Letter from Vernon
JESUS CARITAS FRATERNITY OF PRIESTS
LETTER FROM VERNON, JULY 2013
Dear brothers of the fraternity,
today we concluded our first international council in Vernon, France, welcomed by Jean François BERJONNEAU, where we have received all his attention and that of François MARIN, of the French fraternity, who has been like a father to us (see photo.) Being with Francois gave us the opportunity to live the work of a team, as you later will see. Moreover, Lionel, Cecile, Anne Marie, Claire and Patrick have gifted us with their good cooking. Yesterday it was Michel PINCHON who offered us lunch in Gouville, accompanied by Jean Louis RATTIER, and the space to continue working. Thank you to these brothers and sisters. Thank you to the outgoing international council, who opened the way for us. Mauricio has not been able to attend because of his responsibility and work in World Youth Day in Rio; we have missed him but we know we can always count on him. And thank you to the Sisters of Jesus in the Temple for giving us their house in which to meet and for giving lodging to Emmanuel and Mark.
In every moment we have felt at home, forming fraternity and being glad to form a team. We have reviewed the conclusions of the international assembly in Poissy, where we have seen that the center of gravity of the fraternity has shifted toward the South where young people are a majority, and with a missionary spirit. This has changed the relationship between the fraternities of the North and of the South. We value the letter from Paris, with the challenges for our fraternity in this moment, as part of a Church full of hope.
Our meeting coincides with the days of World Youth Day in Rio, with Pope Francis at the head, with the train accident in Spain and concerns for the situation in countries like Syria, Egypt and the Central African Republic, where our brothers suffer. We appreciate greatly the letter of the bishops of the Central African Republic with its calls and denunciations regarding the generalized situation of injustice and violations of human rights.
In our work we have had a review by continents, with their realities, by countries, valuing the testimony of many brothers, especially the oldest brothers, who even have been able to teach us with their life rooted in the gospel the following of Jesus and the work for the Reign of God. Thus, we know that it is important that the international team, and other brothers that are able to help us, visit and accompany all the fraternities. Looking to the next dates of meetings of the fraternity on the continents, we know of the Month of Nazareth in Chile in February of 2014; in July the Month of Nazareth en Cameroon, for Africa, and at its conclusion, the first Pan African Assembly; in July of 2014 the European Assembly in Italy (in 2016 it will be in Poland); the first Pan American Assembly will probably be in 2015, with the coordination of Mauricio and Mark and the regional responsibles of the Americas; in April of 2015 the meeting of delegates and responsibles of the world wide family of Charles de FOUCAULD in Italy, and in 2016 the Asian Assembly in the Philippines and the Month of Nazareth, probably in Bangladesh. No fraternity should remain unheard. For all that, we realized the need of the help of our website, a continuation of the current site, where we will all be able to express ourselves in various languages. We are studying this idea with interest.
We have felt very united in prayer with you in Morning Prayer, daily adoration, in the Eucharist celebrated with the people of the Gamilly neighborhood, before the presence of a God who loves us and who captivated Charles de FOUCAULD with the call to live the “little,” among the little ones, with simplicity and availability for the Kingdom. Prayer has allowed our work not to be stressful, but rather a gift of brothers who share a common service for the Fraternity and for the Church.
Anticipating 2016, the centenary of the death of Brother Charles we receive ideas from other fraternities who are already preparing for this important event. We think that all that we are able to do is called to be done in a spirit of simplicity, making patently obvious the universality of the message of Charles de FOUCAULD, its undeniable reality in today’s Church as a Church of believers in Jesus and in his Gospel. His message is a reinforcement of universal fraternity in the current moment of our world with its crises, injustices and violence. Brother Charles was not a guru, nor a spiritual leader; his life speaks to us of Jesus and his intuitions help fraternities and men and women to better know Jesus through the importance of cultivating his friendship, being with the poor and being poor, and fighting for justice and peace.
We have determined the necessity of greater commitment, be it personally or in fraternity, of the monthly journey to the desert. It is a space God gives us so that we can grow in our hearing of Him. If we truly make the “desert,” our prayer life will be nourished and our spirit will be strengthened against the temptations of being satisfied with a comfortable prayer, a rite well done, the fulfillment of an obligation. God always questions us, and although many times we do not know how to respond to him, we know that we are in His hands. Fraternity doesn’t consist only in the experience of a shared spirituality, but rather calls us to walk together the paths of our lives, decisions and efforts for a better world.
Jacques MIDY, Emmanuel DELATRAZ y Michel BECQUART showed us the apartment in Boulogne Billancourt with the archives of the Fraternity. It was very interesting to know about the beginnings of the Fraternity in 1951, documents, letters, fotos…. Thanks to these brothers for opening the door.
Grégoire CADOR, a French brother in Cameroon, presented to us in one of the work sessions the preparations for the month of Nazareth for Africa in July of 2014 in Cameroon which will occur at the end of the first Pan African Assembly; also he presented the process for the beatification of Baba Simon who introduced the Fraternity in Africa. Grégoire is the postulator of the cause.
We have also opened a new bank account for the Priest Fraternity that permits us to work with agility in what we organize; it will help us amongst ourselves not only for fraternities in need in their continental assemblies, Months of Nazareth etc, but as a way of helping us grow. We have reflected on how to develop mutual solidarity not just economically but in direct contacts, visits and communications. Soon regional responsibles will receive information on the bank account number for the annual donations. We encourage all fraternities that have not donated to make an effort, and although it may be a “testimonial” gift, to share, according to their abilities, with the rest of the countries who habitually sustain the international fraternity economically.
Last night Vernon suffered a hailstorm worthy of a horror movie. All of the flowers, the garden and part of Francois’ house was flooded. We were bailing water out to the street for an hour! When we were done we were happy for having done some “obligatory manual labor”; this Nazareth which came to us through water and which was a team effort with which we are very content; share with joy “the survival effort.”
All that remains for us is to express to you that it pleases us as fraternity to serve the good of all, to be at your disposition for what you need. We remembered you during the one occasion of rest and “free time” visiting the gardens of Claude MONET and his museums in Giverny. It was a truly contemplative moment. We remembered you with love and affection.
A fraternal and sincere embrace from your brothers of the international team, and an embrace from Rio from our Brasilian brother.
Jean François, Asi, Félix, Mark, Mauricio and Aurelio
Vernon, Normandy, France, 27 July 2013
Summary Work in Vernon March 2014
SUMMARY WORK PRIET’S FRATERNITY IESUS CARITAS
VERNON, FRANCE, 3-7 MARCH 2014
Jean François BERJONNEAU and Aurelio SANZ
Between the 3rd and 7th of March we have met in Vernon, at François MARIN home to work on enough matters of the fraternity. There were some matters needing our attention; we have been in contact with the rest of the international team by the e-mail, and with Grégoire CADOR, in Cameroon, and Arthur Charles, in Pakistan.
François has received us as a father receives his children and we have felt very well and with good environment of work.
Also in Jean Louis RATTIER’s home, in Damville, we share with part of the fraternities of Île de France-Normandy an evening of brotherly exchange of our lives and the dinner. Jacques MIDY offered us another day friendship and lunch in Saint Denis, Paris.
We celebrate daily the eucharist in François home, and the Ash Wednesday in Saint Marcel’s church, near to Vernon, and share on having finished with the parochial community a soup and an apple.
Thanks to all for the affection and brotherhood showed.
1 We made a revision of the last regions visited (Chile, Italy, Mexico, Burkina Faso), of his achievements and difficulties. We have witness in the young clergy that the spirit of the brother Charles is very valued. His spirituality is valued, but we believe that his dimension happens from length as universal brother, his option for the last ones, his style Nazareth. How to do that the young persons are interested for the fraternity, for these other values and the spirituality of the desert? Sometimes only Charles de FOUCAULD is admired as man of prayer.
2 Next Month of Nazareth in July, in Cameroon, with brothers of Cameroon, Chad, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and The Central African Republic, coordinated by Grégoire CADOR and Félix RAJAONARIVELO, as the First Panafrican Assembly of the fraternity at the end of the Month, occupied enough our attention and dedication. Jean François will be also between July 7 and August 4, and will coordinate the retreat.
3 The fraternities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunis will have the first week of July a retreat in Rabat. Aurelio will accompany them.
Ireland prepares the Month of Nazareth for July opened to British fraternities. For the National Assembly of the fraternities of the USA in Colorado Springs, from July 28 to August 1, it is probable that Emmanuel ASI accompanies. If not, Aurelio would go.
For Verona’s European Assembly, in Italy, from 20 to 27 August, he will be Jean François who become present, since the half of the days coincides with the retreat of the fraternity of Spain.
4 We’re seriously worries for the situation in the Central African Republic and of the brothers of there. We receive direct information and invite again to praying for the peace and the understanding between Christians and Muslims. This makes us suffer and also we feel enough impotence.
5 Specially, for the activities of the fraternity in Africa, Asia, Latin America, we need economic aid. We were in Societé Générale office, where we have the account the international team, to deliver 560 Euros of the quota of Mexico, and to treat with the agent. It is suitable that every region realizes soon his contributions of the year, according to his possibilities, as a way of helping ourselves to carry out assemblies, Month of Nazareth, the displacements, etc. We you remember that the account is:
30003 00863 00037263460 85
IBAN: FR76 30003 00863 00037263460 85
We want offer the information by year for all of the matters of economy, as well as a budget that already there realizes Mark MERTES.
6 We were revising the Months of Nazareth realized lately in the USA, France, Brazil and Chile, and studying near assemblies in Europe, Africa and America, with the calls that from every continent make his human realities, very different some of others, but where there is alive the universality of the charisma of the brother Charles. These reflection, with the preparation of the near meeting of the international team in Amborovy, Madagascar, from 2 to 12 of September, work that already gone realizing Félix in his organization, made us penetrate into the reality of the fraternity into our Church and our world. We did a relation of the matters to treating in the international team.
7 The canonical approval of the fraternity remains in stand-by after last time of test. We saw possibility of contacts in Rome that they open the way us for this bureaucratic matter, but that will allow that enough bishops should give step in his dioceses to the constitution of fraternities. Jean François will take charge realizing the negotiations.
8 The Asian Counsel is assembled these days in Manila, coordinated by Arthur Charles, and we they send a mail with our hug and opinions.
9 We think that the communication between ourselves is very important for all the brothers. The new site of the fraternity, in six languages, works already in an experimental way: www.iesuscaritas.org
In this site we want that the all could be express, that should be announced all the activities and meetings in the regions. It is necessary to communicate to Aurelio always what should be foreseen in order to load it in the paragraph of “agenda” or events. We would like that every regional or delegate it was permanently in touch with any brother of the international team for this aim. Also material lack in every language on the biography of the brother Charles, the Directory and Statutes, and the reality of the fraternity, what is, what we do, the keys of our spirituality … We must share this work, and every regional one has to communicate to all the brothers the communications that it should be receiving, and also encouraging to construct between all the site, as instrument of fraternity.
10 We think it brings over of the creative dimension that must have the Month of Nazareth and any meeting of fraternity, specially with the Centenary of the brother Charles in 2016. It invites the fraternities not to remain only in a spiritual dimension and to give steps as Charles of FOUCAULD in the delivery to the last ones, the conviviality with other religions or realities without God, with that they suffer, the immigrants, the ethnic minorities, the populations affected by the drug trafficking, displaced by the war …
Let’s think about the teamwork that appears as fraternity when we want to be active into our human realities, from the pastoral thing or from the social, promotional or humanitarian action, in coordination with groups or organizations in this respect.
11 Jean François prepares for 2015 in Viviers, from July 13 to July 17, an European meeting with this content: “Diocesan priests servants of the meeting with the Muslims “. We will have information and diffusion in order that all the brothers of Europe worried by this matter we could take part.
Excuse us that this communication is long, but we believe that all must be informed about the steps given as fraternity, and the international team wants to be transparent for the good of all.
Thank you for your patience reading us. We entrust to your prayer.
We send you a big hug.
Jean François and Aurelio
(Sorry, my spanglish…)