Annual retreat and Assembly. Fraternity of Brazil. February 2024. Carlos Roberto dos SANTOS

The annual Retreat of the Priestly Fraternity of Brazil took place from January 23rd to 30th in the city of Jundiaí – SP. On the 29th, the elective Assembly was held, which takes place every six years, according to the Directory and Statute, as Father Carlos Roberto dos Santos’ time as national leader ended.

This year the retreat was a little different, first because, atypically, only 27 participated people.

Secondly, because Father Antônio Reges Brasil, who would be the preacher, cannot do so due to medical instructions. As the news arrived in October, there was no time to invite another advisor to the retreat, and we organized a team and priests from the Fraternity, coordinated by Father Carlos Roberto dos Santos, to preach the retreat. We chose the themes for each meditation based on the decisions of the first part of the Synod of Synodality, as follows:

The introduction to the Retreat and the first meditation was given by Father Carlos and had as its theme: Charles de Foucauld, an unfinished brother: from the journey of Charles de Foucauld and his spiritual heritage motivated the experience of all the other themes, taking into account current challenges in the ecclesiastical journey.

In the 2nd meditation, Dom Eugênio Rixen shared about Synodality as a novelty, presenting several controversial aspects of the Synod Charter, helping us to meditate on this reality; Father Willians Roque de Brito gave the 3rd meditation, helping us update an important theme of our spirituality: “Apostolate of Kindness: A synodal Church on mission”, valuing the contribution of all the baptized, in the variety of their vocations. In the 4th meditation Dom Eugênio Rixen worked on the theme: “Weaving bonds, building fraternity and communion" from the universal fraternity, proposed in our Fraternity.

The 5th meditation, done by Little Brother Lindolfo Euqueres, helped us meditate on a truth very dear to all of us: “the poor are the protagonists of the church’s journey”. He gave an excellent testimony of the insertion of his little brothers in the world, among the poor. In the 6th meditation, Father Gildo Nogueira Gomes, from Fratelli Tutti, helped us to review the
Prophetism of the Church, faced with an individualism that turns against itself, a populism that divides the people, creating hatred against their brothers, and a globalization that homogenizes the poor and standardizes the exploitation and decrease in the quality of life of human beings.

In the 7th meditation, Father Willians Roque de Brito helped us face the “mission in the digital environment”, often false, but also a new areopagus where we can witness the spirituality of Saint Charles de Foucauld and help in the journey of the Church in our time . The big question: how can we contribute in this digital environment, safely both to our human and ministerial existence, and to help others grow? Training and monitoring of digital missionaries and the creation of networks are necessary.

In the 8th meditation Father Carlos Roberto dos Santos helped us to meditate on the issue of “Anxiety, depression and suicide in the lives of the people, especially the clergy”. Based on concrete data on the high rate of suicide among clergy in Brazil; the collaboration of psychology and neuroscience, presented as a healing principle, for the body and soul, friendship with Jesus and with our brothers lived from the apostolate of kindness, in the gratuitousness of life. True friendship allows brothers to talk, without fear, about their joys and hopes.

It was planned, one morning until lunch, a conversation with Father Julio Lancelloti.

We looked forward to hearing him share his testimony of life, but he couldn’t come. At the last minute, his lawyers met with him to prepare his defense in the face of the constant persecution and accusations he has suffered due to his work with his homeless brothers and sisters. But the intention of the seed was worth it.

On the 29th, the elective Assembly of the Jesus + Caritas Priestly Fraternity was established in Brazil. Father Carlos, national leader, presented and read the guidelines and procedures for the election provided for in the Directory and Statute of the Fraternity. He presented these same guidelines, during the year 2023, at meetings of the various fraternities in the six regions of Brazil. In the first round of the election, each region nominated three names of brothers from all over Brazil to assume the position of National Responsible in the years 2024-2029. The three most voted were: Father José de Anchieta Moura Lima, from the Archdiocese of Juiz de Fora/MG, Dom Edson Tasqueto Damian, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira/AM and Father Willians Roque de Brito, from the Diocese of Marilia/SP. Father José de Anchieta Moura Lima, from the Archdiocese of Juiz de Fora, state of Minas Gerais, was elected with unanimous votes. He was consulted by Father Carlos Roberto dos Santos, and after acceptance, as there had already been verbal approval from his bishop, he took immediate possession of the position, assuming the coordination of the Jesus + Caritas Priestly Fraternity as the National Responsible for the period from 2024 to 2029.

Goiás, 21 February 2024

Fr. Carlos Roberto dos SANTOS

Read in PDF: Annual retrait and Assembly. Fraternity of Brazil. February 2024. Carlos Roberto dos SANTOS eng

Eric and Matthias in Gogoin formation for Priests, Rome, February 2024

Eric LOZADA and Matthias KEIL, both members of the International team of our fraternity of priests, were sent by their respective dioceses as representatives to a congress in Rome. The Dicastery for the Clergy had organised an international conference there from 6 to 10 February on the subject of “Ongoing formation for priests”. Around 1,000 priests from 60 different countries took part in this congress.

In appreciation of our Fraternity of Jesus Caritas priests, Eric was invited to sit in the front row during the audience with the Pope. This allowed him to meet the Pope directly. In his address, the Pope said, among other things: “Always forgive!”
The aim of ongoing, i.e. lifelong, formation is to renew and deepen the “pastoral love” of a priest.

Eric LOZADA and Cardinal Lazarus YOU, S-Korea, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy

Eric LOZADA and Pope Francis

Eric LOZADA and Matthias KEIL at the congress for “Ongoing formation for priests” in Rome

See in PDF: Eric and Matthias in Gogoing formation for Priests, Rome, February 2024 eng

Letter to the brothers in America USA, february 2024

Brazil, February 10, 2024

To the brothers of the Jesus Caritas Fraternity

Peace and good!

With the grace of God, we start the year 2024 very well.

The Pan American team met in Oaxaca from January 2 to 8. We thank our brother Father José Renteria and his community for the welcome and all the logistics created so that we could have an excellent stay and a good meeting in Oaxaca. At our meeting:

1) We follow the Fraternity methodology throughout the meeting.

2) We have reviewed the path of our fraternities throughout America, then we have sought means to strengthen the life of our fraternities and to encourage the creation of new fraternities in countries where they do not yet exist.

We propose to contact brothers from Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Cuba, who have some similarity with our spirituality or with this face of a poor and servant church, to invite them to participate with us in our fraternities.

We ask brothers who know someone to send us their contact details.

3) On January 4, Father Willians R. de Brito, from Brazil, gave an enlightenment (talk) on ” Synodality in the Church under a Latin American vision”, by videoconference.

Afterwards, we discussed these three topics:
a. What is the biggest problem of the fraternities of our continent?
b. Proposals for the future of our fraternities
c. How can we encourage our fraternity in other countries?

4) On January 7th we spent a day in the desert, on a beautiful hill in Oaxaca.

5) At this meeting we began to organize the creation of a pamphlet with the Mass in Spanish, English, Portuguese and French, and some songs from our countries, to help us in our Pan-American and international meetings and assemblies.

6) We must not forget that we had the opportunity to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and also participate in the life of the San Bartolo Coyotepec Parish. Festive Mass in honor of the Virgin Our Lady of Solitude at the foot the Cross, the festive Mass of Santos Kings, meetings with the Deaf community, and also of a marriage and baptism with them. And finally, a beautiful lunch with the community leaders of the José Renteria parish.

Brothers, following the example of Saint Charles de Foucauld, let us shout the Gospel with our lives.

A big hug,

Carlos Roberto dos Santos
Continental Responsible.

Lent 2024 Reflection and inivitation to Life Review Aurelio SANZ BAEZA

We find ourselves in a time of grace, of communion with all the people of our world who desire peace, concord, and solidarity made a reality with suffering humanity. We also find ourselves in a turbulent time, of insecurities, of pending resolutions of conflicts, of human exploitation in its various forms.

They are permanent calls in the face of which we often feel powerless.

Our personal life is also affected by everything in our environment, by work or the stress of multiple activities, seeking more hours each day, or inactivity due to age, fatigue, illness…

The word CONVERSION comes to us again at this time, and we can leave it as at Christmas time as an ornament that accompanies the season of the year, because it is a necessary attitude to celebrate Easter, one of resurrection and another of birth. That is to say, conversion can remain a cliché that is repeated annually, and go through our lives like curing a cold or little more.

If we observe the conversion of Charles de FOUCAULD, in addition to his personality, his most recent past and his biography up to that moment, there is an action of God, who calls his son, who puts Henri HUVELIN on his path, who has the spiritual support from her family, so anguished by that brother, cousin, so intelligent and creative that it is difficult to understand.

Given this, we could make these reflections:

1 In what aspects of my life, my spirituality, my ordinary work and my relationships with others do I need changes? Have I settled into being the way I always am or do I feel like I’m not working well that way? Do I stand up for others, for Pope Francis, for my fellow priests? Do I stand up for the poor who are with me?

2 Friendship with God, my relationship with him in prayer, in the celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, is it marked by the repetitive, routine, ordered rite, or is it a daily expression, of the present, of my moment? current and world, with the concerns or joys of the day? Worship, listening to the Word, what place and time do they occupy in my daily life? Do I have time for almost everything except prayer and contemplation? The desert day, is it a priority? Am I lazy, afraid…?

3 When there are many connection cables in an electronic device and we cannot figure out where one goes and the other, how do I connect from my good will in my heart the call of Jesus to work in his Kingdom, the urgency of responses from myself to the human conflicts that exist near or far from me? Do I have the ability to listen to those who need me?

Lent is a time of conversion. Let us not make another myth or idea, or an ornament in our whole being believers, easy to explain to others, but difficult to face internally.

Murcia fraternity

February 2024

PDF: Lent 2024 Reflection and invitation to Life Review. Aurelio SANZ BAEZA eng

Christmas Letter 2023 to the Brothers around the World. Eric LOZADA, international responsible

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel” (which means, God-with-us). (Matthew 1:23)

Christmas has always been about this: contemplating the visit of God to his people.” (Pope Francis)

I was born, born for you, born in a cave, in December, in the cold, on a wintry night, in poverty and in solitude, unknown even to the poorest. Why was I born in this way? So that you may believe in my love, since my love for you knows no limit. As I have loved you so much, put all your hope in me. I teach you to love me… Ever since my birth I have shown myself to you and have put myself entirely into your hands. … you have been able to see me, hold me, hear me, serve me, console me…. I did not give myself to you just at my birth for a few days or years, but I gave myself into your hands for ever, till the end of time.” (Brother Charles’ meditation on the nativity scene)

Dear brothers,

Christmas greetings to you all!

How are you and your community celebrating Christmas this year? Are there new and creative ways in your celebration from last year’s? Is Christmas still the gentle, quiet and humble presence of the Emmanuel in our busy and loud world? Or do we give the market, tourism and entertainment industries the license to plan our Christmas celebrations? It would be good to take a look at our Christmas celebrations this year vis-à-vis the reality of our world today with all its lights and shadows. I wonder how do families in Gaza, Ukraine, Haiti or any place and people suffering from social unrest, extreme poverty and displacement celebrate Christmas this year? Is the reality of suffering more close to them than that of Christmas joy? We take a reflective look at our world and in interpreting the signs, we celebrate Christmas in a more responsive and appropriate way.

And what about mother earth? Christmas is not only for the human world but for the whole universe, including the ecological environment which is radically altered by the mystery of God-in-the-flesh. I wonder how are sister water, brother wind, sister bird, brother forest celebrating the season? Are the complaints about pollution, climate change, imbalance of the ecosystem depriving them of Christmas joy? For us who may be in the brighter side of the world, what would be our response to the invitation to celebrate the Emmanuel amidst the thundering noise of violence, greed, apathy towards life in all forms of our world today?

The virgin birth is not only a person but a path. Right in the very ground of our barrenness, vulnerability, helplessness as people and environment, traces of new life appear in the horizon, little manifestations of the Emmanuel break open our consciousness to give birth to new initiatives and shared dreams. As people of hope, we take a long, loving look at the world as the Father sees it when He gave the world its Messiah at the first Christmas. The world was not ready. He has to be born in the poverty of the manger, in the periphery of the village. This is not some sentimental or wishful thinking or a deus ex machina but a call to a radical, paradigmatic shift for the birthing of a new heaven and a new earth.

Christmas is a call to solitude of the heart. True solitude is recognizing, naming and claiming our poverty, our emptiness which is also our unlimited space for others. At the very core of our solitude, we encounter the Emmanuel in all men and women as brothers and sisters not only our friends but also those who kill, lie, torture, rape, and wage wars. They become our flesh and blood. When our hearts are full of the goodness of the Emmanuel and empty of fear, anger, indifference, greed, “we become a welcoming home for God and for our whole human family on earth.” (Henri JM Nouwen)

Ours is to wait, not passively though but actively. When we wait, we know that what we are waiting for is growing from the ground on which we are standing. We wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted two thousand years ago and that something has already begun. We are called to be present to the Kairos of Christmas with the certainty that something is happening where we are and that we want to be present to this moment minus the external features of the season. God has planted generously the seed of divinity in every human heart and in our world and we wait with firm conviction and joyful hope with Mary who sang, “the Almighty has done great things and holy is His name.” Blessed are we when we see what God wants us to see in this great season of Christmas.

Some Announcements:

There is a Month of Nazareth organized in the Philippines on July 1-26, 2024 for English speakers. Registration fee is $400/participant.

Preparations are on the way for our World Assembly in Lulunta, Argentina in January 2025. In the coming weeks, you would be receiving letters from the international team so that we see, reflect, discern and walk together the direction, content and process of the Assembly.

Brothers, I thank you very much for your beautiful witness and firm resolve to follow Jesus more closely in the footsteps of Brother Charles. May our faithful practice of the spirituality so free our hearts that the Emmanuel could give birth in us and in our ministry new and fervent ways of encountering the many faces of the poor today.

With my fraternal affection,

Read in PDF format: Christmas Letter 2023 to the Brothers around the World. Eric LOZADA, international responsible en