We have worked this week on Fraternity affairs and especially, in relation to those who are at the heart of our concern and who motivate us, that is to say, each one of you. In this little Nazareth that is Vernon, at the home of our brother François MARIN, who has hosted us as if we were his sons, we remember you and thank God that you are our brothers. Many thanks, François, for providing a resting place for the pilgrim and receiving your brothers.
We centred our work on reviewing pending Fraternity issues in a good climate of dialogue, sharing ideas, viewpoints and the concern to resolve outstanding matters and for the immediate future operation of the Fraternity: the questionnaires for the European Assembly this Summer in Poland, and for the World meeting in India in January 2019, the finances of the International Fraternity, the furnishing of a 2016 Fraternity report to be sent to the Congregation for the Clergy in the Vatican, the new fraternity in Haiti, preparations for the meeting of responsibles and delegates of the Charles de FOUCAULD Family in April in Aachen, echoes of the Centenary of brother Charles, which arrive from different countries, our concerns for the health of Félix, from Madagascar, and the recovery of Suso, from Spain, having undergone surgery, etc.
On Monday, 6th March we shared with the responsibles for the Regions of Île de France and Normandy (Yves de MALLMANN, Joseph JOURJON, Louis YON and Xavier CHAVANE) in an extended time of dialogue and encounter. It was wonderful to be able to meet each other in fraternity, in order to share in common the realities of our fraternities and our concerns. We believe that in Europe we are living through a time of transition which is a real Nazareth with the ageing of our Fraternities. There is a very serious call to live this moment with optimism and with of love for this Nazareth spirituality while we are ever older with few young members joining us. Living simply and at the same time the commitment of a universal brotherhood in an Europe that is very focused on itself, and inward looking, rejecting the stranger, the refugee, full of fears that give rise to an increase of populist politics and reactionary trends. Faced with all this, and in line with Pope Francis, we feel called to give witness to Brother Charles’ message of universal brotherhood and the missionary character of our charism as the Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests. Dialogue with Muslims in Europe we believe to be possible, and many expressions of rapprochement are to be found in a great many Christian communities. Prejudices must come down and the temptation to regard others as a threat. For example, in France, a third of working class areas are Muslim. We must learn how to enter into dialogue with this reality.
On Tuesday 7th we had a visit from Jacques GAILLOT, Titular Bishop of Partenia, a member of the Fraternity who came from Paris to share in our work in Jean François’ home. The time we spent together was a great gift from the moment we picked him up at the Vernon train-station until his departure. We could learn from the wisdom of the simple how to be more humanitarian, how to be priests in a difficult world, how to be open to hope and how to live without the securities and comforts of being Westerners. Thank you, Jacques, for coming to spend time with us and for all the testimonies throughout your life of a dedication to the cause of Jesus.
On Wednesday 8th we worked in the morning and in the afternoon, we approached Gouville, in order to be with Michel PINCHON, whom we found to be strong and sound. His home is open to numerous visits of the people of the locality or from further afield with whom he shares with generosity his experience and wisdom. We had supper with Jean Louis RATTIER and took part in the meeting of the Bible workshop of his parish in Damville, sharing on his pastoral activity and his day to day work. It is always rewarding to take part in each brother’s Nazareth, both exterior and interior. Nazareth is the lived experience of how we situate ourselves fraternally before all that surrounds us, in an ever-closer union with Jesus.
We highly valued the work of Fernando TAPIA, Jean Michel BORTHEIRIE and Manuel POZO in Almería, Spain, drawing up a basic outline on the Month of Nazareth. This document will be studied for approval at the Bangalore Assembly. Thanks to these brothers for having responded to this request from us in the International Team.
Let us remember that we must make an effort in all regions to support the International fund, especially as the next World Assembly in Bangalore in 2019 has a budget to meet and we need to cover expenses. As an International Team we try to save resources as much as possible. Our thanks to those fraternities who have already generously paid their share.
Our web-site iesuscaritas.org is open to the contributions of all fraternities. We await your articles, news and notices of forthcoming to publish them in our Diary. This is a means of communication that brings us closely together.
Our time of reflection has also taken into account the call to live, as a Fraternity, our ministry as missionaries within the diocesan presbyterate, wherever we are based, be it a parish, a hospital, a prison, or with organisations that help refugees, or people displaced by war or poverty, or in places that care for the needy of our societies, with the call to go to the last, like Charles de FOUCAULD, because it is there that we meet Christ. As Pope Francis reminds us, there is no spiritual life without an open, generous and merciful heart.
“Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ…I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security… More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus tirelessly repeats to us: Give them something to eat yourselves” (Mk 6:37). (Evangelli Gaudium, 49)
A big embrace.
Jean François and Aurelio
Vernon, Normandy, France, 10 March, 2017
(Thanks so much, Liam, for translate to English)