The MLC leadership team travelled to Trastevere this morningfor a meeting with Dr. Stefano De Pasquale Ceratti, who is our contact person with the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities. Miss María del Pilar Mendieta Vetter also attended the meeting. We received a warm welcome, and had a very fruitful conversation. Dr. De Pasquale Ceratti shared some thoughts on the role of Ecclesial Movements in this time of the New Evangelization. (I had previously sent a copy of the Circular, Marianist Lay Communities and the New Evangelization.) His talk affirmed our role within the church, and the special charism of Father Chaminade. We were heartened with his knowledge and interest in our Marianist Family. He also affirmed our intentionality in our communication with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. These meetings are valuable to our friends at the PCL and to us.
I gave a brief summary of what the New Evangelization means to us, especially in this special Chaminade Year. Félix, Susan, Ernest, Isabel and Domingo all shared some experiences from their regions. We discussed specific projects with young people, collaborative communications such as Agora Marianistas, the need for lay formation, the problem of clericalism, and the need for lay women and men to embrace the roots of our Christian faith; to nurture a personal relationship with Jesus through an active and vital prayer life. We also discussed how our Marianist charism tries to balance intellectual knowledge and doctrine with a faith of the heart.
We left, ready to begin our meetings with good spirits!
Isabel Duarte Quapper, . Miss María del Pilar Mendieta Vetter, Félix Arqueros Perez, Ernest Kasongo, Dr. Stefano De Pasquale Ceratti, Susan Vogt, Brother Domingo Fuentes, SM, Isabella Moyer
The MLC team began our time in Rome with a pilgrimage and retreat time on Sunday. Brother Jack Ventura, the new director of the International Center for Marianist Formation joined us. The day was facilitated and led by our assessor, Brother Domingo Fuentes. He explained that we would spend the morning in spiritual union with the early Christians and martyrs as we walked to the Catacombs of St. Calistus. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. The catacombs themselves are hallowed grounds, with frescoes and tombs dated from the 2nd century.
Brother Domingo, Brother Jack Ventura, Isabel Duarte, Félix Arqueros
In the afternoon, we gathered in the chapel at Via Latina in front of the sculpted plaques of Blesseds Chaminade, Jakob Gapp, and the Spanish Martyrs. The wall also includes the names of Mother Adèle, Marie Thérèse de Lamourous, Faustino, and Domingo Lazaro, SM, whose causes have been opened for consideration in the beatification process.
Domingo invited us to reflect on the life of Chaminade, and the many worries and burdens he had. He faced the terrors of the revolution, the loneliness of exile, language difficulties in Zaragoza, and the challenges of leadership. We then spent time in silent prayer, reflecting on the present burdens in our own lives; burdens that we were bringing with us to Rome. We raised these personal challenges, family challenges, work challenges and ministry challenges in prayer, and then laid them at the feet of Mary like Chaminade did at our Lady of the Pillar. We concluded by remembering by name each of our National Responsibles, praying for them and for the Marianist Family in their countries.
Tomorrow morning we will be up bright and early for a 9:00 am meeting at the Pontifical Council of the Laity in Trastevere. When we return, we will begin our MLC meetings. Today was a day of inspiring pilgrimage, reflective prayer, and joy-filled reunions and visiting. It has given us much needed energy for the work days ahead!
Our leadership team is busy preparing for our meeting in Rome next week. Reports are being finalized and sent. Bags are being packed. For me, there is always a sense of panic in the days before I leave. And, there is the sadness of leaving family behind.
The journey from Winnipeg, Canada to Rome is long and tiring. But I am always welcomed at the airport by the smiling face of one of our Marianist brothers. As we drive through the streets of Rome, the sights and smells of the city still fill me with excitement. I look forward to arriving at Via Latina. The brothers` warm hospitality always makes me feel like I have arrived home.
Our European Responsible, Félix Arqueros, is already in France to join the Marianist Family in their Assises – a gathering of all four branches to vision together the future of the Marianist Family in France. Our love and prayers are with them in this important meeting. France is the home of our founders and our spirituality. Our French sisters and brothers continue to hold high the torch of our Marianist charism for the world to see. May our loving God continue to bless them, and may Mary guide them in all their discernments and works.
I ask for your prayers for us all. May the Spirit of wisdom guide us in all the tasks that lie before us. And may the prayers of Blessed Chaminade, Mother Adèle, Marie Thérèse de Lamourous, and all the holy Marianist women and men who have gone before us give us the courage and peace of heart we need to go forward in faith.
And may we do all that we do with the firm conviction that Mary is at our side!
The following is taken from the Pontifical Council for the Laity web-site. Our MLC International Leadership Team has a meeting scheduled with the PCL on October 31st. We will be discussing the role of Ecclesial Movements and Communities in the New Evangelization….
The words of the Pope
“… And here we are called to seek new paths of evangelization. Small communities could be one such path, where friendships are lived and deepened in regular communal adoration before God. There we find people who speak of these small faith experiences at their workplace and within their circle of family and friends, and in so doing bear witness to a new closeness between Church and society. They come to see more and more clearly that everyone stands in need of this nourishment of love, this concrete friendship with others and with the Lord. Of continuing importance is the link with the vital life-source that is the Eucharist, since cut off from Christ we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15:5).
Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord always point out to us how together we can be lights in the world and can show our fellow men the path to the source at which they can quench their profound thirst for life. I thank you.”
Benedict XVI, Meeting with the Catholic Lay Faithful, Freiburg, 24 September 2011
© Copyright 2011 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana