from the 21st to the 27th of March we met in Perín, at Aurelio’s home, to reflect and work on the life of the fraternities. By means of this letter we wish to be united with you, our brothers spread throughout the world, in Africa, in North and South America, Central America and the Caribbean in Asia, Australasia and Europe.
We believe that an important fact in the life of the Christian communities, that we accompany as priests today, is the teaching of Pope Francis, and the perspectives for the renewal of the life of the Church which he has set out in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium
We are delighted with the convergence between the main themes developed by Pope Francis and some fundamental aspects of the spiritual message of Brother Charles:
- The joy that comes from our meeting Jesus
- The urge to mission, which involves friendship and familiarity with the people entrusted to us (with reference to “the smell of the sheep”).
- The desire for a Church capable of “going out to the periphery”
- The proposal of “a Church with and for the poor”.
- The importance of mercy for all those hurt by life…
Thanks to all our brothers who highlight this convergence in their writings and utterances on the occasion of meetings and retreats. This helps us progress and reiterates the validity our priestly fraternity has at the heart of the life and mission of the Church.
During our week joined in friendship and sharing together in prayer, we addressed various themes which are related, in one way or another, to the “universal brotherhood” desired by Brother Charles:
1) The recognition of the Priestly Fraternity Iesus Caritas by the Congregation for Clergy. This is not just some formal procedure in order to ‘comply’ with them. It is a case, above all, of investing our priestly ministry with the special character that marks the spirituality of brother Charles (the spirituality of Nazareth, the missionary dimension characterised by an apostleship of goodness, the preferential option for the poor, and our willingness to share responsibility with laity…) within the dynamic of the universal Church.
Following a short meeting Aurelio, accompanied by Secondo Martin (Italy) and Honoré (Burkina Faso), had with Cardinal STELLA, the new Prefect of the Congregatio pro Clericis, in Rome, last December we proceeded to send on all the documentation requested with our request. We await recognition.
2) We also worked on the project for the intercontinental meeting of the Americas (North, Central and South with the Caribbean) in Mexico in February 2016.
Our thanks to the fraternities of Mexico who will host this important meeting and provide food and accommodation.
Thanks also to Mauricio da SILVA JARDIM from Porto Alegre and to Mark MERTES from Kansas City for their active involvement in the preparation.
3) In the context of a situation marked by the tensions between part of the Muslim world and the West, we see the importance of the Viviers meeting next June 13 – 19, on the theme “Diocesan Priests, at the service of the meeting of Christians and Muslims in the light of the message of Charles de FOUCAULD”.
This meeting will help us have a better understanding of priestly ministry in its responsibility to promote and develop within Christian communities a movement of encounter and dialogue with Muslims.
Priests of the European fraternities will meet with priests who minister in the Maghreb or in the Sahel. This exchange of experiences could be valuable in helping us to adapt to one another in our concern to serve “universal brotherhood”.
(See the invitation to the meeting on the international Fraternity website: www.iesuscaritas.org)
4) Universal brotherhood includes economic solidarity between all fraternities.
In order to organise the Month of Nazareth or meetings, and the travel involved, the international fund needs regular support.
For this reason we believe that each country should dedicate 10% of its subscription to the international fund.
Mark MERTES, the economic responsible of the International Team, will be in contact with each national treasurer to achieve this aim.
5) Thanks to all who replied to the questionnaire proposed on the occasion of the Meeting of the Spiritual Family of Charles de FOUCAULD which will take place in Castelfranco, Italy, in Easter Week. Aurelio will take part and will fill us in on all the preparations for the celebration of the centenary of the death of Blessed Charles de FOUCAULD.
6) The next meeting of the International Team will be in Perín, Spain, from October 20 to 29, 2015.
It will also be an opportunity for the team to discern what the Lord is asking of us so that, together, in fraternities spread across the whole world, we may all serve the unity of the human family, as called for by the Second Vatican Council and present Brother Charles as “Universal Brother”.
We do not forget that in these meetings of the International Team it is the spirit of Nazareth which guides us and calls us to live it out in our meeting the people and the Christian communities that welcome us.
In this spirit, during the course of our week, we met the Bishop of Cartagena, José Manuel LORCA, Little Sisters of Jesus, brother priests of the Murcia fraternity, as well as all those living in the Torre Nazaret community, those who host them and neighbours of the parish.
Jean François and Aurelio
Perín, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 27 March, 2015