmas Chris