There are nearly 20 Limousin towns which will organise Ostensions in 2009. Since the month of July 2007, a calendar for these Ostensions was agreed by the representives of all the organising associations.
The period of the Ostensions 2009, goes from the 19th of March, the opening day when the Ostension Flags will be raised on all the bell towers, until the 15th of November, when the Ostensions will be closed by a Mass of Thanksgiving. In this calendar, the Solemn Ostensions of Saint Leonard are programmed for the 24th of May 2009, Ascension weekend
(Picture : Michel Defaye)
The style of the Ostensions vary from town to town.
In certain towns the Ostensions are organised by the local Confraternity , this is the case in Limoges where the Ostensions are prepared by the Grand Confraternity of Saint Martial . In others, it is an Ostension Committee or the parish itself. In all cases there is a sense of solidarity between the municipalities, the clergy , the official structures and associations. For this grand fête which is at the same time religious and secular , for believers or not, all working together in a true spirit of friendship.
At Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat , there is an Ostensions Committee which is responsible for the organisation. The President of the committee is traditionally the first « Bayle » or chairman of the Confraternity of Saint Leonard, who is at this time M. Michel Braem. The two vice-presidents are the Parish Priest, Father Raymond Thomas and the Mayor of the town, Mme. Christine Riffaud.
Several bodies and associations are represented on the committee, such as the Parish, the Town, the Confraternity, the Tourist Office, the Activities Committee and the Federation of Limousin Confraternities.
The Ostension Committee of Saint Leonard was created in 1994 and has already organised Ostensions in 1995 and 2002. Before that, it was the Confraternity of Saint Leonard who was the organiser.
The preparations are long
Around 60 inhabitants of the town are involved for nearly one and a half years before the event, to build the organsation of this great day. The organisers have to take on a myriad of activities,such as making the Ostensions relevant today, keeping the townspeople informed, inviting and welcoming the foreign delegations and pilgrims, decorating the town, organising the procession of the relics and the ceremonies, finding accomodation and catering for the many participants and financing a budget of around
All this variety of activity must be managed so that, on the day itself, the imposing procession of the relics of Saint Leonard can pass, without problem, through the brilliantly decorated town, covered with flowers and banners, with thousands of participants coming from the Limousin, the rest of France and from abroad, to commemorate the « Miracle des Ardents » in 1094.