May God help us

Gaël Turine

Although the confinement imposes the closing of places of worship, one church in Brussels remains, with the permission of the authorities, open to its congregation.

The church of Saint Gilles, located in a popular district of Brussels undergoing gentrification, was first built in 1216. Since the implementation of the confinement and restrictive measures, the believers come to pray and enjoy the spirituality of this place full of unshakeable beliefs.

Access to the church seems essential in the lives of Catholics from the Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Polish communities living in the south-east of the city.

At a time when confinement imposes social distance and puts certain values in our societies at stake, the need to live and express one’s faith in religious and immaterial ways appears to provide a sense of appeasement to be able to overcome this anxiety-provoking period.

I never witnessed the congregation speaking out, praying together, or gathering for a song. More than ever, like the generalized confinement, faith is experienced with oneself.

Although I am a non-believer, I fully appreciate the time spent in the church of Saint Gilles, observing and photographing these unique moments in the lives of others. Even if ephemeral, the conversations with the devotees were colored with benevolence, a feeling that is particularly valuable in a world that promises to be increasingly worrying.

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