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Sunday, 02 December 2018 18:10

Extraordinary Mission Month October 2019

“The Church is missionary by nature”. Church teaching illustrates this paradigm: starting with Maximum Illud by Pope Benedict XV; then the Council decree Ad Gentes; confirming it with the Evangelii Nutiandi by Pope Paul VI and Redemptoris Missio by Pope John Paul II. Moreover Pope Francis in his Evangelii Gaudium, at number 27 says “I dream of a “missionary option”, that is a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything”: with these words Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples this morning at the Vatican Press Room presented ‘October 2019, an Extraordinary Mission Month” as announced by Pope Francis at the Angelus prayer on 22 October 2017, “to nourish the Church’s evangelising activity ad gentes”.

The occasion stems from the centenary, 30 November 2019, of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud with which Pope Benedict XV gave new impulse to the missionary responsibility of all the baptised to announce the Gospel, a duty of the whole Church not only of religious men and women, and he stressed that at the centre of missionary commitment there must be always and only the Gospel and its announcement, free of any cultural or economic aspect.

The theme of the MMS is “Baptised and Sent: the Church of Christ and mission in the world”, therefore mission understood as a call to faith, as proposed by God to mankind. Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso explained: “We cannot decline mission solely as a proposal of faith which stems from God who comes to us through his Son Jesus Christ, entrusting himself to human freedom. God does not impose he proposes,”. To speak today of Christians “baptised and sent” means that “every single baptised Christian can be a missionary, a channel of the proposal that God offers mankind, through personal testimony, prayer and offerings”, the Archbishop said.

“The content of mission– the President dell PMS explained – is sharing the News that Christ saves mankind. The missionary dimension is inherent to Baptism. Mission today consists not only of the traditional North-South movement, with missionaries sent to distant lands. Today, in the present of our life, in our Western countries to bear witness to the Gospel in our own personal walks in life, is to be missionaries”.

Various initiatives have been launched by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of People and the Pontifical Mission Societies to publicise the MMS, Extraordinary Mission Month scheduled for October 2019, announced by Pope Francis: first of all the website which intends “to promote and animate MMS, so as to contribute with its multimedia contents, to inspire all Christians to pray and reflect on missio ad gentes”, said Fr Fabrizio Meroni, Secretary General of the Pontifical Mission Union, director of CIAM (International Centre for Missionary Animation) and Fides.

The web site has several sections, first of all the Magisterium and Pontifical Mission Societies concerning the subject. Other sections include “Witnesses”, with the lives of Blessed, Saints and Martyrs of yesterday and today; “Formation”, with texts for mission animation; “Voices from the World Mondo” focussing on testimony from missionaries and PMS officials in different parts of the world.

Also available on the MMS web site a special “Guide” on the theme “Baptised and Sent: the Church of Christ on mission to the world”. The text, produced at the initiative of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of People and the Pontifical Mission Societies, a collection of contributions from many different countries, is addressed to the Christians of the world. The intention is to provide dioceses material necessary for missionary formation and animation, inspiring the creativity of our local Churches which face the challenges inherent to evangelisation starting with missio ad gentes and in the local context. The sections which make up the Guide correspond to the spiritual dimensions indicated to us by the Holy Father when he convoked the Extraordinary Mission Month: a personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in the Church, the testimony of missionary saints and martyrs, catechetical formation for mission and missionary charity.

The text will be available in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. On the web site at present there is only the Italian version of the Guide PDF, the other four languages will be put on the web by the end of the end 2018, by February 2019 the paper version should be ready .

The MMS logo, the Mission Cross with colours for all five continents, is a bright and colourful sign of Christ’s victory resurrection. The earth is transparent because the work of evangelisation knows so barriers or borders: it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The words Baptised and Sent which accompany the image indicate two elements characteristic of every Christian: baptism and sharing the good news.

Also visible on the website, a video about the MMS, illustrating the meaning of mission today, a journey across the continents: Asia, Sri Lanka; America, Ecuador; Holy Land; America, Mexico and USA; Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; Oceania, Australia; Asia, Japan. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/11/2018)

Published in From the world
Thursday, 20 July 2017 11:10

«International month» of formation

From 10th July to 10th August 2017, a group of thirty young Sisters has come together to prepare for their final vows during an  «international month» of formation.

In Rome they walked on the steps of the first apostles and visited the main basilicas; at Pozzaglia-Sabina, they discovered the birth-place of Saint Agostina Pietrantoni; in Borgaro they found Blessed Nemesia Valle, before continuing their journey to Sancey, homeland of Saint Jeanne Antide Thouret, our Foundress.

They come from 14 different countries: Italy (1), Albania (1), Argentina (1), Cameroon (1), Chad  (3), South Sudan (3), Nigeria (1), China (1), India (6), Indonesia (2), Laos (2), Lebanon (1), Pakistan (3), Vietnam (8).

They are led by Sr. Mary Stefanos, General Councillor, and by the international formation team, together with some Sisters helping for the translation in all languages. This time of formation is an opportunity of formation centred on the re-reading of their vocation in the Light of the Word of God and the writings of Saint Jeanne Antide. Sr Nunzia de Gori, Superior General, will also join them, offering lectures on the charism and helping them know better the life of the Congregation and its main features.

This time of spiritual renewal, sharing, deepening is a unique occasion to live together a strong experience of fraternity at an international level. 

All the Sisters and Friends of the Congregation follow their journey of formation, praying that the Lord may enlighten them and grant them the courage to say « Yes » with generosity and be witnesses to the joy of a life totally given to God.

Published in Congregation Events
Thursday, 13 July 2017 20:58

Our experience with the elderly

We are novices among the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide. The noviciate is a period of formation to become Sisters and live religious life fully.  Armelle, from Chad, and Luong, from Vietnam tell us their mission experience with seniors. 

LUONG: From last year, we novices, have been collaborating with the “S. Egidio’s Community” at the service of the Church and of the Kingdom of God. With simplicity and according to our possibilities we take part in various activities.

ARMELLE : What do we do exactly? Once a week we visit elderly people, who live in the neighbourhood near St. John Lateran’s basilica. Some of them live alone, have no family, others have a family but they live faraway, others have children living in the city who are unable to visit often their parents due to work, health problems or their own family’s commitments.

Our visit gives them a chance to chat, share and keep hoping … we have built simple and friendly relationships with them, being attentive to the needs of each one of them. Sometimes we bring them something to eat, or else we make supper for them, we tidy up the house, iron their clothes, and help them with personal care (cutting their nails and hair)…

LUONG :  With those who can we also go out for a walk. We entertain them singing, dancing, reading a book, listening to their stories and also sharing ours. Sometimes it happens that we pray together with them, or else we offer them comfort encouraging them to have faith and keep hoping.
We also had positive feed-backs from their children who appreciate our weekly presence which assures them that their parents have someone else to rely on.

ARMELLE : Back in our community we “keep” these people in our prayer, and we talk about them and what we do with them.
This is not much, yet it makes us experience the importance of caring for others and strengthens in us the wish of making our life a gift of love for all. For the elderly our visits are the occasion to spend some time in a different way, being listened to, loved, and accepted as they are.

LUONG: This experience offers to us, novices of the Sisters of Charity who are going through a formation process towards becoming Sisters, an opportunity to live our Charism in a practical way, learning to see Jesus in the poor, the sick, the elderly and the marginalized, and put into practice the words of Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it to me!”.

Published in Shared reflections
Monday, 17 April 2017 11:07

Damascus: Thanks to the religious !

82 female religious from different congregation dedicate themselves modestly and with great discretion to serve the Church in Damascus… without letting others speak about them. With the help of the Spirit they provide a deep power that gives life to the charisms of the Gospel in a country which is torn apart by the war, without getting tired or scared.

1) WITNESS OF FRATERNITY : Some of them live in small communities, in their big old schools which were nationalised in 1968… others in the hospital establishments or in the simple apartments or lodgings in the midst of the people of God where they lead a life of poverty, prayer and praise.

2) LISTENING: These consecrated religious are available to welcome and to listen to these poor people. A first aid mission especially during these years of war and solitude… They store up in their hearts all the sufferings and the concerns of the small people forgotten in misery and incertitude… In front of helplessness, these Consecrated women form with love and tenderness, a Wall of Lamentation while assuring a charitable presence for the impoverished families.

3) FACES OF COMPASSION : the commitment of our Sisters at the service of the families is expressed by their presence in the nurseries, the schools, the dispensaries, the soup kitchens and in the catechism and religious formation centres …. To welcome their heroic mission in the hospital sector and the caring of the sick, many of whom are war casualties, developing a suitable pastoral ministry of the sick and the elderly…

4) FUTURE ASSETS : The Sisters’ pilot mission is still focused on the schools and on the formation of children and youths … Through this pedagogical service they transmit the values of peace, tolerance and dialogue, pledges of rebuilding a destroyed Native Country and of Ecclesial Renewal… In this domain they welcome all forms of psychological support to help those who suffered badly from the war and the youths marked by violence, delinquency and exclusion…

5) HEARTFELT THANKS : Doesn’t this beautiful witness of hidden and unknown light deserve some gratitude and acknowledgement ? Dearest Consecrated Women in Damascus, only the RISEN CHRIST is capable to thank you and to bless you.

Easter 2017

† Samir NASSAR

Maronnite Archbishop of Damascus

Published in Shared reflections
Monday, 10 April 2017 13:45

In Syria: the courage to hope

Death has not stopped hitting Syria! After 6 years of war children are still dying … the number of victims and refugees is still growing! The country is destroyed because of sufferings and injustice!

Yet hope has not died! War and daily struggles do not undermine the courage of people and of the Sisters who live there! The will to live and to build peace are stronger than fear and death. In Damascus, ours Sisters work untiringly to help the families and try to support as much as possible the younger ones.

Through educational activities they offer a chance of serenity which helps the children grow and face the difficult situation they live in and the traumas they suffer daily. Our Sisters work in difficult conditions, nonetheless they try to offer material help distributing food and medications and helping those who lost their house to get another one, never giving up before difficulties!

Words cannot express what people are going through, they lost everything yet they are stronger than despair and fear …

With the people of Syria, and with our Sisters who are with them, at the beginning of this Holy Week we want to open our hearts to Jesus crying «I thirst! »

I thirst for peace and justice!

I thirst for your solidarity!

I thirst for a united humanity!

Published in Shared reflections

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