First Religious Profession of Sr. Maire Brid O’ Driscoll

jd_profession-e1567608384180.jpgCongratulations to Sr. Maire Brid O’ Driscoll, who professed first vows as a Redemptoristine Nun in the Monastery of St. Alphonsus, Drumcondra, on the 31st of August 2019.
The solemn Eucharist was presided over by Mons. John Dolan, Episcopal Vicar for Religious, with Fr. Peter Burns, C.Ss.R, as homilist. The community of the Redemptoristines and the Redemptorists, family, friends of Sr. Maire Brid gathered for the celebration. It was a joyous occasion and we wish Sr. Maire every blessing as she continues her religious life.
May the Lord of the Harvest continue to send more labourers into the harvest!

 

 

 

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Events happening- AMRI

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Novena to St. John Vianney

vianneyInvitation

NOVENA TO ST JOHN VIANNEY (Curé of Ars)   Saturday 3 – Monday 12 August 2019

 ST JOHN VIANNEY, 95 ARDLEA ROAD, ARTANE, D05 TH79

The services will be led by the Sacred Heart Fathers.

Saturday 3 August: 6.00 pm Vigil Mass of the

Solemnity of St John Vianney (Curé of Ars)

 Sunday 4 August is the Feast of St John Vianney, Curé of Ars. As he is the Patron of our church and parish, we can celebrate this Sunday as his Solemnity.

Sunday 4 August: 9.30 am –Mass of St John Vianney
Sunday 11.30  am Mass-Mass of St John Vianney
Monday 5 August: 10.00 am Mass
Tuesday 6 August: 10.00 am Mass
Wednesday 7 August: 10.00 am Mass
Thursday 8 August: 10.00 am Mass
Thursday 7.30 pm Holy Hour
Friday 9 August: 10.00 am Mass
Friday 7.30 pm Mass
Saturday 10 August: 10.00 am Mass
Saturday 6.00 pm Mass
Sunday 11 August: 9.30 am Mass
Sunday 11.30 am Mass
Sunday 4.00 pm Evening Prayer and Benediction
Monday 12 August: 10.00 am Concluding Mass

Adoration throughout the day until 7.30 pm Evening Prayer and Benediction
 Veneration of the parish Relics of St John Vianney, Curé of Ars, after each service

Sacrament of Confession after each service, including Sunday Masses, and during Thursday Holy Hour
St John Vianney is the only parish dedicated to the Curé of Ars in Ireland

The church/shrine is open all day throughout the year

 Buses on Ardlea Road are 27b and 14. Get off at Maryfield.

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Ordination of Br. Matthew Farrell, OP

matthew2Congratulations to Br. Matthew Farrell,  Dominican, who was ordained a priest on the 6th of July 2019 by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin in the Church of Saint Saviour.

Below are the introduction and homily notes from the occasion:

Introduction: This afternoon is a moment of great joy for you Brother Matthew and for your family and friends and for the entire Irish Dominican province. Brother Mathew is to be ordained a priest and a priest of the Dominican Order.  Through his ordination, these two strands will be united in a personal calling and mission and the gift of spiritual power to act in persona Christi.

Priestly ordination enables the priest to act in persona Christi.  The rite of ordination reminds us however the call to act in persona Christi requires that the priest “must imitate the mystery he celebrates and model his life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross”.

We come in prayer to call down the Holy Spirit on Matthew; we pray that from this moment on, he will constantly strive to allow the message and the ministry of Jesus to appear authentically through the witness of his own life.

Homily

At this moment, the liturgy asks the Bishop not just to preach a homily on the sacred texts, but also to instruct the candidate to be ordained on the priesthood. The first thing that comes to my mind faced with the challenge of instructing someone about priesthood is to reflect on the inadequacies of my own ministry. Who am I to instruct a young man about to be ordained about how to witness adequately in his life to the person of Jesus Christ, knowing the poverty of my own witness?

The prayer of consecration that I shall pray in a few moments presents a deep vision of the theology of priesthood.  It is not enough, however, to know that theology; the priest is called to make his own what that theology means.

The priest is called to witness to the God who is mercy, to the Jesus who came to serve.  I can only attempt to speak about my presently ministry when I recognise that it is Jesus himself alone who allows me to be his minister despite my poverty and my sinfulness.

Ordination is not a distinction to be attained but a gift to be received.  Ministry in the Church is never something through which I as an individual seek to promote myself.   Celebrity ministry inevitably turns out to be celebration of myself alone and who I think I am.

When we become self-centered or use ministry for our own self-aggrandisement that we can quickly fall into that arrogance which is the very one thing that drives sinners away from Jesus and damages the very nature of the Church.

Matthew, you are called to witness to the person of Jesus in the concrete world of today and to accompany the men and women you encounter on their journey to experience what being close to Jesus means.  You are called to help them comprehend how the encounter with the God of mercy is what empowers us and gives meaning and purpose to our lives. You are called to lead them in prayer and in the Eucharist and help build up the Church in Communion.

In our Gospel reading, Jesus finds himself surrounded by tax collectors and sinners and the Pharisees are scandalised.  The priest must be happier to be the friend of sinners than of those who our worldly society consider its stars and the personalities.  When Jesus tells us that he came to call sinners rather than the virtuous, he is also telling us that the more we consider ourselves the virtuous the greater the probability that we are  sinners.

Jesus knows us for who we are and in his mysterious design he calls us knowing that we are sinners.  Christianity it is not religion of personal or collective triumphalism but neither is it a religion of masochism and negativity.  In our encounter with Jesus, we recognise that we are sinners but we also note that, the one who came to heal sinners, calls us by name.  He does not debate or bargain with us, he does not invite us to a talk show. He calls us and the only response to the call of Jesus is to respond as Matthew did: in trust, he got up and followed Jesus immediately.

Recognising our inadequacy is not an excuse for paralysis or quibbling about our call.    In our second reading, Saint Paul reminded us that he had learned “to manage on whatever he had”.  Recognising that his security did not come from earthly possession he could say, “there is nothing I cannot master with help of the One who gives me strength”.  He recognises that his strength is not from his own ideas and achievement and he reminds us that it is in the mysterious abandoning of ourselves into the loving embrace of Jesus that we come to experience that the “God of peace will be with us”.

Matthew, you are called through priestly ordination to act in persona Christi, to bring the light and the peace that flows from the message of Jesus to those who in our world suffer uncertainty and doubt and darkness about themselves and about their future.  You are called to bring the challenging message of Jesus Christ to those who are over confident in worldly values that do not endure.

What do I say to you, how do I instruct you.  There are many in our Church and in our society who are uncertain about the ministry of the priest.  Priests themselves often live with doubt about the value of their ministry.  There are priests who say that they would not recommend a young man today to take on the ministry of the priest.

There are however the many who deep down have experienced the wisdom and the peace that comes from an encounter with a priest as someone whose witness in humility and poverty to the greatness and the richness of the message of Jesus led then to new hope and purpose.

Matthew, the validity of your ministry will not come from self-vindication. You will have noticed that in answer to the question about your worthiness for ordination, the answer was that this was ascertained “by inquiry among the people of Christ”, and only in a secondary way by the recommendation of those concerned with your training.

Christ’s people measure the effectiveness of priestly ministry by a true sensus fidelium that recognises the authenticity of how you really identify with the Jesus you call down on the altar bringing his sacrificial love among us.

That authenticity is what will bring you joy and fulfilment in your ministry in good times and in difficult times. Be assured of the prayers of all us of that the good work you have undertaken up until this day will be brought by the Lord to its fulfilment and pray for this bishop called in all humility to instruct you.

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Homily for the Day of Consecrated Life, 2nd of February 2019

DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE 2019

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Homily Notes of  Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin , Archbishop of Dublin
Church of the Guardian Angels, Newtownpark Avenue, 2nd February 2019

The Christian community lives waiting in joyful hope.  In our Gospel reading we noted how as Jesus enters into the Temple he is greeted first of all by Simeon, one “who looked forward to Israel’s comforting, one on whom the Spirit rested and who watched and waited for the restoration of Israel.  Note the words: “looked forward to”, “watched”, “waited”.

The second encounter is with the elderly woman Anna who appears almost just in passing and yet understands that this child was the one who realised the hopes of all who “looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem”.  Those who remained true to the Lord’s Covenant were those who in the face of trial and the unknown never failed to “look forward”

Both are presented to us in terms of prophecy.  Prophecy is the gift not so much of foreseeing the future as if by some magical powers.  No, the gift of prophecy is a gift for the present. It is the gift that enables us to recognise and understand and interpret the true the meaning of the present and look forward in hope.

Like Simeon and Anna, the religious must be so focussed on what expectation means in life, that they are in the forefront in recognising what, through Jesus, fulfilment and happiness mean in the present and are able to communicate something of that Christian hope to the many in today’s world who struggle with the capacity to hope.

We celebrate the Day of Consecrated Life.  We come to thank God for the gift to the Church of the prophetic witness of religious men and women.  We come to pray that each of us will be steeped in the hope we are called to, that we will be able to interpret what that call requires today and where it should be guiding our lives.

We pray that individual religious and their communities will witness to what expectation and consolation and renewal mean today for God’s holy people and for the world in which we live.

Religious life is about discernment.  It is about how one lives one’s life in the complexities of this world while never losing sight of what true expectation is about. It is about how we live our lives today in absolute coherence with what the true expectation of fulfilled humanity is about.

Religious life is not so much about doing, but about meaning.  It is not to say that religious turn their back on the needs and necessities, the anxieties and the hopes of the people in the world, especially the most marginalised and needy.  Religious are indeed doers, but doers with a difference.  They do not do things to build their own empires or to make others dependant on them.   They do things in a unique manner, which enables hope to spring forth in people’s lives and replace that sense of emptiness and that feeling of not being of worth, which haunts so many man and women, young or old in our days.

Religious do this in various ways.   First, they do so through their recognition that in the midst of all the successes and failures of human progress, they are called consistently to witness to the primacy and otherness of God.  In times of secularisation, religious are called to witness to the presence of the transcendent God whose love is revealed and encountered in Jesus Christ, who reaches out to the men and women of our time pointing their lives towards where the blessed hope is to be found.   Religious must be men and women of prayer,  who can lead others into prayer. We remember the extraordinary hidden apostolate carried out by our contemplative religious and how they touch the hearts of many in our world.

Religious witness to that blessed hope, not just as individuals, but in community.  In a fragmented world the witness of communion and community is vital.  Our communion with one another witnesses then to what communion with Christ means.   Where we fail in our communion with one another, we distort the very meaning of our communion with Christ.

Religious life is a call to real commitment.   It must reflect zeal for the things of God.  The commitment of religious can never be limited to a nine-to-five commitment. I believe that the real challenge about religious life and about ministry in the Church is not the falling numbers of vocations but the mediocrity with which so many of us end up being satisfied with.  It is a temptation for all of us.   Times of difficulty or frustration and uncertainty are not moments when we retreat from commitment.   We all need to restore our commitment to and confidence in our calling and the ability to recognise and set aside that which is marginal and distracting and much more that which we have built around ourselves just for our comfort and false security.

Religious life is a call to poverty.  Religious must be true friends of the poor.  They must develop a love for the poor. Love for the poor is not just a passing moment of emotion.  If you love the poor, then you will rejoice only when the other can become themselves fully and realise the potential that is within them. Loving the poor does not mean loving poverty but rejoicing when men, women, and children can rise from poverty and dependence and be fully themselves.

Loving the poor does not mean loving poverty, except in one sense.  Consecrated religious embrace poverty and love poverty because they know that they can only reveal the richness of the love of Jesus when they themselves become truly poor.

There is a final characteristic of religious life and indeed of the life of the Church in Ireland that I would stress it today – it  is joy.     Times are difficult in the Church; day after day there are those within the Church and outside it who prophecy only the end of the Church in Ireland.    We must realistically recognise the critical situation of the Church, but we should never give in to pessimism and negativity.   There are sadly some growing signs of nasty negativism and divineness within our Church today worldwide.  The God revealed in Jesus Christ is a God of love.

When Christians revert into negativity and lose the ability to live in joy then they have lost faith in the God of love and hopefulness.  The Christian recognises failure and infidelity and sinfulness, but always remains with the ability to look forward to the salvation which comes from a God who is faithful.  Religious life is a special call to live Christian joy and to bring that joy to all those in our world who are troubled and who are searching for true light and true expectation. ENDS

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Day for Consecrated Life 2019

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Light refreshments will be served
after the prayer service
so please RSVP before 30th of January 2019 to:
Sr. M. Louise O’ Rourke pddm
Email: louise@dublindiocese.ie
Telephone:  01 8087519 (Tuesdays To Thursdays only)
All are welcome!

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Evening of Prayer at the Monastery of St. Alphonsus, Drumcondra

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Unveiling and Blessing of the Icon of Blessed Columba Marmion

marmionDom Marmion was a priest of Dublin Diocese who ministered in Dundrum before teaching in Holy Cross College. In 2000, parishioners of Dundrum celebrated his beatification and continue to pray for his intercession. The Dom Marmion Society, who care for the elderly in the area, continue to draw inspiration from him. Last October, the parish commissioned iconographer Mihai Cucu to write an Icon of Blessed Columba Marmion. The Icon will show key elements of Dom Marmion’s life and spirituality. To mark the occasion of the unveiling and blessing of our new Icon, we cordially invite you to join with us for Evening Prayer on Sunday 30th September at 5pm.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will bless the new Icon that evening. Dom Columba McCann of Glenstal Abbey, Vice Postulator of the Cause of Blessed Columba Marmion, will lead us in reflection on Blessed Columba Marmion and his inspiration to us today.

The parish extends a special invitation to religious men and women to attend this time of prayer and appreciation of the life of Bl. Columba Marmion.

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Evening of Music and Reflection

A Celebration of Belonging

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Evening of Reflection and Prayer

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Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness:”Gaudete et Exsultate”

gaudeteOn the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 9th of April 2018, where we celebrate the gift of Mary’s ‘YES’ to be the Mother of the Emmanuel, Pope Francis gave the Church and the world a ‘gift’ in the new apostolic exhortation on holiness, ‘Gaudete et Exultate’ (Rejoice and be glad). It is available on the Vatican website or a PDF here.
Independent Catholic News offer us 10 key points from the exhortation:

1. The Pope is encouraging and challenging us on the path to holiness because holiness is necessary for our happiness – in order to bring out the best of who we are and to embrace the unique plan of God for us and for the world.

2. He is clear that our personal call to holiness entails action and is achieved in the context of the saints in heaven, our communities around us and the wider, suffering of our brothers and sisters.

A person seeking holiness cannot ignore injustice and should seek social change, recognising that holiness cannot be understood apart from the recognition of the dignity of each human being. Our whole life must be seen as a mission and a way of building God’s Kingdom – the ultimate criterion on which our life will be judged is what we have done for others.

3. The Pope offers practical support and advice for our journey – how to get there as well as warning of dangers facing us on our journey. Dangers in false forms of holiness, violence in our thoughts and daily lives, digital communications, consumerism as well as the very real and present danger of satan himself. The Pope asks us to discern any traces of these blocks to holiness in our lives and warns us not to let our guard down – our path to holiness is a spiritual battle.

4. He encourages us each of us in our own way to live out the Beatitudes in our lives – giving very practical ways of how to take on these challenges.

5. Pope Francis offers five great expressions of love of God and of neighbour that he considers of particular importance in the light of certain dangers and limitations present in today’s culture: Perseverance, Patience, Meekness, Joy and a Sense of Humour, Boldness and Passion. These signs of true holiness make it possible for us to give a witness of holiness in our fast-paced, noisy and aggressive world.

6. In order to be able to reach out to others he urges us to live lives of simplicity resisting the demands of a consumerist society that leaves us unsatisfied and anxious.

7. Holiness is found in everyday people and everyday things but he repeats throughout the document that our striving for holiness must be grounded in prayer and discernment so that our lives are transformed in the light of mercy and Grace. He is clear that holiness can only be achieved in the power of the Holy Spirit and through union with Jesus – sometimes born in heartache and sorrow but always listening to the Lord. The Pope strongly urges us to spend time with Jesus in silence, contemplating Him in order to restore our humanity and enable us to reach out to others.

8. He maintains that this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel and to the Magisterium and is not a matter of applying rules but in discerning the Spirit for our time with the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts and inquiries. Contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few.

9. He ends the exhortation on a note of joy and rejoicing, encouraging us to go to where humanity is most wounded and where people are seeking an answer to the question of life’s meaning.

10) The Pope writes this exhortation as one who walks and prays beside us so that our desire for God finds expression in our daily lives and enables us to share a happiness that the world cannot take from us.

Happy reading!

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4th International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking: 8th of February

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International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking: “Slaves no more, but sisters and brothers”
St. Josephine Bakhita,  born in South Sudan, a survivor of human trafficking who later became a religious in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa was canonized in 2000. This feastday is now an annual event against slavery and trafficking in all parts of the world.  The UISG/USG launched the initiative in 2014, and see it as a first step in a continual campaign through Talitha Kum – the office at UISG which co-ordinates 24 networks of religious working against trafficking worldwide. We pray for all the victims of trafficking and also for those who work to free them and walk with them in your journey to recovery. We pray especially for the religious in our Archdiocese and through Ireland who work in this very sensitive and dangerous ministry.

Tonight in St. Paul’s Church, Arran Quay, there will be an Inter-Church Service for the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action against Human Trafficking, from 7.30 p.m–8.30 pm. All are welcome.

PRAYER:

O God, when we hear of children and adults deceived and taken to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ ‘harvesting’ our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force. We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end.  Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good.  Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to your children.  Amen

 

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Diocesan Day for Consecrated Life 2018

On the 3rd of February 2018, the Diocesan celebration to mark the Day for Consecrated Life took place in the Carmelite College Chapel in Terenure. The prayer service was presided over by His Grace Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, D.D with the participation of numerous consecrated men and women from the different Congregations, Institutes and Societies in the Archdiocese. The service with the theme “New wine, new wineskins”, was beautifully enhanced by the Dublin Diocesan Choir and musicians in the recently renovated college chapel of the Carmelite Fathers.

The celebration continued afterwards with the gracious hospitality offered to us by the Carmelites , allowing the opportunity to catch up and meet new religious who are in the Archdiocese. A lovely afternoon was had by all as we continue to thank the Lord for the great gift that the religious are to our Archdiocese.

Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin

Terenure College Chapel, 3 February 2018

“New wine and old wineskins” Our gospel reading is about two realities: new wine and old wineskins. We have to reflect on both. Put simply our Gospel reading is about the message of Jesus Christ that is always new and about the condition of the wineskins in which that wine is preserved. The wineskins are about the Church and its outward structures. They are however even more about us and about how we conserve the newness of the Gospel within our hearts and through the way we live.

Pope John XXIII set out what this involves with extraordinary clarity at the opening of the Second Vatican Council:“The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us”.

The new wine is not a collection of dogmatic texts: it is Jesus himself. The consecration of religious is not a consecration to formulae, but to a person who leads us and accompanies us along a path of a different life. That great homily of Pope John at the opening of Vatican II began with the words Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, Let our Mother the Church rejoice.

Perhaps the worst kind of useless wineskin that we encounter, whether in our Church, in our culture or in our hearts is the one that has lost the sense of joy and of rejoicing. It is the culture of the prophets of gloom to use a phrase of Pope John in that same homily. It is the culture of those who rejoice only in spreading the negative. I have often spoken about a man I knew in the Vatican whose philosophy could be summed up in the joke about him telling the Pope “Holy Father I am delighted to be able to tell you that the situation is even worse than we had imagined”. Negativity inevitably becomes poisonous and destructive.

I am not saying that we should avoid facing what is worrying in Church life and just naively make our way into unreality. The Church has many challenges and it would be very foolish to ignore this. We have constantly to review the condition of the wineskins. We have pitilessly to seek out where the leak and the spill might be, distorting or losing the newness of the message of Jesus.

We can also fall into the trap of thinking that renewal can be attained through patching up either the old cloth or the wineskins and end up becoming experts on wear-and-tear rather than people filled with the joy of the new wine, the presence of Jesus and his message in our world.

Our expertise must not be about wear-and-tear but about the joy of living and spreading the message of Jesus and a message that brings newness into our lives and into the lives of others. We will never win the hearts of our young people if we are not people who show where they can find the roots of true happiness. Young people today, perhaps more than at any other time, find themselves seeking. The certainties of the past leave them unmoved or even disillusioned. We must first of all help them to discern the direction their life must take, not by imposing rules and norms but by opening up for them the path to integrity and the newness of the Gospel. Our witness must help them to rise above what it transient to what endures. We must help them to see how prayer is not a flight from reality but an openness to reality in its deepest sense. Our communities must become not just communities where individuals can pray but rather become communities of prayer, open to welcome those who seek how to pray.

The new wine is what is important; its newness is there before it is put into wineskins. We can become so concerned with fixing structures, that we overlook the that the new wine is what is precious and we have to do everything to savour and be surprised and relish that newness. In the past, especially here in Ireland, in our religious education we often got so preoccupied with rules and norms and sins, before we were taught about the beauty and attractiveness of the path of Jesus. Today we will only really understand what structures we need to change when we first experience and live the newness of the Gospel.

We are the wineskins. Most of us would probably have to place ourselves within the category of old wineskins. Nevertheless, recognising our age does not mean that we have nothing to offer. The oldness of the wineskins is not about physical age. It is about the fundamental condition of our hearts. Pope John XII and Pope Francis were both way beyond the normal age of retirement when they became Popes and yet both of them brought a renewed freshness into the life of the Church.

Religious life will be considered outdated only if we begin to think that it is. Negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We will begin to understand that religious life is a thing of today and of tomorrow when we focus on the new wine of Jesus. That newness must really become rooted in our hearts. Religious life is countercultural and the more it becomes compromised by the way we live the more it loses the challenging power of the newness of Jesus message.

Both Pope John and Pope Francis experienced criticism and even rejection. Some would prefer the stuffiness of a solid over mature wine to the challenges and freshness of a new wine that is full of sparkle. The newness of the Gospel is a challenge that endures right throughout our lives, which can change and renew us at any age, and indeed which we must allow change us at any age.

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Invitation- Diocesan Celebration of Consecrated Life- 3rd of February 2018

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Nationwide

opsNationwide on RTE recently did a programme on recent entrants to the Dominican Order. It is available online to watch here.

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Requiescat in pace-Sr Anne Cunningham, OCD

carmelitekilmacudWe offer our sincere condolences to our Sisters in the Monastery of St. Joseph, Kimacud, on the passing to eternal life of Sr. Anne Cunningham, OCD (Sister Anne of Christ). Sr Anne had lived the Carmelite life in the Carmels of Presteigne, Wales and Benoni, South Africa.
May the fidelity and witness that she gave throughout her long life be a source of consolation to her Sisters and family, as well as an inspiration to those seeking to understand God’s plan for their lives. Requiescat in pace Sister Anne.

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Visitation to the Monasteries

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In the month of December, the Episcopal Vicar for Religious, Mons. John Dolan and the Assistant Vicar, Sr. M. Louise O’ Rourke, pddm, visited the female monasteries in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The visitations were a great opportunity to thank the Sisters for their prayerful witness and support to the Archdiocese, as well as an opportunity to look at the future of monastic life and the challenges which may present.

Each Monastery was a reflection of how the Holy Spirit inspires in so many different ways, attuning to the call to follow God in the particular vocation as monastic sisters.
It was a joy to spend time with our Sisters and we are indebted to their intercession for us all.

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Ordination to diaconate

deaconOn the 16th of December 2017, in the Church of St. Patrick, Corduff, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained John Regan (Pallottine) and Samson Mann (Spiritan) to the diaconate. We wish them both every blessing as they continue on their journey towards priesthood.

Here are the homily notes of Archbishop Martin for this occasion:

“Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles is often presented as the moment of the call of the first deacons.  The story of the calling of the seven, however, is not just telling us about what happened but about “what should be”.  The story is not so much an historical account of the institution of the deaconate, but a lesson about ministry in the Church at all times.  What is it telling us about the Church today?

The text begins by recounting a dispute within the Church community, as the Church began to spread to different cultural situations and conditions.     There was already a real diversity of culture and a diversity of needs in the young Church.

What brought difference to the level of dispute was something practical.  It was about the charitable commitment of the community to its own members, something that had been a characteristic of the Church community from its earliest days.  In this case, it was about the commitment within the Church to its members who were destitute, symbolised in the text by widows.   It is said that one cultural group of the widows were being neglected and another prioritized.

The apostles react quickly.  They see the need to adapt their ministry and hence they call these seven men to take on and coordinate the ministry of what we will hear later on in the Prayer of Consecration of the new deacons was called: “serving at tables”.

The quick reaction of the Apostles is interesting in that it reminds us today of how the Church should act when it becomes evident that ministry is failing in one or other of its aspects.  The Church is slow to change.  So often, we place obstacles in the way of necessary change.  Some would want the Church to bury its head in the ways things were always done.  Ministry and leadership in the Church must listen and learn to discern and react more rapidly.

The reading tells us also of the criteria for change which inspired the action of the Apostles.  The guiding principle must that of ensuring that ministry is more authentic. What measures did the Apostles take to see that Hellenist widows were not neglected?  Their answers are theological.  They stressed that ministry should respond to two essential characteristics of the Church.  Ministry must become a more effective ministry of charity.  Ministry must witness more authentically to the universal nature of the salvation that comes in Jesus Christ.

Ministry today must be exercised in such a way that it responds to new needs and new cultural interactions, but also that it does so in such a way that the authenticity and the newness of the message of Jesus becomes ever more evident.

The Church of Christ takes flesh in each age, in a way that speaks to that age and dwells in that age and is at home in that age but which also rises above and enlightens the culture of any age.

The message of Jesus Christ is always one of newness.  We have to rediscover that newness in every age.  We have to purify our Church from factors that impede that newness from breaking through.

Being present in the culture of the day does not mean identification with that culture.  The witness of the one called to ordained ministry must today very often be counter-cultural, a witness which is the very opposite of our consumer society, where the craving for wealth, pleasure and power so often dominates.

In a world marked by indifference to God, the minister must witness to the difference of the Gospel.  In a world proud of its progress, the minister must be sensitive to what Pope Benedict calls the “ambiguity of progress” and indeed must address those who are distracted by progress or even hurt by progress.  Many signs of progress and success mark our world.   Yet, despite the outward clothing of progress, there are still many signs of fragility in human hearts.

The ministry of the Deacon in the Church is a ministry of service. That service is a service at the table of the word, at the table of the altar and at the table of charity.  The deacon in the Church is in a particular way a sign and a witness to Christ who came “not to be served but to serve”.

For the deacon then life and ministry are united.  The ability of the deacon to be servant is determined not by managerial skills but by the fact that they are to be men “full of faith and the Holy Spirit”. The deacon has a particular responsibility to order his life in such a way that he himself appears as one who shows forth the loving kindness of our God.  Witnessing to the Gospel is never just an external thing.  It means letting the Gospel, letting Jesus, take ownership of our lives.

John and Samson: as you present yourselves here before the Church this morning in answer to God’s call, remember that ministry and witness are not external actions.  Ministry is not like any job that can be done at various junctures and then left aside.  Ministry has no dimmer switch that I can tone down or turn up with greater intensity just as I wish.  Witness to Jesus Christ means total identification with Jesus.

The deacon represents an essential and non-renounceable dimension of the Church itself.  The Church is called to reveal the Jesus who serves. The deacon is called to shape his life into being a servant.   He witnesses to service – or he fails to witness to service – through the way he lives.

A little later in this ceremony of ordination, when I consign the book of the Gospels to you, the liturgical text stresses how the minister must interiorise the Gospel, in these words:

“Receive the Gospel of Christ,

whose herald you now are.

Believe what you read,

teach what you believe

and practice what you teach”.

This is in the first place a call to you to live a life of integrity and coherence with the Gospel.

Your service as a deacon, John and Samson, must spring from a true knowledge of Jesus and you are called to bring this personalized knowledge of Jesus to the men and women of our time. The prime thirst of contemporary humanity is the thirst for God, the God of love, as opposed to the false God’s of our or any generation.

The central focus of your life and ministry must be the Jesus whose love can overcome the limitedness and imperfection of your own self and permit you to live that unique logic of the Gospel that we have heard presented in the Gospel of the Beatitudes.  That countercultural logic of Jesus must shape your life every day as you undertake the call to service in the order of deacons.

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Celebrating 150 years of the Holy Faith Sisters

rteCongratulations to the Holy Faith Sisters and friends and the Holy Faith Past Pupils’ Choir  for the beautiful celebration of the Eucharist which was broadcast on RTE on Sunday the 8th of October 2017, as they celebrated 150 years of Holy Faith life and service.

If you missed it, it can be viewed here.

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Prayer for young people in view of the Synod of Bishops 2018

prayer

»Young people, faith and vocational discernment«

 Lord Jesus, in journeying towards the Synod, your Church turns her attention to all the young people of the world. We pray that they might boldly take charge of their lives, aim for the most beautiful and profound things of life and always keep their hearts unencumbered. Accompanied by wise and generous guides, help them respond to the call you make to each of them, to realize a proper plan of life and achieve happiness.

Keep their hearts open to dreaming great dreams and make them concerned for the good of others. Like the Beloved Disciple, may they stand at the foot of the Cross, to receive your Mother as a gift from you. May they be witnesses to your Resurrection and be aware that you are at their side as they joyously proclaim you as Lord. Amen.

 


L’Osservatore Romano, weekly edition in English, number 15, 14 April 2017.

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Sr Orla Treacy, IBVM receives the Humanitarian Award

We join in congratulating Sr. Orla Treacy, Loreto Sister who was named as this year’s recipient of the International Humanitarian Award.
Thank you to Catholic Ireland for this article.

“At a young age and with a bright future ahead of her in Ireland, she decided instead to dedicate her life to those in need in what was already then a virtual war zone.”

Sr Orla Treacy

A Loreto Sister in South Sudan has been named as this year’s recipient of the Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award.

Sr Orla Treacy lived in Tralee as a young child before her family moved to Bray in Co. Wicklow, and she was professed a nun in 2005. Sr Orla is now the Principal of Loreto Secondary School in Rumbek in Lakes State in South Sudan.

This is the tenth year of the memorial commemoration of the Monsignor, organised to raise awareness of his humanitarian work during World War II, when he and his colleagues in the Rome Escape Line saved over 6,500 people from the clutches of the Nazis who had occupied Rome at the time. Sr Orla was nominated by Martin Rosney from Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Sr Orla was born in 1973 and she moved with her family at the age of two to Tralee, where her father Blaise Treacy took up the position of Kerry County Secretary. She was educated at Presentation Convent, Tralee until the age of six, when her family moved to Bray, Co. Wicklow, where she attended Loreto in Bray, completing her Leaving Cert in 1991. Having studied at the Mater Dei Institute, she subsequently taught in Presentation College Cork, Loreto Letterkenny, St Muredach’s College, Ballina and Loreto Crumlin.

After spending a summer in India with the Loreto Sisters, at the age of 24 she decided to join the Order. Based at the Loreto Convent in Rathfarnham, she was professed as a Loreto Sister in September 2005. Within a year, she headed to the large African state of Sudan with four other Loreto nuns to establish a mission in a diocese the size of Italy but with just two secondary schools.

She has spent the past 11 years in Sudan, experiencing the trauma of South Sudan becoming an autonomous independent state in 2011 followed by civil war in 2013. Today, South Sudan is widely considered one of the most fragile states in the world, with continuing conflict and unrest.

Speaking this week, the chairperson of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee, Jerry O’Grady, said, “Sr Orla possesses and displays the bravery and humanitarian commitment we have come to associate with the recipients of this Award. At a young age and with a bright future ahead of her in Ireland, she decided instead to dedicate her life to those in need in what was already then a virtual war zone.”

Sr Orla will be presented with the award by Cathaoirleach of Killarney Municipal District Niall Kelleher at a ceremony in the Killarney Avenue Hotel on the evening of 4 November.

(https://www.catholicireland.net/loreto-sister-awarded-monsignor-hugh-oflaherty-memorial-award/)

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Sacred Heart Missionaries in Venezuela

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Photo credit: Irish Catholic

“This is the first time that I’ve witnessed people scavenging in rubbish heaps to get food for themselves…Our men are just trying their best to stay along with the people and be with them and serve them – to accompany them, really – they don’t want to leave them,” (Fr. Joe McGee, Provincial of the Sacred Heart Missionaries).
The Irish Catholic recently ran a news feature on the work of the Sacred Heart Missionaries out in Venezuela which is going through a turbulent time. Fr. Joe McGee, Provincial, went out to assess the situation where his confreres live and minister.
The Sacred Heart Missionaries are present in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
You can read the article here.

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Jubilee celebration of Sr. Jacinta, OSsR

jacintaCongratulations to Sr. Jacinta from the Redemptoristine Monastery who celebrated 70 years of monastic life on the 15th of August 2017.  May the Lord continue to bless you and may you continue to be a blessing for many!
Photos from the  celebration can be viewed here.
Photo credit: http://www.rednuns.com

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Final Profession of Sr. Sabine Schratz OP

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Sr Sabina with Sr Elisabeth OP Congregation Prioress and Sr Martina Prioress Mission Area of Ireland

Thanks to the Dominican Sisters for forwarding on this news.

 

The Congregation of Dominican Sisters, of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Catherine of Siena, Cabra, celebrated the Final Profession of Sr. Sabine Schratz OP on 3rd June 2017, in St Dominic’s Parish Church, Tallaght, Dublin

As part of the ceremony Sabine made final profession into the hands of the Congregation Prioress, Sr. Elisabeth Healy OP. According to our Dominican Tradition the only vow explicitly named in the profession is that of obedience, which is understood to embrace the vows of poverty and chastity.

It was a beautiful day, marked by the choir of Dominican sisters whose singing held the beauty of the Dominican tradition of liturgical prayer. Sr. Sabine felt the joy and prayer of so many sisters, family members, including her mother, father, family and friends who had travelled from her native Germany, and others who have journeyed with her to this day and who will continue to be of support to her along her path as a member of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters, of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Catherine of Siena, Cabra.

If you would like to know more about the Dominican sisters you can check their website www.dominicansisters, follow them on Face Book Dominican Sisters, Cabra or Twitter @DominicanSrsCab

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Ordination of Fr. Philip Mulryne, OP.

Congratulations to Fr. Philip Mulryne, OP, who was ordained as a Dominican priest by His Grace Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP during the 11.00am celebration of Mass in Saint Saviour’s Church, Dominican Street, on the 8th of July 2017.  Archbishop Augustine Di Noia is Assistant Secretary at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

True Light Catholic Media did an interview with Fr. Philip Mulryne O.P, who was a professional football player before becoming a Dominican Friar.

Accredit: Irish Province of the Dominican Order and http://www.dominicans.ie

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Ordination of Fr. Charles Lafferty, SAC, Pallotine Fathers

charlesSr. M. Louise from the Office for Religious was in attendance for the ordination of Fr. Charles Lafferty, SAC, and writes:

“On the 29th of June 2017, I had the great joy to participate in the ordination of my friend and fellow religious, Charles Lafferty, SAC. Throughout the years, I  have count myself truly blessed to have shared in the journey to priesthood of different friends within the Pallottine Family and other religious orders.
Together with Sr. Eileen and Sr. Sabine, Dominican sisters, we had all ministered with Charles in the group ‘Religious in Formation’ so it was with joyful spirits that we travelled from Dublin to Derry for this great day. However it is thanks to Youth 2000 that led our paths to cross earlier with Charles. Indeed Youth 2000 was well represented as it also acknowledged the generous volunteering and support that Charles has been to the group over the years.
Fr. Charles was ordained in his home parish of Ardmore, Derry. It is always very special to see how the parish prepares for this day. It was truly a celebration of faith and family. As the proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. So too, it takes a parish to raise a priest!
At the back of the booklet where Fr. Charles penned some words of thanks, it was obvious that so many people had  been part of the great mosaic of his life and contributed to forming him on many different levels. This is the beauty of the Christian journey. None of us travel alone but we are pilgrims together on the road of life. As Fr. Charles continues for a new stage of ministry and service as a priest in the Pallottine Order, we wish him all the best and assure him of many prayers and remembrances in daily Adoration., especially as his new mission brings him to Argentine shores. You can read Fr. Charles’ homily for his first Mass here . The homily from the ordaining bishop, Bishop Donal McKeown, can be read here.

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Ordination of Fr. Rory Doyle, OFM Conventual

rorydCongratulations to the Greyfriars (OFM Conv) and especially to Fr. Rory Doyle, OFM Conventual who was ordained on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25th of March 2017, by Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark. Fr. Rory spent his deaconate year in Fairview community, Dublin, and is now back in this community after the celebrations of the weekend! Ad multos annos Fr. Rory!

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Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2017

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MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR LENT 2017
PDF version here

“The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).

Lent is a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion.
1. The other person is a gift

The parable begins by presenting its two main characters. The poor man is described in greater detail: he is wretched and lacks the strength even to stand. Lying before the door of the rich man, he fed on the crumbs falling from his table. His body is full of sores and dogs come to lick his wounds (cf. vv. 20-21). The picture is one of great misery; it portrays a man disgraced and pitiful.

The scene is even more dramatic if we consider that the poor man is called Lazarus: a name full of promise, which literally means God helps. This character is not anonymous. His features are clearly delineated and he appears as an individual with his own story. While practically invisible to the rich man, we see and know him as someone familiar. He becomes a face, and as such, a gift, a priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).

Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change. The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbour or an anonymous pauper. Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ. Each of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable. But in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man.

2. Sin blinds us
The parable is unsparing in its description of the contradictions associated with the rich man (cf. v. 19). Unlike poor Lazarus, he does not have a name; he is simply called “a rich man”. His opulence was seen in his extravagant and expensive robes. Purple cloth was even more precious than silver and gold, and was thus reserved to divinities (cf. Jer 10:9) and kings (cf. Jg 8:26), while fine linen gave one an almost sacred character. The man was clearly ostentatious about his wealth, and in the habit of displaying it daily: “He feasted sumptuously every day” (v. 19). In him we can catch a dramatic glimpse of the corruption of sin, which progresses in three successive stages: love of money, vanity and pride (cf. Homily, 20 September 2013).

The Apostle Paul tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10). It is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion. Money can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 55). Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace.

The parable then shows that the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence (cf. ibid., 62).

The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door. Looking at this character, we can understand why the Gospel so bluntly condemns the love of money: “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Mt 6:24).

3. The Word is a gift
The Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus helps us to make a good preparation for the approach of Easter. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to an experience quite similar to that of the rich man. When the priest imposes the ashes on our heads, he repeats the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. As it turned out, the rich man and the poor man both died, and the greater part of the parable takes place in the afterlife. The two characters suddenly discover that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim 6:7).

We too see what happens in the afterlife. There the rich man speaks at length with Abraham, whom he calls “father” (Lk 16:24.27), as a sign that he belongs to God’s people. This detail makes his life appear all the more contradictory, for until this moment there had been no mention of his relation to God. In fact, there was no place for God in his life. His only god was himself.

The rich man recognizes Lazarus only amid the torments of the afterlife. He wants the poor man to alleviate his suffering with a drop of water. What he asks of Lazarus is similar to what he could have done but never did. Abraham tells him: “During your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus had his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony” (v. 25). In the afterlife, a kind of fairness is restored and life’s evils are balanced by good.

The parable goes on to offer a message for all Christians. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, who are still alive. But Abraham answers: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them” (v. 29). Countering the rich man’s objections, he adds: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead” (v. 31).

The rich man’s real problem thus comes to the fore. At the root of all his ills was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbour. The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God. When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters.

Dear friends, Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favour the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.

From the Vatican, 18 October 2016

FRANCIS

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Invitation- Follow the light!

candleAn invitation from our Dominican Sisters
Candleweek 2017
We are glad to let you know that the 11th annual Candleweek in Cherry Orchard is fast approaching. Join us every night @ 7.30pm from Monday 27th February – Friday 3rd March in Cherry Orchard Parish Church for our annual mission week, better known locally as  candleweek.
Candleweek brings the community of Cherry Orchard together in a fun and interactive way as we celebrate and inspire trust in God and in each other.Each night the local parish team & volunteers put on joy-filled liturgies which explore and celebrate our faith.As well as joining us each evening in person, you can also follow us on twitter @candleweek for updates, our Facebook page ‘Cherry Orchard Parish’.  Or contact info@cherryorchardparish.com.

 

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Upcoming documentary series about Irish missionaries in China

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Photo from iCatholic- Columban Missionaries in China

An Misean sa tSín is a short multilingual documentary series looking at four decades of Irish catholic missionary activity in China.   From 1920 to 1954, hundreds of Irish men and women served as Roman Catholic missionaries working in social, pastoral and disaster relief services at an extraordinarily turbulent but fascinating period of Chinese history.  Ordinary Irish people made a commitment to serve their church and engage with a profoundly different culture at the other side of the world.

 

 

The programmes will be screen by TG4 on Monday evenings at 19.30 over four weeks beginning 13th March 2017.
13-03-17 @ 19:30 TG4: An Misean sa tSín – Tús (Beginnings)

 

20-03-17 @ 19:30 TG4:   An Misean sa tSín – Tubaiste (Disaster)

 

27-03-17 @ 19:30 TG4:   An Misean sa tSín – Cogadh (War)

 

03-04-17 @ 19:30 TG4:   An Misean sa tSín – Díbirt (Expulsion)

 

The series features unique film archive and photos from Missionary collections, including footage that has never been broadcast on television. Produced by Esras Films for TG4 © 2017 Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee

 

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Celebrating St Valentine

Collection of hundreds of Free Bible Verse from all over the world.“Obedience, poverty, and chastity make no sense without love. Obedience allows us to love more in that it allows us to love with the love of God, poverty allows us to love more because we use the goods of the earth not for ourselves but for others. Chastity allows us to love more because it frees us from self-love.”
Thanks to the Carmelite Fathers (O.Carm) for this great quote on their website.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all our brother and sister religious in the Archdiocese!

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s Homily for Day of Consecrated Life

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Photo-John McElroy

DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE 2017
Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Church of Saint Anthony, Clontarf, 2nd February 2017

Just over one week ago, Pope Francis spoke in Rome to the members of the Congregation for Religious and Consecrated Life. I was somewhat surprised at how he addressed one of the principal thrusts of his talk: the role of religious towards young people. He did not speak directly about the need for vocations or about specific youth apostolates. He spoke about something more fundamental: about the special and irreplaceable role that religious men and women are called to play in inspiring and accompanying young people in their Christian life.

I can imagine that many religious as they watch the membership of their Congregations growing older might be tempted to feel that their contribution to working with young people is by now minimal, if not even gone beyond its sell-by date. Pope Francis had a different type of reflection.

The Pope began with a reflection on the needs of young people. He spoke of the culture that many genuinely good young people are exposed to in today’s society: a worldly culture in which young people are tempted by a vision of their lives where success and happiness can be attained easily at any price, through easy money and easy pleasure, through power or material prosperity.

He felt that what was important in fighting this worldly culture was precisely something that religious life can offer in a special way. He said that our task in the face of such a worldly culture was to witness to a culture which prized something else: the joy of the Gospel and the joy of belonging to Jesus Christ. This is the role of religious life; this is your calling in today’s world, a counter cultural calling but a counter-cultural calling which is anything but is irrelevant. We have to ask ourselves what young people today need from religious. They need religious who by their detachment from any seeking for power and wealth and pleasure attract young people to the unique joy and fulfilment which come from knowing Jesus Christ and thus allow Jesus Christ to help young people break out of self-centeredness, conformism and worldliness.

Young people have few opportunities to get to know what holiness means in their lives. They need teachers of prayer, teachers of generosity and care and teachers of faithfulness. Working with young people is not just a task for young people. Young people look for wisdom and wisdom comes very often with experience of life. The value and the witness of religious life does not cease by establishing a retirement date. Pope Francis himself is an example of how a man of now over 80 years of age can communicate with young people. Pope Francis stressed that if religious life is to maintain its service and prophetic mission and fascination, then it must always reflect the freshness the newness of the message of Jesus Christ.

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Photo-John McElroy

He said that any religious community should be marked by hope and joy. Only in this context will religious life influence young people who are seeking meaning in their lives in a confused world. He then stressed that this calling of religious is not just an individual call. So many young people find themselves today in a lonely and isolated world. They need the witness of what community means. They need models of community life which show different forms of how people can relate in a mature and disinterested manner. From religious life young people should be able to draw inspiration through how religious work together, how they help and support each other in relationships which go way beyond just personal interest. Jesus is present not just in individual hearts, but his message of mercy and love is witnessed through the way Christians live and the way religious life epitomises that new way of living.

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Photo-John McElroy

I would love to see more diocesan priests finding ways of living in some form of community life, not necessarily within the same four walls, but in ways in which they support each other and in which they witness in the community not just to an individualist spirituality. When I look at parishes in this diocese which are assigned to religious communities, what impresses me and many others is the fact that there is a real sense of community among the priests and others who work in the parish and this is something which then becomes infectious within the wider structures of the parish. The final point that the Pope stressed is the need for religious to find new ways of accompanying young people on their path of life and on their path of faith. Pope Francis speaks often about accompaniment; this is not about telling people what to do, but being with them as discern before the Lord their way through life. It means being there when they fail; it means helping them to open their hearts and commitments beyond conformism; it means being able to talk with them about the God revealed in Jesus Christ

And when I say talk I am not speaking necessarily about words, but about the language of personal integrity. Each congregation has a charism of its own and each congregation can reach out to young people through infecting them with the attractiveness of that charism, that attractiveness which drew each one of you to your vocation. Practical and direct man that he is, Pope Francis did not fail to point out the possible negative side of the way religious is sometimes lived. Pope Francis says nice things, but he is not one who leaves us in our own comfort zone. One of his talents if we listen to him attentively is to make us all with leadership roles in the Church feel uncomfortable. He pointed to the challenges which make religious give up or become half-hearted: tiredness, routine, the weight of managing structures which are at the end of their sell by date, internal divisions, authority which becomes authoritarian.

Sometimes people that Pope Francis can be overcritical of people who feel they are doing their best and from whom you cannot expect more. Pope Francis challenges us to do more because he believes we are all capable of doing more by allowing the strength of Jesus to work through us and, in your case, because he feels that the world needs the witness of religious life. The challenge of the Christian message is for us to reach out beyond our own comfort into the unknown and the unknown makes us feel uncomfortable. On this Feast we can draw strength from Mary who day by day learned to open her heart in trust into the unknown which Jesus opened for her. She became the model for all of us, called to be missionary disciples of Jesus in today’s world. We give thanks to God for the witness of religious life over generations and we turn to the future with hope and courage. And I thank each of you for the witness of faith you have brought and still bring to this faith community of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

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Homily of Pope Francis for 2nd February 2017: Feast of Consecrated Life

Religious, at Vatican, celebrate feast of Presentation of the Lord

When the parents of Jesus brought the Child in fulfilment of the prescriptions of the law, Simeon, “guided by the Spirit” (Lk 2:27), took the Child in his arms and broke out in a hymn of blessing and praise. “My eyes”, he said, “have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Lk 2:30-32). Simeon not only saw, but was privileged to hold in his arms the long-awaited hope, which filled him with exultation. His heart rejoiced because God had come to dwell among his people; he felt his presence in the flesh.

Today’s liturgy tells us that in that rite, the Lord, forty days after his birth, “outwardly was fulfilling the Law, but in reality he was coming to meet his believing people” (Roman Missal, 2 February, Introduction to the Entrance Procession). This encounter of God with his people brings joy and renews hope.

Simeon’s canticle is the hymn of the believer, who at the end of his days can exclaim: “It is true, hope in God never disappoints” (cf. Rm 5:5). God never deceives us. Simeon and Anna, in their old age, were capable of a new fruitfulness, and they testify to this in song. Life is worth living in hope, because the Lord keeps his promise. Jesus himself will later explain this promise in the synagogue of Nazareth: the sick, prisoners, those who are alone, the poor, the elderly and sinners, all are invited to take up this same hymn of hope. Jesus is with them, Jesus is with us (cf. Lk 4:18-19).

We have inherited this hymn of hope from our elders. They made us part of this process. In their faces, in their lives, in their daily sacrifice we were able to see how this praise was embodied. We are heirs to the dreams of our elders, heirs to the hope that did not disappoint our founding mothers and fathers, our older brothers and sisters. We are heirs to those who have gone before us and had the courage to dream. Like them, we too want to sing, “God does not deceive; hope in him does not disappoint”. God comes to meet his people. And we want to sing by taking up the prophecy of Joel and making it our own: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (2:28).

We do well to take up the dreams of our elders, so that we can prophesy in our day and once more encounter what originally set our hearts afire. Dreams and prophecies together. The remembrance of how our elders, our fathers and mothers, dreamed, and the courage prophetically to carry on those dreams.

This attitude will make our consecrated life more fruitful. Most importantly, it will protect us from a temptation that can make our consecrated life barren: the temptation of survival. An evil that can gradually take root within us and within our communities. The mentality of survival makes us reactionaries, fearful, slowly and silently shutting ourselves up in our houses and in our own preconceived notions. It makes us look back, to the glory days – days that are past – and rather than rekindling the prophetic creativity born of our founders’ dreams, it looks for shortcuts in order to evade the challenges knocking on our doors today. A survival mentality robs our charisms of power, because it leads us to “domesticate” them, to make them “user-friendly”, robbing them of their original creative force. It makes us want to protect spaces, buildings and structures, rather than to encourage new initiatives. The temptation of survival makes us forget grace; it turns us into professionals of the sacred but not fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters of that hope to which we are called to bear prophetic witness. An environment of survival withers the hearts of our elderly, taking away their ability to dream. In this way, it cripples the prophecy that our young are called to proclaim and work to achieve. In a word, the temptation of survival turns what the Lord presents as an opportunity for mission into something dangerous, threatening, potentially disastrous. This attitude is not limited to the consecrated life, but we in particular are urged not to fall into it.

Let us go back to the Gospel passage and once more contemplate that scene. Surely, the song of Simeon and Anna was not the fruit of self-absorption or an analysis and review of their personal situation. It did not ring out because they were caught up in themselves and were worried that something bad might happen to them. Their song was born of hope, the hope that sustained them in their old age. That hope was rewarded when they encountered Jesus. When Mary let Simeon take the Son of the Promise into his arms, the old man began to sing – celebrating a true “liturgy” – he sings his dreams. Whenever she puts Jesus in the midst of his people, they encounter joy. For this alone will bring back our joy and hope, this alone will save us from living in a survival mentality. Only this will make our lives fruitful and keep our hearts alive: putting Jesus where he belongs, in the midst of his people.

All of us are aware of the multicultural transformation we are experiencing; no one doubts this. Hence, it is all the more important for consecrated men and women to be one with Jesus, in their lives and in the midst of these great changes. Our mission – in accordance with each particular charism – reminds us that we are called to be a leaven in this dough. Perhaps there are better brands of flour, but the Lord has called us to be leaven here and now, with the challenges we face. Not on the defensive or motivated by fear, but with our hands on the plough, helping the wheat to grow, even though it has frequently been sown among weeds. Putting Jesus in the midst of his people means having a contemplative heart, one capable of discerning how God is walking through the streets of our cities, our towns and our neighbourhoods. Putting Jesus in the midst of his people means taking up and carrying the crosses of our brothers and sisters. It means wanting to touch the wounds of Jesus in the wounds of a world in pain, which longs and cries out for healing.

To put ourselves with Jesus in the midst of his people! Not as religious “activists”, but as men and women who are constantly forgiven, men and women anointed in baptism and sent to share that anointing and the consolation of God with everyone.

To put ourselves with Jesus in the midst of his people. For this reason, “we sense the challenge of finding and sharing a ‘mystique’ of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide which, while chaotic, can [with the Lord] become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage… If we were able to take this route, it would be so good, so soothing, so liberating and hope-filled! To go out of ourselves and to join others” (Evangelii Gaudium, 87) is not only good for us; it also turns our lives and hopes into a hymn of praise. But we will only be able to do this if we take up the dreams of our elders and turn them into prophecy.

Let us accompany Jesus as he goes forth to meet his people, to be in the midst of his people. Let us go forth, not with the complaining or anxiety of those who have forgotten how to prophesy because they failed to take up the dreams of their elders, but with serenity and songs of praise. Not with apprehension but with the patience of those who trust in the Spirit, the Lord of dreams and prophecy. In this way, let us share what is truly our own: the hymn that is born of hope.
Pope Francis

 

 

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Vocation Exploration Day- Delgany

delganyThe next day for women (25 – 45 years) interested in exploring a vocation to the Caramelite Contemplative Life is on Saturday 4th March from 10.30 a.m. until 3.40 p.m. It will take place at the Carmelite Monastery, Delgany.

For more information contact@ 0858601794  or email: contact@carmelitemonasterydelgany.ie

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Monastic Vocation Weekend

rednunsA Monastic Vocations Weekend  will take place from Friday, February 17th 2017 at 2:30 pm until Sunday, February 19th 2017 at 1:00 pm.

“If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for” let the RedNuns journey with you so you can find a deeper purpose in your life.  You are under no pressure whatsoever.  Take your time and God will show you the way.”
For information: http://www.rednuns.com/contact/ or write to:
Monastery of St Alphonsus
St Alphonsus’ Road Upper
Dublin 9, D09 HN53.
Website: http://www.rednuns.com/

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Celebrating consecrated life!

dayforconsecratedlife2017

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Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere on women’s contemplative life

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vultumdeiWe provide below the full text of the Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere, “Seeking the face of God”, on women’s contemplative life, signed by Pope Francis on 29 June 2016, solemnity of the Apostles Sts Peter and Paul. The document consists of a prologue and five chapters: “Esteem, praise and thanksgiving for consecrated life and cloistered contemplative life; The Church’s accompaniment and guidance; Essential elements of the contemplative life; Matters calling for discernment and renewed norms; and The witness offered by nuns, and finally a normative conclusion.

The following is the full document:

1. Seeking the face of God has always been a part of our human history. From the beginning, men and women have been called to a dialogue of love with the Creator. Indeed, mankind is distinguished by an irrepressible religious dimension that leads human hearts to feel the need – albeit not always consciously – to seek God, the Absolute. This quest unites all men and women of good will. Even many who claim to be non-believers acknowledge this heartfelt longing, present in every man and woman who, drawn by a passionate desire for happiness and fulfilment, never remains fully satisfied.

St. Augustine eloquently expressed this yearning in the Confessions: “You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You”. This restlessness of heart is born of the profound intuition that it is God Himself Who takes the initiative; He seeks out men and women and mysteriously draws them to Himself.

In seeking God, we quickly realise that no one is self-sufficient. Rather, we are called, in the light of faith, to move beyond self-centredness, drawn by God’s Holy Face and by the “sacred ground of the other”, to an ever more profound experience of communion.

Through Baptism, every Christian and every consecrated person is called to undertake this pilgrimage of seeking the true God. By the working of the Holy Spirit, it becomes a sequela pressius Christi – a path of ever greater configuration to Christ the Lord. This path finds notable expression in religious consecration, and, in a particular way, by the monastic life, which, from its origins, was seen as a specific way of living out one’s baptism.

2. Consecrated persons, by virtue of their consecration, “follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way”. They are called to recognise the signs of God’s presence in daily life and wisely to discern the questions posed to us by God and the men and women of our time. The great challenge faced by consecrated persons to persevere in seeking God “with the eyes of faith in a world which ignores His presence”, and to continue to offer that world Christ’s life of chastity, poverty and obedience life as a credible and trustworthy sign, thus becoming “a living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word”.

From the origins of the life of special consecration in the Church, men and women called by God and in love with Him have devoted their lives exclusively to seeking His face, longing to find and contemplate God in the heart of the world. The presence of communities set like cities on a hill or lamps on a stand, despite their simplicity of life, visibly represent the goal towards which the entire ecclesial community journeys. For the Church “advances down the paths of time with her eyes fixed on the future restoration of all things in Christ”, thus announcing in advance the glory of heaven.

3. Peter’s words, “Lord, it is good for us to be here!”, have a special meaning for all consecrated persons. This is particularly the case for contemplatives. In profound communion with every other vocation of the Christian life – all of which are “like so many rays of the one light of Christ, Whose radiance brightens the countenance of the Church” – contemplatives “devote a great part of their day imitating the Mother of God, who diligently pondered the words and deeds of her Son, and Mary of Bethany, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened attentively to His words”. Their lives, “hidden with Christ in God”, become an image of the unconditional love of the Lord, Himself the first contemplative. They are so centred on Christ that they can say with the Apostle. “For to me, to live is Christ!”. In this way, they express the all-encompassing character at the heart of a vocation to the contemplative life.

Contemplatives, as men and women immersed in human history and drawn to the splendour of Christ, “the fairest of the sons of men”, are set in the heart of the Church and the world. In their unending search for God, they discover the principal sign and criterion of the authenticity of their consecrated life. St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism, emphasised that a monk is one whose entire life is devoted to seeking God. He insisted that it be determined of one aspiring to the monastic life “si revera Deum quaerit”, whether he truly seeks God.

In a particular way, down the centuries countless consecrated women have devoted, and continue to devote “the whole of their lives and all their activities to the contemplation of God”, as a sign and prophecy of the Church, virgin, spouse and mother. Their lives are a living sign and witness of the fidelity with which God, amid the events of history, continues to sustain his people.

4. The monastic life, as an element of unity with the other christian confessions, takes on a specific form that is prophecy and sign, one that “can and ought to attract all the members of the church to an effective and prompt fulfilment of the duties of their christian vocation”. Communities of prayer, especially contemplative communities, which “by virtue of their separation from the world are all the more closely united to Christ, the heart of the world”, do not propose a more perfect fulfilment of the Gospel. Rather, by living out the demands of Baptism, they constitute an instance of discernment and a summons to the service of the whole Church. Indeed, they are a signpost pointing to a journey and quest, a reminder to the entire People of God of the primary and ultimate meaning of the Christian life.

Esteem, praise and thanksgiving for consecrated life and cloistered contemplative life

5. From the earliest centuries the Church has shown great esteem and sincere love for those men and women who, in docility to the Father’s call and the promptings of the Spirit, have chosen to follow Christ “more closely”, dedicating themselves to Him with an undivided heart. Moved by unconditional love for Christ and all humanity, particularly the poor and the suffering, they are called to reproduce in a variety of forms – as consecrated virgins, widows, hermits, monks and religious – the earthly life of Jesus in chastity, poverty and obedience.

The contemplative monastic life, made up mainly of women, is rooted in the silence of the cloister; it produces a rich harvest of grace and mercy. Women’s contemplative life has always represented in the Church, and for the Church, her praying heart, a storehouse of grace and apostolic fruitfulness, and a visible witness to the mystery and rich variety of holiness.Originating in the individual experience of virgins consecrated to Christ, the natural fruit of a need to respond with love to the love of Christ the Bridegroom, this life soon took form as a definite state and an order recognised by the Church, which began to receive public professions of virginity. With the passage of time, most consecrated virgins united in forms of common life that the Church was concerned to protect and preserve with a suitable discipline. The cloister was meant to preserve the spirit and the strictly contemplative aim of these houses. The gradual interplay between the working of the Spirit, present in the heart of believers and inspiring new forms of discipleship, and the maternal solicitude of the Church, gave rise to the forms of contemplative and wholly contemplative life that we know today. In the West, the contemplative spirit found expression in a multiplicity of charisms, whereas in the East it maintained great unity, but always as a testimony to the richness and beauty of a life devoted completely to God.

Over the centuries, the experience of these sisters, centred on the Lord as their first and only love, has brought forth abundant fruits of holiness and mission. How much has the apostolate been enriched by the prayers and sacrifices radiating from monasteries! And how great is the joy and prophecy proclaimed to the world by the silence of the cloister!

For the fruits of holiness and grace that the Lord has always bestowed through women’s monastic life, let us sing to “the Most High, the Almighty and good Lord” the hymn of thanksgiving “Laudato si’!”

6. Dear contemplative sisters, without you what would the Church be like, or those living on the fringes of humanity and ministering in the outposts of evangelisation? The Church greatly esteems your life of complete self-giving. The Church counts on your prayers and on your self-sacrifice to bring today’s men and women to the good news of the Gospel. The Church needs you!It is not easy for the world, or at least that large part of it dominated by the mindset of power, wealth and consumerism, to understand your particular vocation and your hidden mission; and yet it needs them immensely. The world needs you every bit as much as a sailor on the high seas needs a beacon to guide him to a safe haven. Be beacons to those near to you and, above all, to those far away. Be torches to guide men and women along their journey through the dark night of time. Be sentinels of the morning, heralding the dawn. By your transfigured life, and with simple words pondered in silence, shows us the One Who is the way, and the truth and the life, the Lord Who alone brings us fulfilment and bestows life in abundance. Cry out to us, as Andrew did to Simon: “We have found the Lord”. Like Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, announce to us: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18). Cherish the prophetic value of your lives of self-sacrifice. Do not be afraid to live fully the joy of evangelical life, in accordance with your charism.

The church’s accompaniment and guidance

7. The Magisterium of the Councils and the Popes has always shown a particular concern for all forms of consecrated life through the promulgation of important documents. Among these, special attention needs to be given to two great documents of Vatican Council II: the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium and the Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life Perfectae Caritatis.

The first of these sets the consecrated life within the ecclesiology of the People of God by virtue of the common call to holiness rooted in the consecration of Baptism. The second summons all consecrated persons to a fitting renewal in accordance with the changed conditions of the times. To guide such a renewal, the document proposes the following indispensable criteria: fidelity to Christ, to the Gospel, to one’s own charism, to the Church, and to the men and women of our time.

Nor can we pass over the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata of my predecessor, St. John Paul II. This document, which reaped the rich harvest of the Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life, contains elements that remain important for the continued renewal of consecrated life and its clear witness to the Gospel in our day.

We can also add the following documents as evidence of the constant and helpful guidance provided to the contemplative life:

– The Directives of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) Potissimum Institutioni (2 February 1990), focused extensively upon the specifically contemplative form of consecrated life (Chapter IV, 78-85);

– The Inter-Dicasterial Document Sviluppi (6 January 1992) dealt with the issue of diminishing vocations to the consecrated life in general and, to a lesser extent, the contemplative life (No. 81);

-The Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992), is very helpful for enabling the faithful to understand your form of life; this is particularly the case with Nos. 915-933, which treats all its forms. No. 1672 deals with your non-sacramental consecration and with the blessing of Abbots and Abbesses. Nos. 1974 and 2102 link the Ten Commandments to the profession of the evangelical counsels. No. 2518 presents the close bond between the purity of heart spoken of in the Beatitudes as promising the vision of God, and love of the truths of the faith. Nos. 1691 and 268 praise the persevering intercession made to God by contemplative monasteries – unique places where personal prayer and prayer in community are harmoniously joined, while No. 2715 notes that the prerogative of contemplatives is to keep their gaze fixed on Jesus and the mysteries of his life and ministry;

– The CICLSAL Instruction Congregavit Nos (2 February1994) at Nos. 10 and 34 linked silence and solitude with the profound demands of a community of fraternal life, and stressed that separation from the world is consistent with a daily atmosphere of prayer;

– The CICLSAL Instruction Verbi Sponsa, Ecclesia (13 May 1999) in Articles 1-8 offered an impressive historical-systematic synthesis of previous teachings of the magisterium on the eschatological and missionary significance of the cloistered life of contemplative nuns;

– Finally, the CICLSAL Instruction Starting Afresh from Christ (19 May 2002) urged all consecrated persons to contemplate unceasingly the face of Christ. It presents cloistered monks and nuns as the summit of Church’s choral praise and silent prayer, and at the same time praises them for having always kept the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharistic celebration at the centre of their daily life

8. Fifty years after Vatican Council II, after due consultation and careful discernment, I have considered it necessary to offer the Church, with special reference to monasteries of the Latin rite, the present Apostolic Constitution. It takes into account both the intense and fruitful journey taken by the Church in recent decades in the light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and a changed social and cultural situation. In these past decades, we have seen rapid historical changes that call for dialogue. At the same time, the foundational values of contemplative life need to be maintained. Through these values – silence, attentive listening, the call to an interior life, stability – contemplative life can and must challenge the contemporary mindset.

With this document I wish to reaffirm my personal esteem, together with the gratitude of the entire Church, for the unique form of sequela Christi practised by nuns of contemplative life; for many, it is an entirely contemplative life, a priceless and indispensable gift which the Holy Spirit continues to raise up in the Church.

Wherever necessary or fitting, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will deal with particular questions and reach agreements with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Essential elements of the contemplative life

9. From the first centuries, contemplative life has always been present in the Church, alternating periods of great vigour and others of decline. This has been due to the constant presence of the Lord, together with the Church’s own capacity to renew and adapt herself to changes in society. The contemplative life has always continued to seek the face of God and to preserve unconditional love for Christ as its hallmark.

The consecrated life is a history of passionate love for the Lord and for humanity. In the contemplative life, this history unfolds day after day in a passionate quest to see the face of God in intimate relationship with him. As contemplative women, you respond to Christ the Lord, “Who first loved us” and “gave Himself up for us”, by offering your entire life, living in Him and for Him, “for the praise of His glory”. Through this life of contemplation, you are the voice of the Church as she ceaselessly praises, thanks, implores and intercedes for all mankind. Through your prayer, you are co-workers of God, helping the fallen members of His glorious body to rise again.

In your personal and communitarian prayer, you discover the Lord as the treasure of your life, your good, “utter goodness, the supreme good”, your “wealth and sufficiency”. You come to see, with steadfast faith, that “God alone suffices”, and that you have chosen the better part. You have surrendered your life and fixed your gaze upon the Lord, retreating into the cell of your heart in the inhabited solitude of the cloister and fraternal life in community. In this way, you have become an image of Christ who seeks to encounter the Father on the heights.

10. Over the centuries, the Church has always looked to Mary as the summa contemplatrix. From the annunciation to the resurrection, through the pilgrimage of faith that reached its climax at the foot of the cross, Mary persevered in contemplation of the mystery dwelling within her. In Mary, we glimpse the mystical journey of the consecrated person, grounded in a humble wisdom that savours the mystery of the ultimate fulfilment.

Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God and for whom God is the unum necessarium, in comparison with which all else is seen from a different perspective, because seen through new eyes. Contemplatives appreciate the value of material things, yet these do not steal their heart or cloud their mind; on the contrary, they serve as a ladder to ascend to God. For the contemplative, everything “speaks” of the Most High! Those who immerse themselves in the mystery of contemplation see things with spiritual eyes. This enables them to see the world and other persons as God does, whereas others “have eyes but do not see”, for they see with carnal eyes.

11. Contemplation thus involves having, in Christ Jesus whose face is constantly turned to the Father, a gaze transfigured by the working of the Holy Spirit, a gaze full of awe at God and His wonders. Contemplation involves having a pure mind, in which the echoes of the Word and the voice of the Spirit are felt as a soft wind. It is not by chance that contemplation is born of faith; indeed, faith is both the door and the fruit of contemplation. It is only by saying with utter trust, “Here I am!”, that one can enter into the mystery.

This silent and recollected peace of mind and heart can meet with subtle temptations. Your contemplation can become a spiritual combat to be fought courageously in the name of, and for the good of, the entire Church, which looks to you as faithful sentinels, strong and unyielding in battle. Among the most perilous temptations faced by contemplatives is that which the Desert Fathers called “the midday devil”; it is the temptation to listlessness, mere routine, lack of enthusiasm and paralysing lethargy. As I noted in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, little by little this leads to “a tomb psychology… [that] develops and slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum. Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like ‘the most precious of the devil’s potions’.”

Matters calling for discernment and renewed norms

12. As a means of assisting contemplative women to attain the goal of their specific vocation as described above, I would invite reflection and discernment on twelve aspects of consecrated life in general and the monastic tradition in particular. These are formation, prayer, the word of God, the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, fraternal life in community, autonomy, federations, the cloister, work, silence, the communications media and asceticism. The results of this reflection and discernment will have to be implemented in ways respectful of the specific charismatic traditions of the various monastic families. At the same time, they must respect the regulations found at the end of the present Constitution, as well as the practical guidelines soon to be issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Formation

13. The formation of consecrated persons is a process aimed at configuration to the Lord Jesus and the assimilation of His mind and heart in the complete gift of self to the Father. This process is never-ending and is meant to imbue the entire person, with the result that, in their way of thinking and acting, consecrated persons show that they belong fully and joyful to Christ; it thus demands a constant conversion to God. It aims at shaping the heart, the mind and all of life by facilitating an integration of the human, cultural, spiritual and pastoral dimensions.

In a particular way, the formation of contemplatives is directed to a harmonious communion with God and one’s Sisters within an atmosphere of silence protected by the daily life of the cloister.

14. God the Father is the formator par excellence, but in this work of craftsmanship He employs human instruments. Men and women formators are elder brothers and sisters whose principal mission is that of disclosing “the beauty of following Christ and the value of the charism by which this is accomplished”.

Formation, especially continuing formation, is “an intrinsic requirement of religious consecration”, and is grounded in the daily life of the community. Consequently, sisters should keep in mind that the ordinary place where the process of formation takes place is the monastery itself, and that fraternal life in community, in all its expressions, should contribute to this process.

15. In today’s social, cultural and religious context, monasteries need to pay great attention to vocational and spiritual discernment, without yielding to the temptation to think in terms of numbers and efficiency. They should ensure that candidates receive personalised guidance and adequate programmes of formation, always keeping in mind that for initial formation and that following temporary profession, to the extent possible, “ample time must be reserved”, no less than nine years and not more than twelve.

Prayer

16. Liturgical and personal prayer are fundamental to, and necessary for, nourishing your contemplation. If “prayer is the ‘core’ of consecrated life”, it is even more so for the contemplative life. Today many persons do not know how to pray. Many simply feel no need to pray, or limit their relationship with God to a plea for help at times of difficulty when there is no one else to turn to. For others, prayer is merely praise in moments of happiness. In reciting and singing the praises of the Lord with the Liturgy of the Hours, you also pray for these persons and, like the prophets, you intercede for the salvation of all. Personal prayer will help keep you united to the Lord like branches on the vine, and thus your life will bear abundant fruit. But never forget that your life of prayer and contemplation must not be lived as a form of self-absorption; it must enlarge your heart to embrace all humanity, especially those who suffer.

Through intercessory prayer, you play a fundamental role in the life of the Church. You pray and intercede for our many brothers and sisters who are prisoners, migrants, refugees and victims of persecution. Your prayers of intercession embrace the many families experiencing difficulties, the unemployed, the poor, the sick, and those struggling with addiction, to mention just a few of the more urgent situations. You are like those who brought the paralytic to the Lord for healing. Through your prayer, night and day, you bring before God the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters who for various reasons cannot come to Him to experience His healing mercy, even as He patiently waits for them. By your prayers, you can heal the wounds of many.

The Virgin Mary is our supreme model in the contemplation of Christ. Her Son’s face belongs uniquely to her. She is the Mother and Teacher of perfect conformation to her Son; by her example and her maternal presence she sustains you, her special children, in your daily fidelity to prayer.

17. In the book of Exodus, we read that Moses decided the fate of his people by prayer; he ensured victory over the enemy as long as he kept his arms raised to ask for the Lord’s help. It strikes me that this is a most eloquent image of the power and efficacy of your own prayer on behalf of all humanity and the Church, especially of the vulnerable and those in need. Now, as then, we can conclude that the fate of humanity is decided by the prayerful hearts and uplifted hands of contemplative women. That is why I urge you to remain faithful, in accordance with your constitutions, to liturgical and personal prayer; the latter is in fact a preparation for, and a prolongation of, the former. I urge you to “prefer nothing to the opus Dei”, lest anything obstruct, divert or interrupt your ministry of prayer. In this way, through contemplation you will become ever more fully an image of Christ and your communities will become true schools of prayer.

18. All this demands a spirituality grounded in the word of God, the power of the sacramental life, the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium and the writings of your founders and foundresses, a spirituality that enables you to become daughters of heaven and daughters of the earth, disciples and missionaries, according to your proper way of life. It also calls for gradual training in the life of personal and liturgical prayer, and contemplation itself, in the constant realisation that these are chiefly nourished by the “scandalous beauty” of the cross.

The centrality of the word of God

19. One of the most significant elements of monastic life in general is the centrality of the word of God for personal and community life. St. Benedict stressed this when he asked his monks to listen willingly to sacred readings: “lectiones sanctas libenter audire”. Over the centuries, monasticism has been the guardian of lectio divina. Nowadays this is commended to the entire People of God and demanded of all consecrated religious. You yourselves are called to make it the nourishment of your contemplation and daily life, so that you can then share this transforming experience of God’s word with priests, deacons, other consecrated persons and the laity. Look upon this sharing as a true ecclesial mission.

Prayer and contemplation are certainly the most fitting place to welcome the word of God, yet they themselves have their source in hearing that word. The entire Church, and especially communities completely devoted to contemplation, need to rediscover the centrality of the word of God, which, as my predecessor St. John Paul II stated, is the “first source of all spirituality”. The word of God needs to nourish your life, your prayer, your contemplation and your daily journey, and to become the principle of communion for your communities and fraternities. For they are called to welcome that word, to meditate upon it, to contemplate it and to join in putting it into practice, communicating and sharing the fruits born of this experience. In this way, you will grow in an authentic spirituality of communion. Here I urge you to “avoid the risk of an individualistic approach, and remember that God’s word is given to us precisely to build communion, to unite us in the Truth along our path to God… Consequently, the sacred text must always be approached in the communion of the Church”.

20. Lectio divina, the prayerful reading of God’s word, is an art that helps us pass from the biblical text to life. It is an existential interpretation of sacred Scripture, whereby we can bridge the gap between spirituality and daily life, between faith and life. The process initiated by lectio divina is meant to guide us from hearing to knowledge, and from knowledge to love.

Today, thanks to the biblical renewal that received fresh impetus especially in the wake of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum of Vatican Council II, everyone is invited to familiarity with the Scriptures. Through prayerful and assiduous reading of the biblical text, dialogue with God becomes a daily reality for His People. Lectio divina should help you to cultivate a docile, wise and discerning heart, capable of knowing what is of God and what, on the other hand, can lead away from Him. Lectio divina should allow you to acquire that kind of supernatural intuition which enabled your founders and foundresses to avoid being conformed to the mentality of this world, but renewed in their own minds, “to discern what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will”.

21. Your entire day, both personal and in community, ought to be organised around the word of God. Thus your communities and fraternities will become schools where the word is carefully listened to, put into practice and proclaimed to all those who encounter you.

Lastly, never forget that “the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity” . In this way, it will produce abundant fruits along the path of conformation to Christ, the goal of our entire life.

The sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation

22. The Eucharist is the sacrament par excellence of encounter with the person of Jesus; it “contains the entire spiritual wealth of the Church, that is, Christ Himself”. The Eucharist is the heart of the life of every baptised person and of consecrated life itself; hence it is at the very core of the contemplative life. Indeed, the offering of your lives gives you a particular share in the paschal mystery of death and resurrection present in the Eucharist. Our common breaking of bread repeats and makes present Jesus’ own offering of Himself: the Lord “broke Himself, breaks Himself, for our sake” and asks us “to give ourselves, to break ourselves for the sake of others”. So that this profound mystery can take place and shine forth in all its richness, each celebration of the Eucharist should be prepared with care, dignity and sobriety, and all should take part in it fully, faithfully and consciously.

In the Eucharist, the eyes of the heart recognise Jesus. St. John Paul II tells us that “to contemplate Christ involves being able to recognise Him wherever He manifests Himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of His body and His blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; she is fed by Him and by Him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a ‘mystery of light’. Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: ‘Their eyes were opened and they recognised Him’”. The Eucharist draws you daily into the mystery of love, nuptial love, “the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom towards the Church the Bride”.

Consequently, the tradition of prolonging the celebration of Mass with Eucharistic adoration is praiseworthy; it is a privileged moment to digest spiritually the bread of the word broken during the celebration, and to persevere in thanksgiving.

23. The Eucharist inspires a commitment to continuous conversion that finds sacramental expression in Reconciliation. May frequent personal or communal celebration of the sacrament of Penance become a privileged means for you to contemplate Jesus Christ, the face of the Father’s mercy, to be renewed in heart and to purify your relationship with God in contemplation.

The joyful experience of God’s forgiveness received in this sacrament grants you the grace to become prophets and ministers of his mercy, and instruments of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. Our world greatly needs such prophets and ministers.

Fraternal life in community

24. Fraternal life in community is an essential element of religious life in general, and of monastic life in particular, albeit in the variety of different charisms.

The relationship of communion is the manifestation of that love which wells up in the heart of the Father and is poured into our hearts by the Spirit whom Jesus has bestowed on us. Simply by making this reality visible, the Church, God’s family, is the sign of profound union with Him and appears as the home in which this life-giving experience is possible for all. By calling some men and women to share in His life, Christ the Lord formed a community that makes visible “the capacity for the communion of goods, for fraternal love, for shared projects and activities; and this capacity comes from having accepted the invitation to follow Him more freely and more closely”. The fraternal life, in virtue of which consecrated men and women seek to become “one heart and one soul” on the model of the earliest Christian communities, “aims to be an eloquent witness to the Trinity”.

25. Fraternal communion is a reflection of God’s own way of being and bestowing himself; it testifies to the fact that “God is love”. The consecrated life professes to believe in, and live by, the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The community of brothers and sisters thus becomes a graced reflection of the God who is a Trinity of Love.

Unlike the life of hermits, who live “in silence and solitude” and are likewise esteemed by the Church, the monastic life entails a growing community life meant to create an authentic fraternal communion, a koinonia. This means that all the members must see themselves as builders of community and not simply recipients of its eventual benefits. A community exists inasmuch as it comes about and is built up by the contribution of all, each according to his or her gifts, through the development of a strong spirituality of communion whereby all experience a sense of belonging. Only in this way can life in community provide its members with the mutual assistance needed to live their vocation to the full.

26. You who have embraced the monastic life must never forget that today’s men and women expect you to bear witness to an authentic fraternal communion that, in a society marked by divisions and inequality, clearly demonstrates that life in common is both possible and fulfilling, despite differences of age, education and even culture. Your communities ought to be credible signs that these differences, far from being an obstacle to fraternal life, actually enrich it. Remember that unity and communion are not the same as uniformity, and are nourished by dialogue, sharing, mutual assistance and profound compassion, especially towards the most frail and needy.

27. Lastly, remember that fraternal life in community is also the primary form of evangelisation: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. For this reason, I urge you not to neglect the means suggested and provided by the Church to consolidate community life and to be ever vigilant with regard to this sensitive but fundamental aspect of monastic life. Together with sharing the word and the experience of God, and communal discernment, “we should recall fraternal correction, review of life and other forms typical of the tradition. These are concrete ways of putting at the service of others and of pouring into the community the gifts which the Spirit gives so abundantly for its upbuilding and for its mission in the world”.

As I urged during my recent meeting with consecrated persons in Rome for the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life, try to remain close to your sisters, whom the Lord has given you as a precious gift. Then too, as St. Benedict reminds us, in community life it is essential both to “honour the elderly and to show affection to the young”. The fruitfulness of fraternal life in community is also rooted in this effort to reconcile the remembrance of the past with the promise of the future.

The autonomy of monasteries

28. Autonomy favours the stability of life and internal unity of each community, ensuring the best conditions for contemplation. But autonomy ought not to mean independence or isolation, especially from the other monasteries of the same Order or the same charismatic family.

29. “No one contributes to the future in isolation, by his or her efforts alone, but by seeing himself or herself as part of a true communion which is constantly open to encounter, dialogue, attentive listening and mutual assistance”. For this reason, take care to avoid “the disease of self-absorption” and to preserve the value of communion between different monasteries as a path of openness towards the future and a means of updating and giving expression to the enduring and codified values of your autonomy.

Federations

30. Federation is an important structure of communion between monasteries sharing the same charism, lest they remain isolated.

The principal aim of a Federation is to promote the contemplative life in the member monasteries, in accordance with the demands of their proper charism, and to ensure assistance in initial and continuous formation as well as in practical needs, through the exchange of nuns and the sharing of material goods. In view of these aims, federations ought to be encouraged and increase in number.

The cloister

31. Separation from the world, necessary for all those who follow Christ in the religious life, is especially evident in your own case, as contemplative sisters, by the cloister, which is the inner sanctum of the Church as spouse: “a sign of the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord, whom she loves above all things”.

The cloister has taken canonical shape in four diverse forms and degrees. In addition to that common to all religious institutes, there are three others typical of contemplative communities, namely papal, constitutional and monastic. The papal cloister “conforms to the norms given by the Apostolic See” and “excludes any external ministry”. The constitutional cloister is defined by the rules of individual constitutions, while the monastic cloister, though maintaining the character of “a more rigorous discipline” with respect to the common cloister, may, in addition to their primary function of the divine worship, allow for a wider range of hospitality and reception, always in accordance with the individual constitutions. The common cloister is the least restrictive of the four.

The variety of ways in which the cloister is observed within the same Order should be seen as an enrichment and not an obstacle to communion; it is a matter of reconciling different approaches in a higher unity. This communion can take concrete shape in various forms of encounter and cooperation, above all in initial and ongoing formation.

Work

32. Through your labour too, you share in the work that God the Creator carries out in the world. This activity puts you in close relationship with all those who labour responsibly to live by the fruit of their toil and thus to contribute to the work of creation and the service of humanity. In a particular way, it shows your solidarity with the poor who cannot live without work, and who, even though they may work, still frequently need the providential help of their brothers and sisters.

As the great contemplative saints have warned, work must never stifle the spirit of contemplation. Your life is meant to “poor in fact and spent in hard-working moderation” – as your solemnly professed vow of evangelical poverty requires. For this reason, your work should be done carefully and faithfully, without yielding to the present-day culture and its mindset of efficiency and constant activity. The “ora et labora” of the Benedictine tradition should always be your inspiration and help you to find the right balance between seeking the Absolute and commitment to your daily chores, between the peace of contemplation and the effort expended in work.

Silence

33. In the contemplative life, and especially in the wholly contemplative life, I consider it important to heed the silence filled by God’s presence as the necessary “space” for hearing and pondering (ruminatio) his word. Silence is a prerequisite to that gaze of faith that enables us to welcome God’s presence into our own life, that of the brothers and sisters given us by the Lord, and the events of today’s world. Silence entails self-emptying in order to grow in receptivity; interior noise makes it impossible to welcome anyone or anything. Your wholly contemplative life calls for “time and the ability to be silent and listen” to God and the plea of humanity. Moved by the love each one of you has for the Lord, let your bodily tongue fall silent and allow that of the Spirit to speak.

In this, Mary Most Holy can serve as your example. She was able to receive the Word because she was a woman of silence – no barren or empty silence, but rather one rich and overflowing. The silence of the Virgin Mother was also full of love, for love always prepares us to welcome the Other and others.

The communications media

34. In our society, the digital culture has a decisive influence in shaping our thoughts and the way we relate to the world and, in particular, to other people. Contemplative communities are not immune from this cultural climate. Clearly, these media can prove helpful for formation and communication. At the same time, I urge a prudent discernment aimed at ensuring that they remain truly at the service of formation to contemplative life and necessary communication, and do not become occasions for wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life in community. Nor should they prove harmful for your vocation or become an obstacle to your life wholly dedicated to contemplation.

Asceticism

35. The practice of asceticism, by drawing upon all those means that the Church proposes for self-control and the purification of the heart, is also a path to liberation from “worldliness”. Asceticism fosters a life in accordance with the interior logic of the Gospel, which is that of gift, especially the gift of self as the natural response to the first and only love of your life. In this way, you will be able to respond not only to the expectations of your brothers and sisters, but also to the moral and spiritual demands inherent in the three evangelical counsels that you professed with a solemn vow.

Your life of complete self-giving thus takes on a powerful prophetic meaning. Your moderation, your detachment from material things, your self-surrender in obedience, your transparent relationships – these become all the more radical and demanding as a result of your free renunciation “of ‘space’, of contacts, of so many benefits of creation… [as a] particular way of offering up [your] ‘body’”. Your choice of a life of stability becomes an eloquent sign of fidelity for our globalised world, accustomed to increasingly rapid and easy relocations, with the risk that many persons never sink roots in any one place.

In the life of the cloister, fraternal relationships become even more demanding, since interaction in such communities is constant and close. By remaining close to your brothers and sisters despite disagreements needing to be settled, tensions and conflicts to be resolved, and weaknesses to be accepted, you set a helpful example to the People of God and to today’s world, so often rent by conflict and division. The path of asceticism is also a means of acknowledging your own weakness and entrusting it to the tender mercy of God and the community.

Finally, the commitment to asceticism is necessary for carrying out with love and fidelity our daily responsibilities, for seeing them as opportunities to share in the lot of our many brothers and sisters throughout the world, and as a silent and fruitful offering for their needs.

The witness offered by nuns

36. Dear sisters, everything that I have written in this Apostolic Constitution is meant to be, for you who have embraced the contemplative vocation, an effective contribution to the renewal of your life and your mission in the Church and the world. May the Lord be ever present and active in your heart and transform you entirely in Him, the ultimate aim of the contemplative life, and may your communities or fraternities become true schools of contemplation and prayer.

The world and the Church need you to be beacons of light for the journey of the men and women of our time. This should be your prophetic witness. You have chosen not to flee the world out of fear, as some might think, but to remain in the world, while not being of the world. Although you live apart from the world, through the signs of your belonging to Christ, you tirelessly intercede for mankind, presenting to the Lord its fears and hopes, its joys and sufferings.

Do not deprive us of your participation in building an ever more humane and thus evangelical world. In union with the Lord, hear the cry of your brothers and sisters, who are victims of the “throw away culture”, or simply in need of the light brought by the Gospel. Practice the art of listening “which is more than simply hearing”, and the “spirituality of hospitality”, by taking to heart and bringing to prayer all that concerns our brothers and sisters made in the image and likeness of God. As I noted in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “intercessory prayer does not divert us from true contemplation, since authentic contemplation always has a place for others”.

In this way, your testimony will be, as it were, a necessary complement to the witness of those who, as contemplatives in the heart of the world, bear witness to the Gospel while remaining fully immersed in the work of building the earthly city.

37. Dear contemplative sisters, you are well aware that your form of consecrated life, like all other forms, “is a gift to the Church, arises and grows within the Church, and is completely directed to the good of the Church”. Persevere, then, in profound communion with the Church so that in her midst you may become a living continuation of the mystery of Mary, Virgin, Bride and Mother, who welcomes and treasures the Word in order to give it back to the world. Thus you will help to bring Christ to birth and increase in the hearts of men and women who, often unconsciously, are thirsting for the One who is the “way, the truth, and the life. Like Mary, you too strive to be a “stairway” by which God descends to encounter humanity, and humanity ascends to encounter God and to contemplate His face in the face of Christ.

Conclusion and regulations

In the light of the above, I order and establish the following.

Art. 1. With reference to canon 20 of the Code of Canon Law, and after a careful study of the above 37 articles, with the promulgation and the publication of this Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere, the following are derogated:

1. Those canons of the Code of Canon Law that, in part, directly contradict any article of the present Constitution;

2. and, more specifically, the articles containing norms and dispositions found in:

– the Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi of Pius XII (21 November 1950): Statuta Generalia Monialium;

– the Instruction Inter Praeclara of the Sacred Congregation for Religious (23 November 1950);

– the Instruction Verbi Sponsa of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (13 May 1999) on the contemplative life and enclosure of nuns.

Art. 2 §1. This Constitution is addressed to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to individual cloistered monasteries of nuns, whether wholly contemplative or not, and whether part of a federation or not.

§2. The matters regulated by this Apostolic Constitution are those listed above in No. 12 and further developed in Nos. 13-35.

§3. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life – if need be, in agreement with the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples – will regulate the different modalities of implementing these constitutive norms, in accordance with the different monastic traditions and taking into account the various charismatic families.

Art. 3 §1. Through suitable structures identified during the elaboration of a plan of community life, individual monasteries are to give special attention to ongoing formation, which is the foundation for every stage of formation, beginning with initial formation.

§2. In order to ensure adequate ongoing formation, federations are to promote cooperation between monasteries through the exchange of formational materials and the use of digital means of communication, always exercising due discretion.

§3. Together with the careful selection of sisters to serve as formators and to guide candidates in the development of personal maturity, individual monasteries and federations are to make every effort to ensure a sound preparation of formators and their assistants.

§4. Sisters charged with the sensitive task of formation may also attend, servatis de iure servandis, specific courses on formation outside their monastery, always conducting themselves in a way fitting and consistent with their own charism. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are to issue particular norms in this regard.

§5. Monasteries are to pay special attention to vocational and spiritual discernment, ensuring that candidates receive personalised guidance, and to provide adequate programmes of formation, always keeping in mind that ample time is to be set apart for initial formation.

§6. Even though the establishment of international and multicultural communities is a sign of the universality of the charism, the recruitment of candidates from other countries solely for the sake of ensuring the survival of a monastery is to be absolutely avoided. To ensure that this is the case, certain criteria are to be determined.

§7. To ensure a high quality of formation, monasteries should, as circumstances dictate, promote common houses for initial formation.

Art. 4 §1. Recognising that prayer is the heart of contemplative life, each monastery is to review its daily horarium to see if it is centred on the Lord.

§2. Community celebrations should be reviewed to see if they constitute an authentic and vital encounter with the Lord.

Art. 5 §1. Given the importance of lectio divina, each monastery is to establish fitting times and means for respecting this requirement of reading and listening, ruminatio, prayer, contemplation and sharing of the sacred Scriptures.

§2. Since sharing the transforming experience of God’s word with priests, deacons, other consecrated persons and the laity is an expression of genuine ecclesial communion, each monastery is to determine how this spiritual outreach can be accomplished.

Art. 6 §1. Each monastery, in elaborating its plan of community and fraternal life, in addition to carefully preparing its Eucharistic celebrations, is to set aside appropriate times for Eucharistic adoration, also inviting the faithful of the local Church to take part.

§2. Particular attention is to be given to the selection of chaplains, confessors and spiritual directors, taking into account the specific charism and the demands of fraternal life in community.

Art. 7 §1. Those called to carry out the ministry of authority, besides being attentive to their own formation, are to be guided by a true spirit of fraternity and service so as to foster a joy-filled environment of freedom and responsibility, thus promoting personal and community discernment and truthful communication of what each member does, thinks and feels.

§2. The plan of community life should readily welcome and encourage the sharing of each sister’s human and spiritual gifts for mutual enrichment and growth in fraternity.

Art. 8 §1. Juridical autonomy needs to be matched by a genuine autonomy of life. This entails a certain, even minimal, number of sisters, provided that the majority are not elderly, the vitality needed to practice and spread the charism, a real capacity to provide for formation and governance, dignity and quality of liturgical, fraternal and spiritual life, sign value and participation in life of the local Church, self-sufficiency and a suitably appointed monastery building. These criteria ought to be considered comprehensively and in an overall perspective.

§2. Whenever the requirements for a monastery’s genuine autonomy are lacking, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will study the possibility of establishing an ad hoc commission made up of the ordinary, the president of the federation, a representative of the federation and the abbess or prioress of the monastery. In every case, the purpose of this intervention is to initiate a process of guidance for the revitalisation of the monastery, or to effect its closure.

§3. This process may also envisage affiliation to another monastery or entrustment, if the monastery belongs to a federation, to the federation president and her council. In every case, the ultimate decision always rests with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Art. 9 §1. Initially, all monasteries are to be part of a federation. If, for some special reason, a monastery cannot join a federation, after the vote of the chapter, permission to allow the monastery to remain outside a federation is to be sought from the Holy See, which is competent to study and decide the question.

§2. Federations can be established not only on a geographical basis but also on an affinity of spirit and traditions. Norms in this regard will be issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

§3. Assistance in formation and in meeting concrete needs through the exchange of nuns and the sharing of material goods is also to be ensured, in accordance with the provisions of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The Congregation will also determine the competencies of the federation president and council.

§4. The association, even juridical, of monasteries to the corresponding Order of men is to be encouraged. Confederations and the establishment of international commissions made up of different Orders, with statutes approved by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, are likewise to be encouraged.

Art. 10 §1. Each monastery, following serious discernment and respecting its proper tradition and the demands of its constitutions, is to ask the Holy See what form of cloister it wishes to embrace, whenever a different form of cloister from the present one is called for.

§2. Once one of the possible forms of cloister is chosen and approved, each monastery will take care to comply with, and live in accordance with, its demands.

Art. 11 §1. Even if certain monastic communities, in accordance with their proper law, may enjoy some income, this does not mean that the members are exempted from the obligation of labour.

§2. In communities devoted to contemplation, the income received from labour should not be used exclusively to ensure a decent sustenance, but also, if possible, to assist the poor and monasteries in need.

Art. 12. The daily horarium is to include suitable moments of silence, in order to foster a climate of prayer and contemplation.

Art. 13. In its plan of community life, each monastery is to provide for some fitting means for expressing the ascetic discipline of monastic life, in order to make it more prophetic and credible.

Final Provision

Art. 14 §1. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will issue, in accordance with the spirit and the norms of the present Apostolic Constitution, a new Instruction concerning the matters dealt with in No. 12.

§2. Once they have been adapted to the new regulations, the articles of the constitutions or rules of individual institutes are to be submitted for approval by the Holy See.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on 29 June, the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, in the year 2016, the fourth of my Pontificate.

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New times require new institutions- Homily notes of Most. Rev. Diarmuid Martin

abNEW TIMES REQUIRE NEW INSTITUTIONS

Homily at the final Mass in the Mater Dei Institute Chapel

Homily notes of   Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

Mater Dei Institute Chapel, 24th August 2016 – 4.30pm

 “In the second half of the nineteenth century the geography of this part of Dublin was changing and was being marked by a growing and extensive presence of Catholic Institutions. It was a clear sign of courage and purpose by the Catholic community of the time, especially by Cardinal Cullen and later by his successor Cardinal McCabe, the then Archbishops of Dublin. Newman’s Catholic University was to be constructed on Saint Alphonsus Road where the current Redemptoristine Convent now stands.  All Hallows College, a remarkable and unique institution, was being built to provide for the training of priests who would go and spread the Gospel and in many ways establish and consolidate local churches right across the English-speaking world.   Saint Patrick’s Training College in Drumcondra was established which would provide generations of teachers who would be the backbone of that Irish primary educational system from which so many have benefitted for well over a century.  The Seminary at Clonliffe was opened in 1860 and through its links with the Royal University College in Dublin aimed to provide a high level of intellectual formation for the future priests of Dublin. 

It was a moment of courageously and purposefully addressing the new challenges of the Catholic Church in Dublin as it emerged into full citizenship in post-Emancipation Ireland.
Most of these institutions are slowly vanishing from or are being transformed within the current geographical and cultural landscape of this part of Dublin.  This evening we celebrate the contribution of a more recent but no less significant institution: The Mater Dei College of Education.  We have much to celebrate as we reflect on this post-Vatican II institution.  We celebrate; we have to say however in the context of the closure of the Institute.   Less than a month ago I celebrated a similar Mass for the closure of All Hallows College.  Shortly Saint Patrick’s College in Drumcondra will become fully incorporated into Dublin City University.  There are those who say that all this is the end of an era and a sign of a less optimistic, enthusiastic and forward-looking presence of the Church in Irish society. 

Is it the end of an era?  My answer is yes, but not in the sense of a definitive end to the presence of Christian faith as a constitutive part of Irish society.  It is the recognition of an already changing and changed era in Irish culture and of the wisdom of taking note of that change.  Recognising change does not mean that we take refuge and become entrenched in the past, but that we enter into a new era with a different, renewed and purpose-filled commitment.   

The institutions of one hundred and fifty years ago have to be replaced and renewed to be effective and incisive in the world of the 21st Century.  The change that has been and continues to take place in Irish religious culture is radical and the response to radical change cannot be one of just tweaking.  The institutions of 150 years ago were perhaps the appropriate ones for that time, though not necessarily in an absolute sense.  The controversies between Cardinal Cullen and Newman about the Catholic University showed differences in the understanding of the place of the Church in society even in the eighteenth century.  

Cullen had personally witnessed the detriment wreaked by an anti-religious and hostile enlightenment political culture in parts of mainland Europe and he became defensive and protective in his approach.  Newman was more open to a form of Catholic education which could engage with and intellectually confront the enlightenment. Indeed even earlier the then Archbishop of Dublin, Daniel Murray, stood alone among Irish Bishops in his openness to the National School System and the Kings Colleges, which the other bishops saw simply as “Godless Colleges”.  

There are those who think that today we are selling our family silver to a new godlessness in Irish society.  I for one am much less pessimistic, but hopefully not less realistic.  We need new institutions to address a new era.  In the past the Church invested in the rock-hard bricks and mortar of unchanging institutions to provide a firm basis for education in the faith.  Today in a society where institutions are built with “soft walls” rather than impenetrable bricks and mortar, we need to look to something more flexible, perhaps more like the virtual structures within which our young people grow and develop and challenge and perhaps also fail.  We need to foster the intellectual engagement which was the project of Newman, rather than the more protective and dogmatic approach of the then Irish church establishment. 

What is happening?  Mater Dei and Saint Patrick’s College will soon cease to exist in their current form, but the fact that the names of both institutions will remain in a different context is a sign that continuity can co-exist with a changing role of the church in an evolving society.  The New Faculty of Education in DCU will be a revolutionary institute which I believe will contribute to a qualitative change in educational theory and research in Ireland.  

The DCU Faculty will include Institutes of Catholic and Church of Ireland education.  For the first time candidates who aspire to teach in the various traditions of denominational education will be trained together and alongside those who aspire to a more secular vision.  This is a vision close to the current realities.  This new vision will foster not division but a recognition of difference and a fostering of the ability to live with difference in a pluralistic, multi-faith and also more secular Irish society.  The believer and the non-believer have equal citizenship in a pluralist society.  

On its part, Mater Dei was not just an institution for teacher training.  Its work reached out into the Catholic faith community through training within parish communities and in the preparation of chaplains and pastoral workers and permanent deacons, and initially even in the formation of young religious.    This is a work which must continue even if within in a new framework.  

I have established within the Archdiocese of Dublin a new Diocesan position of Coordinator of Catechetical Formation, which will be led by Donal Harrington a distinguished and competent graduate and former teacher in Mater Dei.   The aim of the office will be to help train and coordinate the challenging task of the catechesis especially of young people and young adults. Parish-based catechesis will be an important parallel contribution to the work of Catholic schools.  It will help to ensure life-long formation of Catholics, both in support for their own faith and in renewing confidence in the qualitative contribution which Irish citizens of faith can bring to the formation of an Irish society of which all can be proud.   

We need to provide a new and vigorous formation of lay Catholics within the Irish Church, one which witnesses to the bonds between faith and life in a pluralist culture.  This should not be simply a cerebral intellectual exercise, no matter how important intellectual formation must be.  We need to look at understanding what faith means in today’s society; what prayer means in a society which finds itself uncertain in understanding the transcendent, and which results in that sensitivity and caring outreach to the old and new peripheries of society which Pope Francis calls for.   

In this context I have already announced the establishment precisely in Newman’s University Church in Saint Stephen’s Green a new Centre for Faith and Dialogue in society led by Notre Dame University which will open in September.  

Similarly I have set out my thoughts on possible new forms of the preparation of future priests, not just in terms of a different human, spiritual and pastoral preparation, but in finding future priests, with a mature faith, who have the ability to be present as leaders of faith communities in a changing society. Vocations to the priesthood will spring-up from within mature lay faith communities.  The training of future priests belongs closer to the faith communities which they will serve and which will continue to nourish them along their path.  

We are at the end of an era but also at the beginning of a new era.  There is nothing about that situation which should alarm us.  That is the history of the presence of faith in Jesus Christ right across human history.  The message of Jesus Christ is always a message of newness. A strong faith is not a faith rooted in unreal human certainty but in the constant search for an unsettling certainty which is not ours, but which comes from the invitation of Jesus.  There is a beautiful phrase in the Gospel of the Mass of today’s feast of Saint Bartholomew where Phillip tells Nathaniel that he has found Jesus.  Nathaniel is somewhat scandalised when he is told that this Jesus is from Nazareth and asks:  “can anything good come form that place?”  Philip’s response is a simple one “Come and see”.  That is what faith education is about:  an openness to come and see, to seek, to learn.  Pope Benedict has said that “the task of Christians today is to witness to God in a world which finds it hard to find him”. 

Faith education in Ireland has to move forward from a “just listen to me” dogmatic catechesis into one within which we are invited by Jesus “to come and see” within the realities of our time.   Ireland also needs to overcome the intolerance of religion which can be found at times in an intransigent secularism which still feels that nothing can come from faith in that Jesus who “was born in that place”, a place which they consider alien.   

We live in an era of change.  It is no time for believers to sit and bemoan or to be side-lined into the irrelevant.  Believers must regain confidence and courage to face new things in new ways.  It is time for tolerance and respect for diversities.  It is time for a Church to be present in society in such a way as to help people find that God revealed in Jesus Christ, not as an imposition but as an invitation to fullness of life.  

We thank God for the work over these years of the Mater Dei Institute and we pray that Mary, Mother of Church, will watch over the transition that is taking place and go out of her way to be with us, just as we heard in our Gospel reading, she journeyed to be with her cousin Elizabeth in her expectation.”
– See more at: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/homily-at-the-final-mass-in-the-mater-dei-institute-chapel/#sthash.gf4K8V3h.dpuf

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Priestly ordinations for the Pallotine Fathers

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Fr. Jaimie Twohig, SAC

 

Together with the Pallotine Family in Ireland, we thank God for the ordination of two new priests in the month of July. Fr. Jaimie Twohig, SAC was ordained in the Church of  St. Joseph, Little Island, Cork and Fr. Brendan McCarrick, SAC, was ordained on the 25th of July in the Diocese of Achonry. Both men carried out their studies in Dublin.
The homily for the ordination of Fr. Jaimie can be read here

The homily for Fr. Brendan for the ordination can be read here.

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Fr. Brendan McCarrick, SAC

 

We assure both of them of our prayers as they begin this new stage of their journey.

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Priestly ordinations in the Dominican Order

ordinations-2016-4-2The Irish Dominican friars rejoice as eight of their brothers were ordained to the priesthood in Saint Saviour’s Dominican Church, Dominick Street in Dublin on the 9th of July 2016. The ordaining prelate was Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of the Diocese of Castries in the Caribbean. Archbishop Rivas is part of the Irish Dominican province and came specially over to ordain the eight brothers in this special year of the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order. The brothers ordained to the priesthood are Brs.David McGovern OP, Damian Polly OP, Ronan Connolly OP, Pat Desmond OP, Daragh McNally OP, Connor McDonagh OP, Eoin Casey OP and Kevin O’Reilly OP.
We thank God for the gift and the vocation of these men and pray for their perseverance.
You can see a video of the celebration here and the photo gallery is available here.
Text from http://dominicans.ie/

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Amoris Laetitia- Apostolic Exhortation

alPlease see below the text of the Holy Father Francis which was delivered today at a press conference in Archbishop’s House in Dublin by the President of Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, and the Vice-President, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, to welcome the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family

Click here: Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia

 

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Journey to your Heart-CD by Sr. Marie Dunne, CHF

mariedunne.pngNew CD ‘JOURNEY TO YOUR HEART’ by Sr.Marie Dunne CHF was released recently. The compilation includes a variety of spiritual and inspirational songs  and some new settings to a number of the psalms. These include a setting to Psalm 130  WITH THE LORD THERE IS MERCY AND LOVE – suitable for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The CD is available  at:
Veritas, Abbey Street Dublin,
Liturgical Centre (Disciples of the Divine Master),Stillorgan, Dublin and Athlone
Emmaus Retreat Centre, Swords,
and Knock Book Shop, Co. Mayo

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Religious Life Vitality – CORI Conference Papers

rvThe Religious Life Vitality – CORI Conference Papers are now available on line at the following link: CORI.

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Easter Ceremonies

caps1Congratulations to the Capuchin Fathers for their prayerful and inspiring liturgies which were aired by RTE over the past few days. The Easter Vigil Mass can be viewed here and the Mass of the Resurrection for Easter Sunday can be viewed here.
We pray that these joyful and faith-filled ceremonies may be a reminder to many of the gift of faith and the power of the Resurrection.

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Missionaries of Charity in Yemen

motherteresasThe Office for Religious wishes to convey their condolences and their prayers on behalf of the religious of the Archdiocese to the Missionaries of Charity who are present here in Dublin, on the death of their four sisters in Yemen.

Four gunmen attacked an old people’s home in the Yemeni port of Aden on the 4th of March, killing at least 16 people, including the four sisters. Two of the slain nuns were from Rwanda and one each from India and Kenya. The nuns also came under attack in Yemen in 1998 when gunmen killed three of them in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

We continue to pray for the safe return of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, a Keralite Salesian priest belonging to Bangalore Province of the Salesian Fathers. He was kidnapped in the same ambush.

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Address to participants in the Jubilee for Consecrated Life, Rome 2016

logoJUBILEE FOR CONSECRATED LIFE

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Paul VI Audience Hall
Monday, 1st February 2016

[Multimedia]


Extemporaneous address by the Holy Father:

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I prepared a speech for this occasion on topics regarding consecrated life and on the three pillars; there are others, but three [words] are important to consecrated life. The first is prophecy, another is proximity and the third is hope. Prophecy, proximity hope. I have given the text to the Cardinal Prefect, because reading it is a little dull, and I prefer to speak to you from my heart. Okay?

Men and women religious, that is men and women consecrated to the Lord’s service, who in the Church pursue this path of arduous poverty, of a chaste love that leads to a spiritual fatherhood and motherhood for all the Church, of obedience…. There is always something lacking in our obedience, because perfect obedience is that of the Son of God, who emptied himself, who became man out of obedience, unto death on the Cross. There are men and women among you who live out an intense form of obedience, an obedience — not military, no, not that; that is discipline, another thing — an obedience of giving of the heart. This is prophecy. “Don’t you wish to do something, something else?…” — “Yes, but according to the rules I must do this, this and this. And according to regulations, this, this and this. And if I don’t see something clearly, I speak with the superior and, after the dialogue, I obey”. This is prophecy, as opposed to the seed of anarchy, which the devil sows. “What do you do?” — “I do whatever I please”. The anarchy of will is the daughter of the demon, it is not the daughter of God. The Son of God was not an anarchist, he did not call his [disciples] to mount a force of resistance against his enemies; he said to Pilate: “Were I a king of this world I would have called my soldiers to protect me”. Instead, he was obedient to the Father. He said only: “Father, please, no, not this chalice…. But Thy will be done”. When out of obedience you accept something which perhaps often you do not like… [he makes a swallowing gesture]… that obedience must be swallowed, and it is done. Thus, prophecy. Prophecy is telling people that there is a path to happiness and grandeur, a path that fills you with joy, which is precisely the path to Jesus. It is the path to be close to Jesus. Prophecy is a gift, it is a charism and it must be asked of the Holy Spirit: that I may know that word, in the right moment; that I may do that thing in the right moment; that my entire life may be a prophecy. Men and women prophets. This is very important. “Let’s do what everyone else does…”. No. Prophecy is saying that there is something truer, more beautiful, greater, of greater good to which we are all called.

Then another word is proximity. Men and women consecrated, but not so as to distance themselves from people and have all the comforts, no, [but rather] to draw close and understand the life of Christians and of non-Christians — the suffering, the problems, the many things that are understood only if a consecrated man and woman is close: in proximity. “But Father, I am a cloistered nun, what should I do?”. Think about St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, patron saint of the missions, who with her ardent heart was close, and the letters she received from missionaries made her closer to the people. Proximity. Becoming consecrated does not mean climbing one, two, three steps in society. It is true, so often we hear parents say: “You know, Father, my daughter is a nun, my son is a brother!”. And they say it with pride. And it’s true! There is satisfaction for parents to have consecrated children, this is true. But for consecrated people it is not a life status that makes me look at others like this [with detachment]. Consecrated life should lead me to closeness with people; physical, spiritual proximity, to know the people. “Ah yes Father, in my community the superior gave us permission to go out, to go into the poor neighbourhoods with the people…” — “And in your community, are there elderly sisters?” — “Yes, yes… there is a nurse, on the third floor” — “And how often during the day do you go to visit your sisters, the elderly ones, who could be your mother or your grandmother?” — “But you know, Father, I am very busy with work and I can’t go…”. Closeness! Who is the first neighbour of a consecrated man or woman? The brother or sister of the community. This is your first neighbour. A kind, good, loving closeness, too. I know that in your communities there is never gossip, never, ever…. A way of distancing oneself [is] to gossip. Listen carefully: no gossip, the terrorism of gossip. Because those who gossip are terrorists. They are terrorists in their own community, because like a bomb they drop a word against this one or that one, and then they go calmly. Those who do this destroy, like a bomb, and they distance themselves. This, the Apostle Santiago said, was perhaps the most difficult virtue, the most difficult human and spiritual virtue to have, that of bridling the tongue. If it comes to you to say something against a brother or sister, to drop a bomb of gossip, bite your tongue! Hard! No terrorism in the community! “But Father, what if there is something, a defect, something to correct?”. You say it to the person: you have an attitude that bothers me, or that isn’t good. If this isn’t appropriate — because sometimes it isn’t prudent — you say it to the person who can remedy, who can resolve the problem and to no one else. Understood? There is no use for gossip. “But in the chapter house?”. There, yes! In public, what you feel you have to say; because there is temptation not to say things in the chapter house, and then outside: “Did you see the prioress? Did you see the abbess? Did you see the mother superior?…”. Why didn’t you say it there in the chapter house?… Is this clear? These are virtues of proximity. The Saints, the consecrated Saints had this. St Thérèse of the Child Jesus never, ever complained about work, about the bother it was to bring that sister to the dining room every evening: from the choir to the dining room. Never! Because that poor nun was very old, almost paralyzed, she had difficulty walking, she was in pain — I understand her too! — she was even a bit neurotic…. Never, ever did she go to another sister to say: “How she bothers me!”. What did she do? She helped her sit down, brought her a napkin, broke the bread and did so with a smile. This is called proximity. Closeness! If you drop the bomb of gossip in your community, this is not closeness: this is waging war! This is distancing yourself, this is creating distance, creating anarchy in the community. In this Year of Mercy, if each one of you could manage to never be a gossiping terrorist, it would be a success for the Church, a success of great holiness! Take courage! Proximity!

And now hope. I admit that it pains me a great deal when I see the drop in vocations, when I receive bishops and ask them: “How many seminarians do you have?” — “Four, five…”. When, in your religious communities — men’s and women’s — you have a novice or two… and the community ages, it ages…. When there are monasteries, great monasteries, and Cardinal Amigo Vallejo [turning to him] can tell us how many there are in Spain, that are carried on by four or five elderly nuns, until the end…. This leads me to the temptation to lose hope: “Lord, what is happening? Why is the womb of consecrated life becoming so barren?”. Several congregations are experimenting with “artificial insemination”. What are they doing? They accept…. “Yes, come, come, come…”. And then there are internal problems…. No. One must accept with seriousness! One must carefully discern whether this is a true vocation and help it to grow. I believe that in order to fight the temptation to lose hope, which gives us this barrenness, we have to pray more. And pray tirelessly. It does me a lot of good to read the passage of Scripture in which Hannah, Samuel’s mother, prayed and asked for a son. She prayed and moved her lips, and prayed…. And the elderly priest, who was a little blind and who didn’t see well, thought she was a drunken woman. But that woman’s heart [she said to God]: “I want a son!”. I ask you: does your heart, facing this drop in vocations, pray with this intensity? “Our congregation needs sons, our congregation needs daughters…”. The Lord, who has been so generous, will not fail in his promise. But we have to ask him for it. We have to knock at the door of his heart. Because there is a danger — this is terrible, but I have to say it — when a religious congregation sees that it has no children and grandchildren and begins to be smaller and smaller, it grows attached to money. And you know that money is the devil’s dung. When they cannot receive the grace of having vocations and children, they think that money will save its life; and they think of old age: that this not be lacking, that that is not lacking…. Thus, there is no hope! Hope is only in the Lord! Money will never give it to you. On the contrary: it will bring you down! Understood?

I wanted to tell you this, instead of reading the pages that the Cardinal Prefect will give you later….

I thank you so much for what you do, consecrated people, each with your own charism. And I want to point out the consecrated women, the sisters. What would the Church be without nuns? I have said this before: when you go to hospitals, colleges, parishes, neighbourhoods, missions, men and women who have given their lives…. In my last journey to Africa — I believe I recounted this in an audience — I met an 83-year-old Italian nun. She told me: “I’ve been here since I was — I don’t remember if she told me 23 or 26. I am a hospital nurse”. Let’s think: from age 26 to 83! “And I wrote to my family in Italy that I would never return”. When you go to a cemetery and see that there are so many religious missionaries and so many nuns dead at age 40 because they caught diseases, the fevers of those countries, their lives burnt out…. You say: these are saints. These are seeds! We must tell the Lord to come down to some of these cemeteries and see what our ancestors have done and give us more vocations, because we need them!

I thank you very much for this visit. I thank the Cardinal Prefect, the Monsignor Secretary, the Undersecretaries, for what they have done in this Year of Consecrated Life. But please, do not forget prophecy, obedience, proximity, the most important neighbour, the closest neighbours are the brothers and sisters of the community, and then hope. May the Lord bring forth more sons and daughters in your congregations. And pray for me. Thank you!

Written address consigned by the Holy Father:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am glad to meet with you at the end of this Year dedicated to consecrated life.

One day, Jesus, in his infinite mercy, turned to each of us and asked us, personally: “Come, follow me”! (Mk 10:21).

If we are here it is because we responded “yes” to him. At times it is treated as a bond filled with enthusiasm and joy, at times more difficult, perhaps uncertain. However, we have followed him with generosity, allowing ourselves to be led on paths we would have never even imagined. We have shared intimate moments with him: “Come away by yourselves […] and rest a while” (Mk 6:31); moments of service and mission: “You give them something to eat” (Lk 9:13); even his cross: “If any man would come after me, let him […] take up his cross” (Lk 9:23). He has introduced us into his very relationship with the Father, he has given us his spirit, he has expanded our hearts by the measure of his own, teaching us to love the poor and the sinners. We have followed him together, learning from him service, acceptance, forgiveness, fraternal love. Our consecrated life has meaning because dwelling with him and carrying him along the streets of the world, conforms us to him, makes us be the Church, a gift for humanity.

The Year that we are concluding has helped to make the beauty and holiness of consecrated life shine more in the Church, strengthening in consecrated people gratitude for the call and the joy of responding. All consecrated men and women have had the opportunity to have a clearer perception of their own identity, and thus project themselves in to the future with renewed apostolic zeal in order to write new pages of good, in the wake of the Founders’ charism. We are grateful to the Lord for what he has given us in order to live in this Year so rich of initiatives. I thank the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which prepared and brought about the great events here in Rome and in the world.

The Year has ended, but our commitment to be faithful to the call received and to grow in love, in giving, and in creativity continues. For this reason I offer you three words.

The first is prophecy. It is a characteristic of yours. What prophecy does the Church and the world expect from you? You are called, first of all, to proclaim, with your life even before than with words, the reality of God: to speak God. If at times he is rejected or marginalized or ignored, we must ask ourselves whether perhaps we have not been transparent enough to his Face, showing our own instead. The Face of God is that of a Father “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103[102]:8). In order to make him known it is important to have a personal relationship with him; and for this it takes the capacity to adore him, to cultivate friendship with him day after day, through a heart to heart conversation in prayer, especially in silent adoration.

The second word I consign to you is proximity. God, through Jesus, made himself close to every man and every woman. He shared the joy of the spouses at Cana in Galilee and the anguish of the widow of Nain; he entered the house of Jairus, touched by death, and in the house of Bethany perfumed with nard; he took sickness and suffering upon himself, until giving his life as a ransom for all. Following Christ means going there where he has gone; taking upon oneself, as a Good Samaritan, the wounded whom we meet on the street; going in search of the lost sheep. Being, like Jesus, close to the people, sharing with them their joys and their sorrows; showing, with our love, the paternal face of God and the maternal caress of the Church. May no one ever feel distant, detached, closed and therefore barren. Each of you is called to serve our brothers and sisters, following your own charism: some by praying, some through catechesis, some through teaching, some by caring for the sick or the poor, some by announcing the Gospel, some by performing various works of mercy. The important thing is not living for oneself, as Jesus did not live for himself, but for the Father and for us.

Thus we come to the third word: hope. In bearing witness to God and his merciful love, with the grace of Christ you can instill hope in this humanity of ours marked by various reasons for anguish and fear and at times tempted to be discouraged. You can make felt the renewing power of the Beatitudes, of honesty, of compassion; the value of goodness, of the simple, essential, meaningful life. You can also nourish hope in the Church. I think, for example, of ecumenical dialogue. The meeting a year ago among consecrated people of various Christian confessions was a beautiful innovation, which deserves to be carried on. The charismatic and prophetic witness of the life of consecrated people, in its various forms, can help to recognize all of us more united and foster full communion.

Dear brothers and sisters, in your daily apostolate, do not let yourselves be conditioned by age or by number. What counts most is the capacity to repeat the initial “yes” to the call of Jesus who continues to make himself heard, in an ever new way, in every season of life. His call and our response keep our hope alive. Prophecy, proximity, hope. By living this way, you will have joy in your heart, the distinctive sign of the followers of Jesus and more so of consecrated people. Your life will be more attractive to so many men and women, by the glory of God and through the beauty of the Bride of Christ, the Church.

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank the Lord for what you are and do in the Church and in the world. I bless you and I entrust you to Our Mother. Please, do not forget to pray for me.

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Closure of the Year for Consecrated Life by Pope Francis

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The Year of Consecrated Life, which began on November 30, 2014, ended with prayer and gratitude. On Tuesday afternoon, February 2, 2016, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Pope Francis presided at the Eucharistic celebration in St Peter’s Basilica along with thousands of consecrated men and women celebrating their World Day.

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, gave an accounting and indicated the horizons of this Year. The following is a translation of the interview, which was given in Italian.

Have the objectives proposed for the Year of Consecrated Life been reached?
I have a deep sense of gratitude to God and to Pope Francis for this Year. It has been like a touch of grace for us and has revitalized hope. It has led us to look at consecrated life in a positive way and also at the problems that are there: this means actual problems, such as aging or the lack of vocations on certain continents. We have rediscovered that basically there is a special vocation which is an integral part of the Church. It is not an appendage, it’s not something temporary that is about to end, but is a gift of God to the community. It has been like this from the very beginning; and we are certain that God will continue to call, even in many new forms. This profound sense of gratitude and hope is extremely important.

How is the Jubilee challenging consecrated people?
In places where I have been I’ve seen that the Year of Mercy is being experienced as an appeal to bring our relationship with God back into balance. He is the judge, but he is merciful. This definition expresses the profound identity of God. And we must transform it into personal and communitary consciousness. The fact that God employs mercy with us means that we too are called to be merciful toward others. In this sense, our relationships with others change a great deal.

How far along is the revision of the document ‘Mutuae Relationis’ on relationships between bishops and religious?

We have consulted and we are working together with the [men’s] Union of Superiors General and the [women’s] International Union of Superiors General. It is a very fruitful collaboration. The Pope has defined two central principles to work on: the spirituality of communion and the co-essentiality of the hierarchical and charismatic dimensions. I think we have to look at the relationship between hierarchy and charisms in the sense of communion. In the spirituality of communion, indeed, the relationships complete each other and become true, positive. And this is how difficulties in relating are overcome. The second principle is that of bringing back to light the co-essentiality of the hierarchical and charismatic dimensions, because these two dimensions come from the beginnings of the Church. The Holy Spirit who speaks in both dimensions does not contradict himself. This has some practical consequences, such as the need to restore true relationships in truth, in mercy, and in freedom. We must find this maturity for the good of the Church. This means that we need to be much more committed on the journey of communion among all the institutes, and between the institutes and the local Churches.

The above article was published on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in the L’Osservatore Romano.

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Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2016

popefrancisThe document, signed on 4 October, feast of St. Francis of Assisi, concludes by encouraging the faithful not to waste this season of Lent, a favourable time for conversion, and by invoking the intercession of Our Lady who, “encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant”.

 

Following is the full text of the Pope’s Message:

 

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13).
The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee

1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized
In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” ( Misericordiae Vultus , 17). By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative “24 Hours for the Lord”, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word. The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand. For this reason, during the season of Lent I will send out Missionaries of Mercy as a concrete sign to everyone of God’s closeness and forgiveness.
After receiving the Good News told to her by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, in her Magnificat , prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her. The Virgin of Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful. In the prophetic tradition, mercy is strictly related – even on the etymological level – to the maternal womb ( rahamim ) and to a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness ( hesed ) shown within marriage and family relationships.

2. God’s covenant with humanity: a history of mercy
The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.
This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son. In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate” ( Misericordiae Vultus , 8). As a man, Jesus of Nazareth is a true son of Israel; he embodies that perfect hearing required of every Jew by the Shema , which today too is the heart of God’s covenant with Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” ( Dt 6:4-5). As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast.

This is the very heart of the apostolic kerygma , in which divine mercy holds a central and fundamental place. It is “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 36), that first proclamation which “we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment” ( ibid ., 164). Mercy “expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe” ( Misericordiae Vultus , 21), thus restoring his relationship with him. In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him. In this way he hopes to soften the hardened heart of his Bride.

3. The works of mercy
God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” ( ibid. , 15). For in the poor, the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us” ( ibid. ). It is the unprecedented and scandalous mystery of the extension in time of the suffering of the Innocent Lamb, the burning bush of gratuitous love. Before this love, we can, like Moses, take off our sandals (cf. Ex 3:5), especially when the poor are our brothers or sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow. It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” ( Gen 3:5) which is the root of all sin. This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited. This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” ( Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.

Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).

From the Vatican, 4 October 2015
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

FRANCISCUS

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Conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life

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Two Pallotine students ordained as deacons

jaimiebrendanCongratulations to Brendan McCarrick and Jaimie Twohig from the Pallotines Fathers who were ordained as deacons on the 17th of January 20156 by Bishop Seamus Freeman, SAC.
You can read more about the event and also their vocation stories here. Bishop Seamus’ homily can be read here.

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Novena to the Sacred Heart

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“Vos estis lux mundi” Apostolic Letter

APOSTOLIC LETTER ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO BY THE SUPREME PONTIFF
FRANCIS
VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). Our Lord Jesus Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness. All of us, in fact, are called to give concrete witness of faith in Christ in our lives and, in particular, in our relationship with others.

The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church, so that personal sanctity and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the full credibility of the Gospel message and the effectiveness of the Church’s mission. This becomes possible only with the grace of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, as we must always keep in mind the words of Jesus: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future.

This responsibility falls, above all, on the successors of the Apostles, chosen by God to be pastoral leaders of his People, and demands from them a commitment to follow closely the path of the Divine Master. Because of their ministry, in fact, Bishops, “as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular churches entrusted to them by their counsel, exhortations, example, and even by their authority and sacred power, which indeed they use only for the edification of their flock in truth and holiness, remembering that he who is greater should become as the lesser and he who is the chief become as the servant” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 27). What more closely concerns the successors of the Apostles concerns all those who, in various ways, assume ministries in the Church, or profess the evangelical counsels, or are called to serve the Christian People. Therefore, it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful.

I desire that this commitment be implemented in a fully ecclesial manner, so that it may express the communion that keeps us united, in mutual listening and open to the contributions of those who care deeply about this process of conversion.

Therefore, I decree:

TITLE I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 1 – Scope of application

§1. These norms apply to reports regarding clerics or members of Institutes of Consecrated Life or Societies of Apostolic Life and concerning:

a) delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue consisting of:

i.        forcing someone, by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts;

ii.       performing sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person;

iii.      the production, exhibition, possession or distribution, including by electronic means, of child pornography, as well as by the recruitment of or inducement of a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions;

b) conduct carried out by the subjects referred to in article 6, consisting of actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations, whether administrative or penal, against a cleric or a religious regarding the delicts referred to in letter a) of this paragraph.

§2. For the purposes of these norms,

a) “minor” means: any person under the age of eighteen, or who is considered by law to be the equivalent of a minor;

b) “vulnerable person” means: any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offence;

c) “child pornography” means: any representation of a minor, regardless of the means used, involved in explicit sexual activities, whether real or simulated, and any representation of sexual organs of minors for primarily sexual purposes.

Art. 2 – Reception of reports and data protection

§1. Taking into account the provisions that may be adopted by the respective Episcopal Conferences, by the Synods of the Bishops of the Patriarchal Churches and the Major Archiepiscopal Churches, or by the Councils of Hierarchs of the Metropolitan Churches sui iuris, the Dioceses or the Eparchies, individually or together, must establish within a year from the entry into force of these norms, one or more public, stable and easily accessible systems for submission of reports, even through the institution of a specific ecclesiastical office.  The Dioceses and the Eparchies shall inform the Pontifical Representative of the establishment of the systems referred to in this paragraph.

§2. The information referred to in this article is protected and treated in such a way as to guarantee its safety, integrity and confidentiality pursuant to canons 471, 2° CIC and 244 §2, 2° CCEO.

§3. Except as provided for by article 3 §3, the Ordinary who received the report shall transmit it without delay to the Ordinary of the place where the events are said to have occurred, as well as to the Ordinary of the person reported, who proceed according to the law provided for the specific case.

§4. For the purposes of this title, Eparchies are equated with Dioceses and the Hierarch is equated with the Ordinary.

Art. 3 – Reporting

§1. Except as provided for by canons 1548 §2 CIC and 1229 §2 CCEO, whenever a cleric or a member of an Institute of Consecrated Life or of a Society of Apostolic Life has notice of, or well-founded motives to believe that, one of the facts referred to in article 1 has been committed, that person is obliged to report promptly the fact to the local Ordinary where the events are said to have occurred or to another Ordinary among those referred to in canons 134 CIC and 984 CCEO, except for what is established by §3 of the present article.

§2. Any person can submit a report concerning the conduct referred to in article 1, using the methods referred to in the preceding article, or by any other appropriate means.

§3. When the report concerns one of the persons indicated in article 6, it is to be addressed to the Authority identified based upon articles 8 and 9. The report can always be sent to the Holy See directly or through the Pontifical Representative.

§4. The report shall include as many particulars as possible, such as indications of time and place of the facts, of the persons involved or informed, as well as any other circumstance that may be useful in order to ensure an accurate assessment of the facts.

§5. Information can also be acquired ex officio.

Art. 4 – Protection of the person submitting the report

§1. Making a report pursuant to article 3 shall not constitute a violation of office confidentiality.

§2. Except as provided for by canons 1390 CIC and 1452 and 1454 CCEO, prejudice, retaliation or discrimination as a consequence of having submitted a report is prohibited and may constitute the conduct referred to in article 1 §1, letter b).

§3. An obligation to keep silent may not be imposed on any person with regard to the contents of his or her report.

Art. 5 – Care for persons

§1. The ecclesiastical Authorities shall commit themselves to ensuring that those who state that they have been harmed, together with their families, are to be treated with dignity and respect, and, in particular, are to be:

a) welcomed, listened to and supported, including through provision of specific services;

b) offered spiritual assistance;

c) offered medical assistance, including therapeutic and psychological assistance, as required by the specific case.

§2. The good name and the privacy of the persons involved, as well as the confidentiality of their personal data, shall be protected.

 

TITLE II

PROVISIONS CONCERNING BISHOPS

AND THEIR EQUIVALENTS

Art. 6 – Subjective scope of application

The procedural norms referred to in this title concern the conduct referred to in article 1, carried out by:

a) Cardinals, Patriarchs, Bishops and Legates of the Roman Pontiff;

b) clerics who are, or who have been, the pastoral heads of a particular Church or of an entity assimilated to it, Latin or Oriental, including the Personal Ordinariates, for the acts committed durante munere;

c) clerics who are or who have been in the past leaders of a Personal Prelature, for the acts committed durante munere;

d) those who are, or who have been, supreme moderators of Institutes of Consecrated Life or of Societies of Apostolic Life of Pontifical right, as well as of monasteries sui iuris, with respect to the acts committed durante munere.

Art. 7 – Competent Dicastery

§1. For the purposes of this title, “competent Dicastery” means the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding the delicts reserved to it by the norms in force, as well as, in all other cases and as far as their respective jurisdiction is concerned, based on the proper law of the Roman Curia:

– the Congregation for the Oriental Churches;

– the Congregation for Bishops;

– the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;

– the Congregation for the Clergy;

– the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

§2. In order to ensure the best coordination, the competent Dicastery informs the Secretariat of State, and the other Dicasteries directly concerned, of the report and the outcome of the investigation.

§3. The communications referred to in this title between the Metropolitan and the Holy See take place through the Pontifical Representative.

Art. 8 – Procedure applicable in the event of a report concerning a Bishop of the Latin Church

§1. The Authority that receives a report transmits it both to the Holy See and to the Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province where the person reported is domiciled.

§2. If the report concerns the Metropolitan, or the Metropolitan See is vacant, it shall be forwarded to the Holy See, as well as to the senior suffragan Bishop by promotion, to whom, if such is the case, the following provisions regarding the Metropolitan apply.

§3. In the event that the report concerns a Papal Legate, it shall be transmitted directly to the Secretariat of State.

Art. 9 – Procedure applicable to Bishops of Eastern Catholic Churches

§1. Reports concerning a Bishop of a Patriarchal, Major Archiepiscopal or Metropolitan Church sui iuris shall be forwarded to the respective Patriarch, Major Archbishop or Metropolitan of the Church sui iuris.

§2. If the report concerns a Metropolitan of a Patriarchal or Major Archiepiscopal Church, who exercises his office within the territory of these Churches, it is forwarded to the respective Patriarch or Major Archbishop.

§3. In the preceding cases, the Authority who receives the report shall also forward it to the Holy See.

§4. If the person reported is a Bishop or a Metropolitan outside the territory of the Patriarchal, the Major Archiepiscopal or the Metropolitan Church sui iuris, the report shall be forwarded to the Holy See.

§5. In the event that the report concerns a Patriarch, a Major Archbishop, a Metropolitan of a Church sui iuris or a Bishop of the other Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, it shall be forwarded to the Holy See.

§ 6. The following provisions relating to the Metropolitan apply to the ecclesiastical Authority to which the report is to be forwarded based on this article.

Art. 10 – Initial duties of the Metropolitan

§1. Unless the report is manifestly unfounded, the Metropolitan immediately requests, from the competent Dicastery, that he be assigned to commence the investigation. If the Metropolitan considers the report manifestly unfounded, he shall so inform the Pontifical Representative.

§2. The Dicastery shall proceed without delay, and in any case within thirty days from the receipt of the first report by the Pontifical Representative or the request for the assignment by the Metropolitan, providing the appropriate instructions on how to proceed in the specific case.

Art. 11 – Entrusting the investigation to a person other than the Metropolitan

§1. If the competent Dicastery considers it appropriate to entrust the investigation to a person other than the Metropolitan, the Metropolitan is so informed. The Metropolitan delivers all relevant information and documents to the person appointed by the Dicastery.

§2. In the case referred to in the previous paragraph, the following provisions relating to the Metropolitan apply to the person charged with conducting the investigation.

Art. 12 – Carrying out the investigation

§1. Once he has been appointed by the competent Dicastery and acting in compliance with the instructions received, the Metropolitan, either personally or through one or more suitable persons:

a) collects relevant information regarding the facts;

b) accesses the information and documents necessary for the purpose of the investigation kept in the archives of ecclesiastical offices;

c) obtains the cooperation of other Ordinaries or Hierarchs whenever necessary;

d) requests information from individuals and institutions, including civil institutions, that are able to provide useful elements for the investigation.

§2. If it is necessary to hear from a minor or a vulnerable person, the Metropolitan shall adopt appropriate procedures, which take into account their status.

§3. In the event that there are well-founded motives to conclude that information or documents concerning the investigation are at risk of being removed or destroyed, the Metropolitan shall take the necessary measures for their preservation.

§4. Even when making use of other persons, the Metropolitan nevertheless remains responsible for the direction and conduct of the investigation, as well as for the timely execution of the instructions referred to in article 10 §2.

§5. The Metropolitan shall be assisted by a notary freely appointed pursuant to canons 483 §2 CIC and 253 §2 CCEO.

§6. The Metropolitan is required to act impartially and free of conflicts of interest. If he considers himself to be in a conflict of interest or is unable to maintain the necessary impartiality to guarantee the integrity of the investigation, he is obliged to recuse himself and report the circumstance to the competent Dicastery.

§7. The person under investigation enjoys the presumption of innocence.

§ 8. The Metropolitan, if requested by the competent Dicastery, informs the person of the investigation concerning him/her, hears his/her account of the facts and invites him/her to present a brief in defence. In such cases, the investigated person may be assisted by legal counsel.

§9. Every thirty days, the Metropolitan sends a status report on the state of the investigation to the competent Dicastery.

Art. 13 – Involvement of qualified persons

§1. In accordance with any eventual directives of the Episcopal Conference, of the Synod of Bishops or of the Council of Hierarchs regarding how to assist the Metropolitan in conducting the investigation, the Bishops of the respective Province, individually or together, may establish lists of qualified persons from which the Metropolitan may choose those most suitable to assist in the investigation, according to the needs of the individual case and, in particular, taking into account the cooperation that can be offered by the lay faithful pursuant to canons 228 CIC and 408 CCEO.

§2. The Metropolitan, however, is free to choose other equally qualified persons.

§3. Any person assisting the Metropolitan in the investigation is required to act impartially and must be free of conflicts of interest. If he considers himself to be in a conflict of interest or be unable to maintain the necessary impartiality required to guarantee the integrity of the investigation, he is obliged to recuse himself and report the circumstances to the Metropolitan.

§4. The persons assisting the Metropolitan shall take an oath to fulfil their charge properly.

Art. 14 – Duration of the investigation

§1. The investigation is to be completed within the term of ninety days or within a term otherwise provided for by the instructions referred to in article 10 §2.

§2. Where there are just reasons, the Metropolitan may request that the competent Dicastery extend the term.

Art. 15 – Precautionary measures

Should the facts or circumstances require it, the Metropolitan shall propose to the competent Dicastery the adoption of provisions or appropriate precautionary measures with regard to the person under investigation.

Art. 16 – Establishment of a fund

§1. Ecclesiastical Provinces, Episcopal Conferences, Synods of Bishops and Councils of Hierarchs may create a fund, to be established according to the norms of canons 116 and 1303 §1, 1° CIC and 1047 CCEO and administered according to the norms of canon law, whose purpose is to sustain the costs of the investigations.

§2. At the request of the appointed Metropolitan, the funds necessary for the purpose of the investigation are made available to him by the administrator of the fund; the Metropolitan remain duty-bound to present an account to the administrator at the conclusion of the investigation.

Art. 17 – Transmission of the documents and the votum

§1. Having completed the investigation, the Metropolitan shall transmit the acts to the competent Dicastery, together with his votum regarding the results of the investigation and in response to any queries contained in the instructions issued under article 10 §2.

§2. Unless there are further instructions from the competent Dicastery, the faculties of the Metropolitan cease once the investigation is completed.

§3. In compliance with the instructions of the competent Dicastery, the Metropolitan, upon request, shall inform the person who has alleged an offence, or his/her legal representatives, of the outcome of the investigation.

Art. 18 – Subsequent measures

Unless it decides to provide for a supplementary investigation, the competent Dicastery proceeds in accordance with the law provided for the specific case.

Art. 19 – Compliance with state laws

These norms apply without prejudice to the rights and obligations established in each place by state laws, particularly those concerning any reporting obligations to the competent civil authorities.

The present norms are approved ad experimentum for three years.

I establish that the present Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio be promulgated by means of publication in the Osservatore Romano, entering into force on 1 June 2019, and then published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 7 May 2019, the seventh year of my Pontificate.

 

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Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2019

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19)

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” (Preface of Lent I). We can thus journey from Easter to Easter towards the fulfilment of the salvation we have already received as a result of Christ’s paschal mystery – “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). This mystery of salvation, already at work in us during our earthly lives, is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation. As Saint Paul says, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). In this perspective, I would like to offer a few reflections to accompany our journey of conversion this coming Lent.

1. The redemption of creation

The celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ (cf. Rom 8:29) is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.

When we live as children of God, redeemed, led by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:14) and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts and in nature, we also benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption. That is why Saint Paul says that creation eagerly longs for the revelation of the children of God; in other words, that all those who enjoy the grace of Jesus’ paschal mystery may experience its fulfilment in the redemption of the human body itself. When the love of Christ transfigures the lives of the saints in spirit, body and soul, they give praise to God. Through prayer, contemplation and art, they also include other creatures in that praise, as we see admirably expressed in the “Canticle of the Creatures” by Saint Francis of Assisi (cf. Laudato Si’, 87). Yet in this world, the harmony generated by redemption is constantly threatened by the negative power of sin and death.

2. The destructive power of sin

Indeed, when we fail to live as children of God, we often behave in a destructive way towards our neighbours and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will. Intemperance then takes the upper hand: we start to live a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and nature itself. We yield to those untrammelled desires that the Book of Wisdom sees as typical of the ungodly, those who act without thought for God or hope for the future (cf. 2:1-11). Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogans “I want it all and I want it now!” and “Too much is never enough”, gains the upper hand.

The root of all evil, as we know, is sin, which from its first appearance has disrupted our communion with God, with others and with creation itself, to which we are linked in a particular way by our body. This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures.

Once God’s law, the law of love, is forsaken, then the law of the strong over the weak takes over. The sin that lurks in the human heart (cf. Mk 7:20-23) takes the shape of greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. It leads to the exploitation of creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and sooner or later destroys all those in its grip.

3. The healing power of repentance and forgiveness

Creation urgently needs the revelation of the children of God, who have been made “a new creation”. For “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Indeed, by virtue of their being revealed, creation itself can celebrate a Pasch, opening itself to a new heaven and a new earth (cf. Rev 21:1). The path to Easter demands that we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness, so as to live fully the abundant grace of the paschal mystery.

This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails. All creation is called, with us, to go forth “from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy.

Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.

Dear brothers and sisters, the “lenten” period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3). May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.

From the Vatican, 4 October 2018

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

FRANCIS

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Lenten Message from Pope Francis 2019

lent.png

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19)

Dear Brothers and Sisters
Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” (Preface of Lent I). We can thus journey from Easter to Easter towards the fulfilment of the salvation we have already received as a result of Christ’s paschal mystery – “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). This mystery of salvation, already at work in us during our earthly lives, is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation. As Saint Paul says, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). In this perspective, I would like to offer a few reflections to accompany our journey of conversion this coming Lent.

1. The redemption of creation

The celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ (cf. Rom 8:29) is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.

When we live as children of God, redeemed, led by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:14) and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts and in nature, we also benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption. That is why Saint Paul says that creation eagerly longs for the revelation of the children of God; in other words, that all those who enjoy the grace of Jesus’ paschal mystery may experience its fulfilment in the redemption of the human body itself. When the love of Christ transfigures the lives of the saints in spirit, body and soul, they give praise to God. Through prayer, contemplation and art, they also include other creatures in that praise, as we see admirably expressed in the “Canticle of the Creatures” by Saint Francis of Assisi (cf. Laudato Si’, 87). Yet in this world, the harmony generated by redemption is constantly threatened by the negative power of sin and death.

2. The destructive power of sin

Indeed, when we fail to live as children of God, we often behave in a destructive way towards our neighbours and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will. Intemperance then takes the upper hand: we start to live a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and nature itself. We yield to those untrammelled desires that the Book of Wisdom sees as typical of the ungodly, those who act without thought for God or hope for the future (cf. 2:1-11). Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogans “I want it all and I want it now!” and “Too much is never enough”, gains the upper hand.

The root of all evil, as we know, is sin, which from its first appearance has disrupted our communion with God, with others and with creation itself, to which we are linked in a particular way by our body. This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures.

Once God’s law, the law of love, is forsaken, then the law of the strong over the weak takes over. The sin that lurks in the human heart (cf. Mk 7:20-23) takes the shape of greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. It leads to the exploitation of creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and sooner or later destroys all those in its grip.

3. The healing power of repentance and forgiveness

Creation urgently needs the revelation of the children of God, who have been made “a new creation”. For “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Indeed, by virtue of their being revealed, creation itself can celebrate a Pasch, opening itself to a new heaven and a new earth (cf. Rev 21:1). The path to Easter demands that we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness, so as to live fully the abundant grace of the paschal mystery.

This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails. All creation is called, with us, to go forth “from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy.

Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.

Dear brothers and sisters, the “lenten” period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3). May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.

From the Vatican, 4 October 2018

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

FRANCIS

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