First steps in ministry
This extra year will allow him to take his first steps in the ministry. Two ministries were entrusted to him: daily mass in a religious community and an apostolate in the parish of Montesson on weekends.
The mass he celebrates every day in a religious community, in the shade of Montmartre, also allows him to have daily exchanges with the community and in particular with the superior, Mother Marie CESLAS, who will always remember with emotion the masses celebrated by this very young priest.
As for his presence in Montesson, it will show from the beginning, not only the importance of the Mass in his ministry, to lead souls to God, but also his charism as a "trainer": the number of people attending catechism and Mass will increase very quickly.
In great strides into the heart of ministry
It is thus in July 35 that he is appointed to the parish of Sainte Geneviève in Asnières. From then on, everything went very quickly.
As soon as he arrived, he was asked to accompany the sick to Lourdes. Then, a few days later, he leaves for Dol de Bretagne with Father BAUDOUIN who takes a holiday camp there. He only stays there for a short time because he has to return to his regiment as an officer for military practice.
He returns to his parish in october 1935. He first settled in Rue des Jardins, just opposite the oratory. Later, he occupies a small room at number 50 rue de la Concorde, a house where fathers BOYER-CHAMMARD and BARBÉ also live.
His parish priest, Canon MULLER, entrusts him in particular with the responsibility for young people: YCW, YCS, patronage, Valiant Heart, the youth camp, the Jeunesse sportive Asniéroise, and the last year the scouts, with whom he already had many encounters.
It will strive to develop all these movements, especially the YCW, and will try to create unity and cooperation between them. A monthly magazine "Notre Vie", written as a means of evangelisation and a sign of communion, bears witness to all activities.
He will be wonderfully successful with young people. He is totally dedicated to them.
He knows how to identify those to whom he can entrust responsibilities. It involves the older children in the christian formation of the younger ones. He seeks to bring them up but without watering down the gospel message and without minimising his expectations. Quite the opposite. He speaks to them of righteousness of life, of sacrifice. He tells them: "The Valiant Heart must set an example everywhere" and admits that "it's not very easy to be a Valiant Heart, you have to put a lot of effort into it."
He is demanding with everyone, in the name of love. He knows how to be "all to all people", how to adapt to each one, how to catch up with those who falter, how to encourage those who are struggling, how to make those who are making progress rise even higher.
In his involvement with young people, the success of the camps, his "masterpiece", is particularly noteworthy. There, in a family spirit and atmosphere, he gives them an integral christian formation. It seeks to ensure that during this time of holiday the children are immersed in a completely christian bath, so that on their return they "radiate Christ". With them he is like a father and a brother. His natural authority works wonders.
A dreadful ordeal
In August 1937, the summer camp in Longebonne is marked by a tragedy which is reported in most newspapers. Two young people, Pierre DeESCHAMPS and Roland GILLET, who have gone to retrieve some forgotten equipment and are surprised by the night, fall to their deaths. Father Daniel's grief and suffering are immense. Only his faith allows him to overcome this ordeal.
La Croix newspaper of 22 May 1937
All this time spent with young people does not exhaust his ministry.He is also a parish vicar and has to carry out the acts of this office: visiting families, the sick, the elderly residents of the Saint Elisabeth hospice, liturgical celebrations, confessions. He is also called for meetings, retreats or recollections for young people, which go beyond the work of the parish.
Last steps in ministry
At the time of mobilization, he will pass directly from the summer camp of Laps to his Regiment. There, under the uniform of the officer, doing his duty of state, he remains a priest, continues to celebrate mass whenever possible, provides help in the surrounding parishes, confesses, supports his men of whom he knows each one, as he knew each one of "his kids". He even sets up study circles.
He establishes a bond between "his young people" and the soldiers, and at the front he is very active in writing letters. He writes a lot to the young people and to Father Stéphane FOUQUES-DUPARC who takes care of them in his absence.