1st PAN AMERICAN ASSEMBLY OF IESUS CARITAS FRATERNITY OF PRIESTS
Cuernavaca, Mexico, 15 to 19 February 2016
We write this letter to you with much joy and hope at the end of our First Pan American Assembly. Three brothers from the International Team and delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United States, México, Quebec (Canada) y Dominican Republic have met at the Retreat House “Madeleine Chollet” in Cuernavaca to pray, reflect and give new impulse and mission to the fraternities of our countries.
Providentially, our Assembly coincided in part with the visit of Pope Francis to Mexico and this permitted us to situate it within the great spiritual and ecclesial renewal movement that the Holy Spirit is breathing in our Church through the gestures, words and teachings of the Holy Father. There is a great resonance between the intuitions of Brother Charles and Pope Francis’ approach. It is a theme that we have studied deeply through a text by Javier Pinto. This reflection has confirmed the validity and reality of our spirituality in a pluralistic world which is wounded by violence, injustice, drug trafficking, corruption, exclusion and impunity; we heard of this on the first day of our Assembly.
We feel, on that matter, the historic responsibility to be the first co-workers with this Pastor come from the end of the world, in the construction of a poor Church for the poor. Like Brother Charles we want to multiply and intensify our presence in our countries in the “peripheries,” both geographic and existential, to be believable witnesses of the mercy of our Father God. Nearness, austerity, simplicity, humility and the joy of Jesus of Nazareth should mark our style of life and our manner of being pastoral.
Despite the diversity of languages and cultures we were able to understand one another, pray and work together, in a realization of Pentecost, although there were amusing things such as Mark Mertes’ inability to say the word “periferia”.
Certainly the Holy Spirit accompanied us and inspired us every day, from Eucharistic Adoration in the morning through dinner in the evening. The spirit of fraternity, collaboration, patience to understand the language of the other, joy and apostolic enthusiasm that have filled our hearts during these days are unequivocal signs of his vivifying presence. We have lived universal fraternity as our own spirituality.
Our Mexican brothers were completely devoted to taking care of us down to the slightest details, as did Sra. Edith Montes de Oca and Sra. María Elena Cruz, who each day delighted us with delicious meals. We now all feel a little Mexican having shared its history of persecution and martyrdom, a history always sheltered by the Virgin of Guadalupe and sustained by a firm faith. We feel part of this People that pilgrimages in America and each day we want to share more its destiny, its hopes and its struggles, locating ourselves, like Jesus, with the poor and excluded of our societies.
We feel a call to be more consistent with our spirituality and to help one another to live the means of spiritual growth that it offers us, particularly the MONTH OF NAZARETH. We want to revalue it and inspire to participate in it all the brothers that have not made the Month. A deep spirituality will help us to be, like Brother Charles, universal brothers, while respecting the truths of other ways of following Jesus, particularly in our presbyterates. Only permanent and prolonged contact with our beloved Brother and Lord Jesus and the fraternal life will permit us to have an evangelizing presence that is constant, fertile, joyful and hopeful in the human peripheries toward which we develop our pastoral work.
We know that the charism of Brother Charles is shared by other groups of this Spiritual Family: Little Brothers and Little Sisters, consecrated lay persons, marriages, young etc. We want to strengthen the bonds with them and make known our spirituality, especially to the young.
We are sure that the charism of Brother Charles, enriched with the testimony of so many saints and martyrs of America is a great contribution to live the faithfulness of Jesus and his gospel on our continent. Because of this we want to share it with our brothers in the presbyterate inviting them to know and to participate in our activities; this includes those in the seminary.
You will find a more detailed and flavorful account of our Assembly in the document “Chronicle of Cuernavaca” as well as a collection of proposals for growth in the specific areas of our Fraternities, to wit, Spirituality, Fraternity, Pastoral Mission, Connections within the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld, and Growth. You can find this in the document “Proposals for Growth”. Both will be published in the website, www.iesuscaritas.org.
Finally, we announce to you that we have elected Fernando Tapia Miranda, a priest of the Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile, as Continental Responsible for a period of six years, to maintain and increase the connections and shared services within the Americas, and to prepare the next Continental Assembly that will take place in two years (2018).
May the Lord Jesus bless our Works and make them very fertile for the growth of our Priestly Fraternities in all of the continent. To Him be honor and glory forever and ever.
The Participants of the First Pan American Assembly
(Thanks, Mark, for the traslation to English)