Advent Letter 2018, brother responsible

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Dear brothers,

On this feast day of our brother Charles we begin Advent: the weeks of hope that are a reflection of the hope of all humanity. Our humanity, in permanent crisis, a humanitarian crisis with many aspects, pains all of us, and we cannot hide it in our Church or remain indifferent. May celebrations with our communities, personal prayer, life in fraternity, be of closeness to that part of humanity with whom we live in our places and in those who are far away. Advent motivates us to listen to the voice that cries in the desert of all those who raise their voice for survival, in their desire for peace, work, and freedom. Humanity keeps hoping for liberation; the poor who hope for salvation, those threatened by war, the displaced searching for a secure place… There are millions of people in this situation. For them too Jesus is proclaimed and we, as missionaries, ought to proclaim him.

The Church is living through a difficult moment because of the crisis caused by the allegations of the abuse of minors, and Pope Francis is responding with humility and courage to the world. This is a testament to the search for the truth. Francis too is a witness to the truth.

We are preparing our World Assembly 2019. We are called to reflect on our identity as diocesan missionary priests in the charism of Charles de FOUCAULD. This is a task for all the brothers, supporting the regional responsibles, praying for all the brothers of the world, for the fraternities that are beginning and those that are ageing.

A HUMANITY IN CRISIS

Every day we receive bad news of men and women, children, young people and the elderly, who suffer from causes that are not always clear to public opinion and the media. We know that it depends often on the hidden interests of economic powers and governments who hide very harsh realities in their countries, even if they belong to the “First World”. Victims of wars, of violence, of drug-trafficking, of the male domination over women in many cultures, the victims of poverty, cry out in this wilderness, where voices demanding justice abound. Voices that intermingle with others that seek vengeance, or those of “nothing is going on here” or “Go back to your country”. We too have a voice, the voice of Jesus, the one announced by the prophets. A voice that should emerge from our faith, our missionary vocation, in the style of Nazareth which is to be with the people of our town or city, with the most humble among them, because only the humble teach us to be humble. Brother Charles discovered Jesus in the midst of the simple people: may we learn from him.

AN ADVENT THAT INVITES US TO BE RECEPTIVE

This Advent time is an invitation to listen, to stop the clock and, in a contemplative attitude to listen to the Word, the silence of God in adoration, and to listen to our brothers: our brothers of the Fraternity, brother priests of our diocesan presbyterate who, sometimes, are hard for us to listen to and accept because prejudices kill dialogue and encounter; the people who come to us seeking answers to their problems, or who share in pastoral, social, work with us, or, simply, are our neighbours. Let us open the door, let us leave the best place in our house for whoever seeks, and not accustom ourselves to a dynamic of good advice and easy words. To show our poverty, our limitations for fixing “damaged machines”, wounded hearts, is to allow God to act. He is indispensable. It is he who heals. Jesus is not indifferent to anything, and this Advent he encourages us to open our hearts and to allow ourselves to be inundated by the love of God and the love of the people. Let us recover the joy of following Jesus and help many sad people to transform their failure into triumph, to love themselves a little more.

A CHURCH THAT SUFFERS

We are all suffering the consequences of child abuse hidden in many dioceses of the world. The Church is losing credibility, influence, etc. We could just say that this has always happened, that it was inevitable… We would not be faithful to the truth. We know that this open crisis has not yet ended. Pope Francis is also suffering for all of this, and is facing the music, asking forgiveness on behalf of those who did harm, listening, opening paths for a solution that offers justice for the victims, and this man deserves our support. Let us live in communion with Pope Francis, with enemies in his own Church, but with the support of all good people, whether believers or not, who see in Francis a prophet of our time, a consistent man who, despite being “head of State”, is a human being, sensitive to the suffering of humanity. I am sure that, from all this crisis, something very positive will emerge for the life of the Church and the proclamation of the Kingdom. Let us unite our prayer for fraternity with the Pope, wherever we may be.

DECEMBER 1

102 years ago, Charles de FOUCAULD definitively placed himself into the hands of the Father. Today is a day to give thanks to God for him, for what he transmitted to us with his intuitions, for the mission he carried out with the people who were his neighbours, for his crazy dreams. Brother Charles has helped us in our vocation and our spirituality to live in friendship with Jesus and with people, in the Nazareth that we each live, with our age and desire to live, in silence and in proclamation. It is a gift from God that deserves our continuous thanks. Let us take time to value this gift: let us place in this day’s adoration before Jesus all that has come to us from Charles de FOUCAULD which, probably, are not so much his spiritual writings as his testimony of life, of love, of abandonment, of trust and generosity.

Let us make the prayer of abandonment even if it is hard to accept that we still have much left to make it completely ours.

OUR WORLD ASSEMBLY

From the 15th to the 30th of January 2019 we will celebrate our World Fraternity Assembly in Cebu, Philippines. The central theme is to deepen our character as diocesan missionary priests in the charism of Charles de FOUCAULD. Everything concerning the Assembly is announced on our web-page iesuscaritas.org

On the site’s green Home Bar is the preparatory questionnaire, the Assembly program, the registration sheet… So far there are few inscriptions received and only one continent (America) has presented the answers to the questionnaire, as well as some regional fraternities. It is advisable that we do not leave these tasks to the last moment. Courage with everything. I know that we are all very busy and we have little time. Let’s make an effort. It fills me with joy to receive emails with inscriptions and answers to the questionnaire, and I understand the difficulties that this implies for some fraternities.

All the regional responsibles or delegates, previous international responsibles and the continental responsibles will be coming to the Assembly. Some of our brothers cannot pay for their trips, because of the situations in their country. The world fraternity takes care of these expenses as far as possible, but nowadays it is very difficult to be able to cover all the necessities. Some fraternities of Europe and America have responded by paying the bill of a brother from Africa, or from America itself… Thank you. I am asking fraternities for your readiness to help in their journey brothers from Haiti, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cameroon, Rwanda, Madagascar, Pakistan, India and Bangla Desh, who still do not have their plane ticket. It is an important effort that will make possible the presence and participation of these brothers in the Philippines.

Thanks to the Filipino Brothers for all the work in Cebu to make the assembly possible. Let us trust in the goodwill of all the brothers in the world to demonstrate that the Fraternity is more than a group of priests, a form of spirituality: It is sharing what we have. Thank you.

Our next brother responsible, who we will elect in Cebu, and his new team will help us to continue making fraternity possible out of our realities and dreams.

A STEP TOWARDS CHRISTMAS

In these weeks of preparation for Christmas we will arrange the best place of our life for He who comes to stay. The Angels announced the Good News to the shepherds, and they announce many joys to us. There are angels who call to us at the door, or on the phone, or on the street, and who tell us, sometimes without knowing it, that God is with us. There are faces that make us see Jesus in the hospital, in prison, in reception centres for refugees. Angels in the persons of our sick or very old siblings, who have given everything for the Church, for the fraternity, for the poor. Faces of anonymous people who do good without expecting anything in return. The Angels of the simple people of our parishes who help us in pastoral action, or with their presence in the celebrations, or offer us the best they have of their closeness and friendship. They are angels without wings, but with a voice that no one can silence.

With hope this Advent for a better world, a Church free from the sorrows of the past, a fraternity of brothers working in the tasks of the Kingdom, a world renewed by efforts for peace, for human rights, against all inequalities, my desire is for a Christmas full of God, of Jesus brother and friend. A big embrace.

Aurelio SANZ BAEZA, brother responsible

Perín, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 1 December 2018,
Feast of Blessed Charles de FOUCAULD

(Thanks so much, Liam, for translation to English)

PDF: Advent Letter 2018, brother responsible, eng

Letter to Gianantonio, 28 August 2018

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Dear brother,
this morning you celebrated your Passover and the Lord has taken you into his arms as a most dear son. We have prayed much for you, and our prayer has not been in vain. You are in the best place among the blessed, you, who for 57 days were deprived of liberty while kidnapped in Cameroon, you, who did not lose hope in this past year of illness, you have given us every sign of peace and of confidence. “With boundless confidence…” You, who have made the Prayer of Abandonment your life, as did Charles de FOUCAULD. You, a brother loved by all those you have served, tended and worked for… I must thank you for the precious witness of your life, where you have not given up or left to others the mission the Lord entrusted to you.

Your goodbye pains me greatly, but I know that it is temporary. We shall meet in the fraternity of the Children of God and we shall recall the chain prayer campaign around the world for your freedom while kidnapped with Gilberte, whom I had the great joy of visiting in Montreal, and she showed me the objects she had during the kidnapping, and Giampaolo, your missionary companion in Cameroon. I remember with joy the news of your being freed. The bells of many churches in Spain, Italy and so many places rang out that Easter season 2014. Your kidnapping moved us to contemplate the lack of freedom for humanity, for oppressed peoples, for the poorest of the poor, the boot of the mighty that crushes the humble, the manipulation of the lives of human beings by commercial interests and the power that does not show its face, only by means of its hatchet bearers… Yet the human being and his rights, as Pope Francis so often repeats, is above all ideology.

Your Italian Fraternity, your family, your diocese of Vicenza, your friends in Cameroon, are going to miss you, and all the brothers of the Priestly Fraternity shall have you as a benchmark of missionary commitment, courageous, a man of God, who leaves a mark to encourage us to continue working for the Kingdom and its justice. Giampaolo, your mission companion in Cameroon, will continue sowing the seed of this Kingdom that grows from the small and insignificant of our world.

I had the great joy of meeting you personally in Castelfranco, Italy in 2015, and in Rudy, Poland, last Summer, sharing with you in the European Assembly of the Fraternity.

Something told me that you should take care of your health, and I said this to you. Over these past months we have been in touch and I have followed your case with concern. Today I thank the Lord for your life, for how you continued overcoming trials with that human quality of yours which teaches me to value the negative of life, knowing that if the grain of wheat does not die, it does not bear fruit. Like brother Charles, you have given everything for the most disadvantaged, and that fills me with joy, despite the pain of separation. From all that we consider painful, I am certain that something new, unexpected, positive and good for ourselves and for others emerges. Thanks for teaching me to have patience and peace.

Pray for us to God who today fills you with grace and love.

We will always remember you.

Aurelio SANZ BAEZA,
brother responsible, Priestly Fraternity Iesus Caritas,

Perín, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 28th August, 2018, The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Biographical Note:

Gianantonio ALLEGRI, member of the Priestly Fraternity Iesus Caritas. Born 1957 in Pievebelcino (Vicenza, Italy). Ordained 1982. Curate in several parishes of Vicenza diocese. From 1991 to 2001 he worked as a Fidei Donum missionary in Cameroon. He returned to serve as Parish Priest of Magré di Schio until 2013. He returns to Cameroon and is kidnapped by Boko Haram for 57 days, with his companions, Sister Gilberte BOUSSIÈRE, from Quebec, and Giampaolo MARTA of the same diocese of Vicenza. Following his liberation, he returns to his diocese and serves as Parish Priest of Santa Maria Bertilla in Vicenza.

This morning he reached the arms of the Father after fighting cancer for a year.

PDF: Letter to Gianantonio, 28 August 2018, eng

Brother is to be responsible of the other one. Open Hands, June 2018. Aurelio SANZ BAEZA

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The fraternity us makes possible to live through the brother’s concept beyond the place of a family. Brother is to be more than friend or companion. In the religious life the expression is used very much ” brothers in Christ “. This can suppose a reality or a polite way of speaking. I like it more ” brothers as Jesus “. We are a part of he and he of we.

In the fraternity to be brothers is also to be a support in his mission, in his person as worker, that worries what it does, his illusions, his health, his problems, his happy moments … Not only we are brothers to pray together, or to celebrate the eucharist and to give us the embrace of the peace. We are brothers when the life does problem to itself and when the life flows with simplicity, in the small thing, in Nazareth.

In the review of life we have the space where we put on the table the book opened of our heart. It is important that the book is opened, that could read, that he does not lack pages, though the pages are old, or wrinkled, or spotted …

To be a brother is to be also responsible for the happiness of other brothers, in his life, because to live through the fraternity in the monthly meeting or in a retirement is not difficult. What makes us missionaries is to continue being a brother in every day of our lives. Because of it my mission is also the mission of my brothers, and my difficulties are an object of help of the others, and this way reciprocally.

The fraternity is not only a group of companions priests, with a spirituality, that of the brother Charles, who guides us and gives us a pastoral style and the liturgy. The brothers in the fraternity we must have the freedom to say to us with clarity the things. If not with a perfect communication, yes with a sincere, transparent word, where we could listen to ourselves and some to others. Because of it the review of life is the way where we look in the mirror of the others, where we remove ourselves weighed in our lives that it us paralyzes often, or that provokes his fears or prejudices. The review of life is a space of harmony, where they look at the eyes of the heart, since Jesus was looking.

Charles de FOUCAULD taught us in the complexity of his searches, his changes, to find the God’s will, which is what God wants for the world, for the Church, for our fraternities, for each of us. It is not a medical recipe or psychological consolation. It is to be able to listen to God in the silence, be able to live through the style of Nazareth with the persons of our environment, be religious or not, be Christian or of other confessions. When we help ourselves as brothers to living through this, leaving the theory aside, we are helping to the world to be happier.

We have many challenges in our lives, as priests with many responsibilities, and as missionaries. The Gospel is the way of every day, and it is necessary to fight, as Jesus, against our forces, which we have. The style of mission of the brother Carlos calls us to answering to this challenge. The company us demands to be effective and efficient, and imposes on us a pace that does not do us well. Our spirit, life of prayer, our integral being, is sometimes wounded, damaged. The brothers help us to recover the wounds, to transform, to be new men.

In January, 2019 we will celebrate our General Assembly in Cebu, Philippines, and this topic of the mission like diocesan priests inspired by the charisma of Charles de FOUCAULD is going to be studied, treated, with many calls to our personal lives and to the fraternidades of the world. Let’s not leave it for the last moment …

Spirit and force in the next Month of Nazareth also in Philippines. The Month of Nazareth is the space and time of a great privilege to live through the fraternity in all his extension, finding the others, to the brothers, finding Jesus, living through the desert as the God’s gift that looks for us to give us all his love and they are call us his children.

A big and brotherly embrace.

Aurelio SANZ BAEZA, brother responsible

Perín, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 10 June 2018

(Sorry my bad English!)

PDF: Brother is to be also responsible of other one, Open Hands, June 2018

Asian Month of Nazareth: Letter from Baguio

Theme of the Month of Nazareth in Baguio: “Following Jesus of Nazareth in the foot steps of Charles de Foucauld”

The Filipino Fraternity played host to the 6th Asian Jesus Caritas Month of Nazareth at Mt. Peace Retreat Center, Baguio City. Priests/Brothers from 6 countries responded. While most of them arrived on time safe and sound, a few joined in between. Two members from India had a gruelling 12 hrs taxi ride from Manila to Baguio and had a tough time finding the exact location. Another Brother was so busy emailing at the airport lounge that he missed the scheduled plane and had to take another flight to Manila. But thanks be to the providence of Almighty, all those who were expected did arrive.

Read the entire document (PDF): Letter from Baguio 10 10 18