We write to you from Perín, Spain, where we have met to prepare for the World Assembly of the Priestly Fraternity Iesus Caritas in Cebu, Philippines.
We are near Easter, still cold, but in spring.
We have completed the Letter of Convocation for the Assembly, and together with the 56 delegates or responsibles who will take part, all the Iesus Caritas brothers are involved. Taking into account the situation of the life of the world and of the Church, which high-lights the relevance of the spirituality of Charles de FOUCAULD, on the one hand developments in the world: the five continents are increasingly inter-dependent, the great movement of migrants, degradation of the planet is aggravated, the gap between rich and poor is greater, local conflicts with international repercussions (Syria, Yemen…), the god of money with such sway…We see many countries turned in on themselves, with protectionism and at the same time a mistrust of one another.
The development of the life of the Church: Pope Francis looking at this world situation, presents us with the challenges for the Church’s mission. In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he calls on the whole Church to take up once more a dynamic of evangelization, centred on Christ, and to go out to meet people, particularly the poorest, on the periphery. In Laudato Si, once more, he asks us to mobilise around the figure of Francis of Assisi in order to practise a happy sobriety and solidarity with the most fragile of our world. We see the resistance in our communities and dioceses to this movement of conversion to which we are called by Pope Francis. We, priests in fraternity, disciples of brother Charles, must commit ourselves in this situation motivated by the intuitions of Charles de FOUCAULD: to cry the Gospel with our life, to be the presence of the Gospel in the heart of the world that does not know Christ; the calls to be universal brothers and make possible in our communities a dynamic of going out and of dialogue; called to live the spirituality of Nazareth, namely, poverty, prayer and closeness to the poor. Therefore, not to be a narcissistic Church that gazes only at itself.
At our Assembly in Cebu, Philippines, we will keep present this triple fidelity: to Christ, to Brother Charles, and to Pope Francis. That’s why it is so important that each brother contribute to this meeting, by assiduous prayer asking for the intercession of Charles de FOUCAULD, by the brotherly communion with each other, by the communication of each of our fraternities of all our countries… To that end we have a means of communication which is the website iesuscaritas.org We invite you to send your articles, reflections and news items…
Thank you for all the efforts to prepare well for our World Assembly, working on the Philippine Questionnaire, and for collaborating economically to assist in the journeys of brothers who cannot meet the costs.
In these working days we have shared the lives of many people, pleasant human situations and other more complicated ones. We have lived prayer and the Eucharist interceding for all of you and especially for Gianantonio [Allegri], from Italy, operated on these days for cancer.
May the joy of Easter go out from us from a deep conviction that Jesus is alive in the people and situations that surround us, in the movements of the world in favour of the rights of men and women, and from the so many good hearts that we encounter daily.
Jean-François and Aurelio
Perín, Murcia, Spain, 23 March, 2018
(Thanks so much, dear Liam, for the English translation)