Cover: The meeting of the major Superiors of the Order – 22 June 2018
A SHINING EYE AND A DARK EYE
Chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in China
Meeting of the Major Superiors of the Camillians, Lotung, 22 June 2018
Homily at the Holy Mass (cf. Readings: 2 Kings 11:1-4,9,18,20; Psalm 131; Matthew 6:19-23)
Dear Fr. Leocir Pessini, Superior General of the Camillians,
Dear Provincial Superiors,
Dear Fr. Giuseppe,
I would like to thank you cordially for your invitation to preside over this celebration of the Eucharist and for the opportunity to meet the Provincial Superiors of the great family of St. Camillus which is guided by your Superior General. I greet you fraternally with the hope that this celebration will be an opportunity to strengthen your communion, to renew your missionary commitment and to pray for each other.
Today’s gospel is divided into two short parts in which Jesus offers us two simple lessons which are very important for our Christian lives and for our religious and priestly ministry. Let us try to see, briefly, these lessons of life, taking the text in our hands.
To begin with, the Lord gives us some advice: ‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth’ (Mt 6:19). This is very simple advice, involving prudence: do not waste time accumulating what is of no use! There are in particular three treasures of the earth that Jesus warns us about on a number of occasions (cf. Pope Francis, homily of 20 June 2014).
The first treasure is gold, money, wealth. Certainly, these means can be used to do very many good things; indeed, they are useful and necessary in carrying on with very many good works for the benefit of other people. This has been, for that matter, the experience of your religious family in Taiwan and elsewhere: thanks to money, both your own and that of benefactors, during the course of time you have achieved great works. Jesus, I am convinced, is very satisfied with such a use of this treasure on earth. However, the Lord warns us about a real danger, that is to say accumulating wealth to the point that it steals our soul and makes us place our hopes in a treasure that is of no use.
At the spiritual retreat of 2016, Pope Francis said to priests: ‘Our people forgive many defects in priests, with the exception of being attached to money. And this is not because of wealth in itself but because money, explained the Pope, ‘makes us become administrators and functionaries, therefore attached to the lord-money, but without the joy of serving the true Lord’.
The second treasure that Jesus speaks to us about is vanity, that is to say trying to have prestige, to make oneself seen. This treasure, as well, is of no use; it soon finishes. Indeed, as Pope Francis said, a priest who is not careful about these temptations sooner or later becomes a wolf and not a shepherd, and thus tries to take advantage of the flock for himself rather than imitating the Good Shepherd in his self-giving for his flock and in his service for the people of God.
The third treasure that Jesus points to as useless and dangerous is pride, power. This is a reality highlighted by the first reading which comes from the second Book of Kings where one reads about the story of the cruel Queen Athaliah who after seven years of power ‘was slain by the sword at the king’s house’ (2 Kings 11:20). It sometimes happens that a religious Superior sees his mandate as ‘power’ over others and not as a service for others. These Superiors, once their mandate has come to an end, remain isolated and consigned to anonymity.
At the same time, the Lord advises us: ‘instead build up treasure for yourselves in heaven’ (Mt 6:20). In order to accumulate these treasures a free heart is needed, one that is filled with true riches that are not stolen, and therefore a heart that is always shining, that gives full joy and happiness.
It seems to me that I can say that Jesus speaks about the possibility of writing one’s life on the basis of one’s own free choices. As religious, priests and missionaries you have freely chosen to leave various treasures of this earth in order to find those of heaven. Your leaving of these, in response to an invitation of Jesus, has enriched your lives which now have a new outlook, and has generated in you the only real way of living life, which is that of God, that is to say moving from making oneself looked at to looking; namely, from selfishness to love. This is truly a treasure for ever.
As Superiors of your respective communities, you have come together to find the most appropriate answers to the question concerning your religious families. In the light of what I have said hitherto, I would like to pose a question to you, which applies in the same way to me, and that question is: how much do we invest in our souls and in the search for the inestimable treasure that God has placed in our hearts? Our real wealth is every second that we dedicate to our inner selves, to silence, to meditation, and to prayer, because they help us to become what we are. If we do not fulfil ourselves as priests, religious and missionaries no material work we have created can ever fill the hearts of those whom the Lord has entrusted to our pastoral care. Their hearts, like our hearts, are made for the infinite, for heaven, and only spiritual wealth helps us to win it and sate it.
Thus the invitation of Jesus remains of urgent importance: to assess constantly to which treasure our heart is attached, and to have the strength to unleash it, if it is chained up, so that it becomes free, shining, and gives us the happiness of servants of God.
Then, secondly, Jesus makes clear the difference between a shining eye and a dark eye (cf. Mt 6:22-23). An eye is shining when it is full of divine light, that is to say the light of God, and sees the things of this earth only as a means by which to practise Christian charity and therefore to be even nearer to God, to our brothers and sisters, and to ourselves. A religious, priest or missionary who has a shining eye lives a simple life and fully abandons himself to what the Lord gives him and wants from him. On the other hand, an eye is dark when evil infects the heart that sees the things of this earth as its God. A religious, priest or missionary with a dark eye is spiritually blind, centred around his own ego; he does not have common sense and good intentions.
Coming from various parts of the world, you are witnesses to the fact that the dark look that Jesus speaks about is as with us as it has ever been: how many people do we meet who have a dark look, bad thoughts, and mistaken ways of reasoning! St. John Paul II said that the disciples of Christ can never be passive and indifferent observers in the face of such people and situations. Instead, they should try to transform both the people and the reality that surrounds them. And this is done by speaking about what we have seen and heard from Jesus (Acts 4:20), that is to say of treasures above that do not perish but, rather, last beyond time and concern both our bodies and our souls.
In addition, today’s world is faced by a crisis that is expressed with multiple facets. The gravest and most serious crisis of contemporary man is the crisis of the supernatural, heaven, God, truth, justice and mercy. Therefore, a crisis that frightens us but one that we must not fear; indeed, we have to face up to it, taking more to heart and seriously the mission that today’s Church entrusts to us, that is to say giving to each man, and above all to young people, the eyes of heaven which see God at the centre of everything.
In his speech to the students of Dillard University, Denzel Washington, the famous American actor, said: ‘Put God first! Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I have accomplished. Everything that you think I have – and I have a few things! Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that: it’s a gift!…I have travelled the world, and I have spoken to millions of people. But that’s not the most important thing, the success that I had. The most important thing is that I have been detected, I have been directed, I have been corrected. I have kept God in my life and it has kept me humble. I didn’t always stick with God, but He has always stuck with me. So, stick with Him in everything you do. If you think you want to do what you think I have done, then do what I have done – and stick with God’.
In clarifying the difference between a shining eye and a dark eye, Jesus asks us to dare to invest increasingly in the things of God, which are those that really count. To us, at times, this appears to be a risky investment but for God it is an excellent deal because it is done from the perspective of the eternal.
As we well know, everything that man wants to achieve he must do with hard work: nothing comes on its own. However, if the work is honest, right, holy, and dutiful, God will always place his blessing on it.
May the Lord make you true partners in his work of Salvation; may he support you in the transmission of the treasures that will last for ever, and may he bless the work that you have done! May our eyes always be shining, full of God, and express in an authentic and clear way the beauty of our souls and the greatness of our love for the things of God and the good of other people!
(Taiwan, Lotung, 13-17 June 2018)
The meeting of the major Superiors of the Order – June 2018
Some introductory notes on the ethical, socio-cultural, historical and Asian religions from China (18 June 2018) by Leocir Pessini – the Superior General
Read here ‘A Short History of the Camillian Mission in China and Taiwan’ by Fr. Giovanni Rizzi
On June 13, 2018, northeast India in the states of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura are once again submerged with water due to heavy torrential rain affecting more than 650.000 population in 921 villages in 21 districts. The flooding itself is primarily caused by breaches in Assam’s embankments which are reportedly in dire need of reinforcement. But the construction of many dams and rampant encroachment of river banks and wetlands, besides a lack of proper drainage, make things worse.
As of today, government data recorded 12 deaths in the states of Assam (5), and Manipur (7). The death is due to flood and landslide. In Assam, the worst affected districts are Karimganj, Hailakandi, Cachar, Karbi Anglong and Golaghat. In Assam alone, the total population affected is 448.495 in 673 villages with 5 reported deaths. Assam is the worst hit by this flood.
Caritas India and CTF Volunteers for Humanitarian Action have assessed needs in the 26 villages and had interaction with the communities. They found out that among the most urgent needs at this time are the following: medical, hygiene kits, food, and water. CTF India is mobilizing its medical team to conduct 35 medical camps in the districts of Karimganj and Hailakandi from June 28 to July 8, 2018.
CADIS International is appealing to your generosity to help and sustain our medical camps. The total budget required for this medical relief intervention is 12.820,00 euros. You may send your contribution to this account:
ACCOUNT: Fondazione Camillian Disaster Service International – CADIS
ADDRESS: Piazza della Maddalena, 53 – 00186 Roma
BANK NAME: DEUTSCHE BANK
IBAN: IT13T 03104 03202 00000 08402 70
ADDRESS: Largo di Torre Argentina, 4, 00186 Roma
We thank you in advance for your great support and generosity. Please keep our emergency medical relief teams in your prayers. We will keep you posted of the recent events on the ground.
May the good Lord keep you always in His heart and through the intercession of St. Camillus de Lellis, may you always enjoy the blessing of health.
Aristelo D. Miranda, MI
CAR, 21 December 2017
DELEGAZIONE DI TAIWAN
On June 29,at tha Apostolic Nuntiature in Taipei,there are celebrations for the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis.Fr.Didone,Michelini,Matteo and Felice attend with spome catholics from Lotung.
‘As I turn my attention towards your People, which has distinguished itself among the other peoples of Asia for the splendour of its ancient civilization, with all its experience of wisdom, philosophy, art and science, I am pleased to note how, especially in recent times, it has also moved decisively towards achieving significant goals of socio-economic progress, attracting the interest of the entire world…In this context, in which you are called to live and work, I want to remind you of what Pope John Paul II emphasized so strongly and vigorously: the new evangelization demands the proclamation of the Gospel to modern man, with a keen awareness that, just as during the first Christian millennium the Cross was planted in Europe and during the second in the American continent and in Africa, so during the third millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in the vast and vibrant Asian continent.
“‘Duc in altum‘ (Lk 5:4). These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Heb 13:8)”. In China too the Church is called to be a witness of Christ, to look forward with hope, and – in proclaiming the Gospel – to measure up to the new challenges that the Chinese People must face’.
From the Letter of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China, 27 May 2007
Our recent meeting of the Superior General and the members of the General Consulta with the major Superiors of the Order was a providential opportunity to return to the Island of Formosa/Taiwan and to encounter your fascinating personal history, your missionary commitment to evangelisation and to providing care, your concerns, and your dreams.
(Taiwan – Lotung, 13-17 giugno 2018)
THE PROVINCE OF SICILY AND NAPLES
This year the feast day of St. Camillus, celebrated in the community of Acireale (Catania), will be preceded by an inter-parish Camillian mission that will involve six parish communities and about thirty ‘missionaries’: five men Camillians, ten women Ministers of the Sick, two Daughters of St. Camillus accompanied by four young people from Rome, two women Missionaries of the Sick ‘Christ the Hope’ and six Camillian postulants. This initiative seeks to be a part of the commemorations of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini and will witness the involvement in the front line of three women Ministers of the Sick who live in the community of Acireale.
The religious of the Province of Sicily and Naples share their joy at the perpetual religious profession of Dario Malizia (Acireale, 16 July 2018). This occasion will be the final event of the Provincial Vocational Year (2017-2018), an initiative of all the religious of this Camillian Province.
THE DELEGATION of TANZANIA
The religious of the Province of Germany – the Delegation of Tanzania – share their joy at the priestly ordination – Dar Es Salaam, 7 July 2018 – of two Camillian religious: Paschal Mapendo and Raymond Mukhotya.
THE PROVINCE of BENIN-TOGO
Fr. Medard Aboué, on 26 June 2018, at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome – brilliantly discussed – summa cum laude – his doctoral thesis in theology, with a specialisation in the theology of pastoral care. The title of his thesis was ‘Pastorale de la Sante dans le contexte des Religions traditionnelle Africaines. Le cas du Vodun au Benin’.
THE PROVINCE OF NORTH ITALY – DAY OF FRATERNITY
On 12 June 2018 the Provincial Secretariat for Formation offered an enrichment of the traditional day of fraternity with a cultural/artistic project directed towards the discovery – that was from many points of view truly unexpected – of the presence of the Camillians in Bergama, with a guided visit to the Camillian ‘memory’ of the city and above all to the Church of St. Mark which contains Camillian frescoes and bas reliefs.
Camillian Pastoral Care for Young People and Vocations
The pictures of the Weekend of Camillian Fraternity of the Province of North Italy with the theme ‘Charity will never end’ (Cor 13:8a) was held in our house of spirituality of Piossasco (TO). Twelve young men took part. May the Lord, through the intercession of St. Camillus, illuminate their steps!
The photographs of the Day of St. Camillus of the ‘Fraternità San Camillo’ community of Piossasco (To). During the event, Sister Teresa Martino discussed the figure of one of our religious, Brother Ettore Boschini..
THE PROVINCE OF ROME
On Sunday 1 July 2018, at 19.00, at the St. Camillus Sanctuary of Bucchianico, there was a solemn celebration for the opening of the jubilee on the sixtieth anniversary of the construction of the crypt and the arrival of the simulacrum of the saint (6 July 1958). The Apostolic Penitentiary has granted the indulgence, according to the usual conditions, for those people who visit the sanctuary during this year of Grace. The celebration will presided over by H.E. Msgr. Giuseppe Sciacca, the Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
16 June 2018 – ‘Villa Sacra Famiglia’, Rome
PROVINCE OF INDIA
di p. William Eronimoose, direttore
Monday 11th June 2018 was an important day for the Indian Institute of Pastoral Health Theology (IIPHT) as it officially inaugurated the academic year 2018-2019 for the 3rd batch in Diploma in Pastoral Health Theology. The official inauguration took place at 10.30 am through the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Kurian Kachappilly CMI, the President of Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, to which our Institute is affiliated. Rev. Fr. William Eronimoose MI, the Director of IIPHT welcomed Rev. Fr. Kurian, Rev. Fr. Biju Sebastian MI, the ministry in-charge of Camillians, Rev. Sunny MI, and the neighbouring community fathers and sisters to the Eucharistic celebration. CONTINUA QUI
PROVINCE OF BRAZIL
The vocational meeting at the São Camilo Seminary of Granja Viana, San Paolo, took place on 22-24 June 2018. Nineteen young men who are following a pathway of spiritual accompanying took part in this meeting.
ROME – THE CHURCH OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
The work to improve and conserve the aesthetic and spiritual heritage of our beautiful church of ‘Mary Magdalene’ is continuing and has become more intensive.
The restoration and reinforcement work on the frescoes and wood (protection against woodworm and termites) of the sacristy began in February 2018 and – as is predictable with this kind of work – with a variation as regards the estimated time of completion: the work will go on for another three or four months…‘beauty will save the world’!
In a short time the work will also begin on the restoration of the tower and the bell section with a strengthening of the structure following old and new damage to the adobes that hold up the building as a whole.
Lastly, in July of this year the opening will take place of a third work project for a resurfacing of a significant portion of the roof of the church of ‘Mary Magdalene’, near to the façade: ‘long-standing’ infiltrations of rain water have damaged some wooden trusses of the covering, damaging on the inside of the church some parts of the fresco and leading to damp on a part of the wooden sections of the eighteenth-century organ.
We thank the FEC (Funds for Buildings of Worship – the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Italian government) and the Special Superintendence for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Rome, for its funding and role during the restoration work.
The ‘Torch of Charity’ and Pope John XXIII
Since 1 July 1960, in the crypt of the St. Camillus Sanctuary of Bucchianico, in front of the stained glass that portrays him at the last moments of his life, the ‘Torch of Charity’ has burned continuously, a sign of the spiritual prayerful presence of those who care for the sick and implore from him, our heavenly patron saint, the love and dedication that animated his activity.
This artistic lamp, the work of a refined Roman engraver, was blessed by Pope John XXIII at the end of the general audience held in St. Peter’s on 12 July and it was lit in the evening of 13 July, the next day, in the infirmary/chapel where the saint died at the Mother House of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome.
The ‘Torch of Charity’ as an idea and a movement was born with the Camillian Fr. Ercole Meschini; it has grown a great deal over the years and has been recognised by the ecclesiastical authorities as a ‘Movement of the Apostolate of the Laity’. Since that day, every year it brings to the town where St. Camillus was born, in the month of July, those who are dedicated to helping the sick, with the holding of organised religious and cultural events, promoting at the same time knowledge about, and dissemination of, the Message of Charity of St. Camillus.
On Saturday 7 July 2018, at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Rome, the 2018 edition of the Association of the Torch of Charity will be celebrated.
During the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by His Excellency Msgr. Gianrico Ruzza – the auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Rome – there will be a presentation of the oil for the ‘Torch of Charity’ so that it can be blessed before being taken to the St. Camillus Sanctuary of Bucchianico, the birthplace of the Patron Saint of military health care and of the auxiliary military health-care services of the armed forces. This is a solemn act that will symbolise a renewed resolution to nourish the flame of the ‘Torch of Charity’ which is an expression of faith and love for the suffering Christ, whom the Saint of Charity saw in the sick, the poor, those in need, and those who had been abandoned.
MARY MAGDALENE: ‘APOSTOLORUM APOSTOLA’,WOMAN OF MERCY AND WITNESS
This decision forms a natural part of the current ecclesial context which asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelisation, and the greatness of the mystery of divine mystery. It was St. John Paul II who dedicated great attention not only to the importance of women in the mission itself of Christ and of the Church but also, and with a special emphasis, to the special role of Mary of Magdala who was the first witness to see the resurrected Christ and the first messenger to announce the resurrection of the Lord to the apostles (cf. Mulieris dignitatem, n. 16). This importance continues today in the Church – as is demonstrated by the current commitment to a new evangelisation – which wants to welcome, without distinction, men and women of every race, people, language and nation (cf. Ap 5:9) in order to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, to accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage, and to offer them the wonders of the salvation of God. Saint Mary Magdalene is an example of a real and authentic evangeliser, that is to say an evangelist who proclaims the joyous central message of Easter (see collect of 22 July and the new preface).
The Holy Father Francis took this decision specifically in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy in order to indicate the importance of this woman who demonstrated a great love for Christ and was greatly loved by Christ, as Rabanus Maurus (‘dilectrix Christi et a Christo plurimum dilecta’: De vita beatae Mariae Magdalenae, Prologus)and St. Anselm of Canterbury (‘electa dilectrix et dilecta electrix Dei’: Oratio LXXIII ad sanctam Mariam Magdalenam) observe when speaking about her. It is certain that in the tradition of the Church in the West, especially after St. Gregory the Great, Mary of Magdala was seen as the woman who poured perfume in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, and as the sister of Lazarus and Martha. This interpretation continued to have an influence on Western ecclesiastical authors and in Christian art and in liturgical texts relating to this saint. The Bollandists dedicated a great deal of attention to the identification of the three women and prepared the ground for the liturgical reform of the Roman Calendar. With the implementation of this reform, the texts of the Missale Romanum, of the Liturgia Horarum and of the Martyrologium Romanum referred to Mary of Magdala. It is certain that Mary Magdalene formed part of the group of disciples of Jesus, she followed him to the foot of the cross, and in the garden where his tomb was located she was the first ‘testis divinae misericordiae’ (Gregory the Great, XL Hom. In Evangelia, lib. II, Hom. 25,10). The Gospel of John narrates that Mary Magdalene wept because she had not found the body of the Lord (cf. Jn 20:11) and Jesus felt compassion for her making himself be recognised as the Teacher and transforming her tears into paschal joy.
Taking advantage of this suitable circumstance, I would like to highlight two ideas inherent in the Biblical and liturgical texts of the new feast day that can help us to understand in a better way the contemporary importance of such a Holy Woman. On the one hand, she has the honour of being the ‘prima testis’ of the resurrection of the Lord (Hymnus, Ad Laudes matutinas), the first to see the tomb empty and the first to listen to the truth of his resurrection. Christ felt especial regard and mercy for this woman who expressed her love for him by looking for him in the garden with anxiety and suffering, with ‘lacrimas humilitatis’ as St. Anselm says in the prayer that has been cited. On this point, I would like to point out the contrast between the two women in the garden of paradise and in the garden of the resurrection. The first spreads death where there was life; the second proclaims Life from a tomb, a place of death. Gregory the Great himself observed this: ‘Quia in paradiso mulier viro propinavit mortem, a sepulcro mulier viris annuntiat vitam» (XL Hom. In Evangelia, lib. II, Hom. 25). In addition, it is precisely in the garden of the resurrection that the Lord says to Mary Magdalene: ‘Noli me tangere’. This is an invitation addressed not only to Mary but also to the whole of the Church to enter an experience of faith that goes beyond every materialistic appropriation and human understanding of divine mystery. It has an ecclesial relevance! This is a good lesson for every disciple of Jesus: not to look for human security and earthly titles but faith in the Living and Risen Christ!
Specifically because she was an eyewitness of the Risen Christ, she was also, on the other hand, the first to bear witness to this before the apostles. She carries out the order of the Risen Christ: ‘“go to my brethren and say to them”…Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her’ (Jn 20:17-18). In this way, she became, as has already been observed, an evangelist, that is to say a messenger who proclaims the good news of the resurrection of the Lord; or as Rabanus Maurus and St. Thomas Aquinas said: ‘apostolorum apostola’, because she proclaimed to the apostles what, in their turn, they would proclaim to the whole world (cf. Rabanus Maurus, De vita beatae Mariae Magdalenae, c. XXVII; St. Thomas Aquinas, In Ioannem Evangelistam Expositio, c. XX, L. III, 6). The Angelic Doctor rightly uses this term applying it to Mary Magdalene: she is a witness to the Risen Christ and proclaims the message of the resurrection of the Lord, like the other Apostles. Thus it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same level as a feast day as that given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and it highlights the special mission of this woman who is an example and a model for every woman in the Church.
Article by H.E. Mons. Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
MEETINGS OF THE ORDER OF CAMILLIANS (2014 – 2020)
The Central Commission of LCF met in Rome
The international meeting of the LCF will take place on 13-20 October 2018, at Villa Primavera (Rome), of the Handmaidens of the Incarnation. The meeting is open to the presidents and principal spiritual assistants of the LCF: two people for each Province, Vice-Province or Delegation of the Order.
THE DIARY OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL AND THE GENERAL CONSULTA
* On 14 July 2018 will celebrate the solemnity of ‘St. Camillus’ at the Saint Camillus Sanctuary of Rio de Janeiro;
* On 16-18 July 2018, in Rio de Janeiro, will take part in the first Brazilian congress of Catholic health-care works and will offer a paper on the subject ‘Philanthropy and Mission’.
* On 26-29 July 2018, in Sarajevo (Bosnia), will take part in the international congress of moral theology and will give a paper on ‘Planetary Health: a Challenge for the Future of Humanity’.
* On 8-12 August 2018 will visit the Camillian religious of Chile.
Fr. Laurent ZOUNGRANA, the Vicar General of the Order, on 4-13 July 2018 will visit the Camillian religious of Uganda on the occasion of the celebrations of the priestly ordinations.
The Central Economic Commission of the Order will meet at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene buildings in Rome on 6-8 September 2018.
DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL CONSULTA
The Superior General with the agreement of the members of the General Consulta:
- Has admitted to the perpetual profession of religious vows the temporary professed religious (of the Province of Sicily and Naples) Dario Malizia.
- Has erected canonically the house of the novitiate for the year 2018-2020 in the Camillian community of Essen in Germany.
‘‘See, now they vanish, the faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them. To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern’ (T.S. Eliot).
ANTONIO DIDONÈ (1933 – 2018) Delegation of Taiwan
This video is a moving homage to Fr. Antonio Didonè, a Camillian religious, priest and medical doctor, a man who loved Taiwan, its people, its sick people and its poor people.
Fr. Antonio Didoné embraced by the Pope and the Chinese of Taiwan
This Camillian religious spent over forty years looking after poor and sick children on the island of Taiwan.
Son of Giovanni and Elena Filippin
Born: 8 December 1933 in Ca’ Onorai di Cittadella (Padua)
Entered the Order: 14 October 1944 in Besana.
Entered the novitiate: 14 July 1949 in Verona-San Giuliano.
Temporary profession: 15 July 1950 in Verona-San Giuliano.
Perpetual profession: 1 April 1956 in Rossano-Mottinello.
Ordained a priest: 22 June 1958 in Cittadella-Duomo.
GBAGUIDI JULIEN (1948-2018)
The Vice-Province of Benin-Togo
The Camillian religious of the Vice-Province of Benin-Togo and of the Province of Sicily and Naples announce the death of their confrere Br. Julien GBAGUIDI Julien (aged 70). His death took place after a long and painful illness, on 1 June 2018, at the ‘Cotugno’ Hospital of Naples (Italy).
«Ora vivono in Cristo, che hanno incontrato nella Chiesa, seguito nella nostra vocazione, servito nei malati e sofferenti. Nella fiducia che il Signore, la Vergine Santa nostra Regina, san Camillo – i beati Luigi Tezza e Giuseppina Vannini – e i nostri Confratelli e Consorelle defunti li accoglieranno fra loro, li affidiamo nella preghiera ricordandoli con affetto, stima e gratitudine».
PRAYER FOR THE VICTIMSOF ANY DISASTER
For all the victims of disasters, for the persons who lost their lives, for their dear ones, for all survivors, and for all those responding to emergencies, we pray:
Heavenly Father, who created and protected every existence, You know all our sorrows and sufferings. May all those victims of disasters be received in your peace. Receive us in your mercy as we pray all our brothers and sisters who had been buried by the forces precipitated by nature.
Bring them to your home. Console the pains of the many families; wipe out the tears of our brothers and sisters;
protect the solitude of the many orphans.
Fill us with your courage so that the pain will become a path of growth and hope. Awaken the hearts of all Christians and of men and women of goodwill, who desire to commit themselves so that the wounds of those who suffer from these calamities will experience the comfort of fraternal solidarity,
You who lives and reigns forever and ever.
Our Father, the Hail Mary, Gloria
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
SECOND WORLD DAY OF THE POOR
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
18 November 2018
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
1. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6). The words of the Psalmist become our own whenever we are called to encounter the different conditions of suffering and marginalization experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters whom we are accustomed to label generically as “the poor”. The Psalmist is not alien to suffering; quite the contrary. He has a direct experience of poverty and yet transforms it into a song of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Psalm 34 allows us today, surrounded as we are by many different forms of poverty, to know those who are truly poor. It enables us to open our eyes to them, to hear their cry and to recognize their needs.
We are told, in the first place, that the Lord listens to the poor who cry out to him; he is good to those who seek refuge in him, whose hearts are broken by sadness, loneliness and exclusion. The Lord listens to those who, trampled in their dignity, still find the strength to look up to him for light and comfort. He listens to those persecuted in the name of a false justice, oppressed by policies unworthy of the name, and terrified by violence, yet know that God is their Saviour. What emerges from this prayer is above all the sense of abandonment and trust in a Father who can hear and understand. Along these same lines, we can better appreciate the meaning of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).
This experience, unique and in many ways undeserved and inexpressible, makes us want to share it with others, especially those who, like the Psalmist, are poor, rejected and marginalized. No one should feel excluded from the Father’s love, especially in a world that often presents wealth as the highest goal and encourages self-centredness.
2. Psalm 34 uses three verbs to describe the poor man in his relationship with God. First of all, “to cry”. Poverty cannot be summed up in a word; it becomes a cry that rises to heaven and reaches God. What does the cry of the poor express, if not their suffering and their solitude, their disappointment and their hope? We can ask ourselves how their plea, which rises to the presence of God, can fail to reach our own ears, or leave us cold and indifferent. On this World Day of the Poor, we are called to make a serious examination of conscience, to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.
To hear their voice, what we need is the silence of people who are prepared to listen. If we speak too much ourselves, we will be unable to hear them. At times I fear that many initiatives, meritorious and necessary in themselves, are meant more to satisfy those who undertake them than to respond to the real cry of the poor. When this is the case, the cry of the poor resounds, but our reaction is inconsistent and we become unable to empathize with their condition. We are so trapped in a culture that induces us to look in the mirror and pamper ourselves, that we think that an altruistic gesture is enough, without the need to get directly involved.
3. The second verb is “to answer”. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord does not only listen to the cry of the poor, but responds. His answer, as seen in the entire history of salvation, is to share lovingly in the lot of the poor. So it was when Abram spoke to God of his desire for offspring, despite the fact that he and his wife Sarah were old in years and had no children (cf. Gen 15:1-6). So too when Moses, in front of a bush that burned without being consumed, received the revelation of God’s name and the mission to free his people from Egypt (Ex 3:1-15). This was also the case during Israel’s wandering in the desert, in the grip of hunger and thirst (cf. Ex 16:1-6; 17:1-7), and its falling into the worst kind of poverty, namely, infidelity to the covenant and idolatry (cf. Ex 32:1-14).
God’s answer to the poor is always a saving act that heals wounds of body and soul, restores justice and helps to live life anew in dignity. God’s answer is also a summons to those who believe in him to do likewise, within the limits of what is humanly possible. The World Day of the Poor wishes to be a small answer that the Church throughout the world gives to the poor of every kind and in every land, lest they think that their cry has gone unheard. It may well be like a drop of water in the desert of poverty, yet it can serve as a sign of sharing with those in need, and enable them to sense the active presence of a brother or a sister. The poor do not need intermediaries, but the personal involvement of all those who hear their cry. The concern of believers in their regard cannot be limited to a kind of assistance – as useful and as providential as this may be in the beginning – but requires a “loving attentiveness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 199) that honours the person as such and seeks out his or her best interests.
4. The third verb is “to free”. In the Bible, the poor live in the certainty that God intervenes on their behalf to restore their dignity. Poverty is not something that anyone desires, but is caused by selfishness, pride, greed and injustice. These are evils as old as the human race itself, but also sins in which the innocent are caught up, with tragic effects at the level of social life. God’s act of liberation is a saving act for those who lift up to him their sorrow and distress. The bondage of poverty is shattered by the power of God’s intervention. Many of the Psalms recount and celebrate this history of salvation mirrored in the personal life of the poor: “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him” (Ps 22:24). The ability to see God’s face is a sign of his friendship, his closeness and his salvation. “You have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities… you have set my feet in a broad place” (Ps 31:7-8). To offer the poor a “broad space” is to set them free from the “snare of the fowler” (Ps 91:3); it is to free them from the trap hidden on their path, so that they can move forward with serenity on the path of life. God’s salvation is a hand held out to the poor, a hand that welcomes, protects and enables them to experience the friendship they need. From this concrete and tangible proximity, a genuine path of liberation emerges. “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid” (Evangelii gaudium, 187).
5. I find it moving to know that many poor people identify with the blind beggar Bartimaeus mentioned by the evangelist Mark (cf. 10:46-52). Bartimaeus “was sitting by the roadside to beg” (v. 46); having heard that Jesus was passing by, “he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me’” (v. 47). “Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more” (v. 48). The Son of God heard his plea and said: “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight” (v. 51). This Gospel story makes visible what the Psalm proclaims as a promise. Bartimaeus is a poor person who finds himself lacking things as essential as sight and the ability to work for a living. How many people today feel in the same situation! Lack of basic means of subsistence, marginalization due to a reduced capacity for work, various forms of social enslavement, despite all our human progress… How many poor people today are like Bartimaeus, sitting on the roadside and looking for meaning in their lives! How many of them wonder why they have fallen so far and how they can escape! They are waiting for someone to come up to them and say: “Take heart; rise, he is calling you” (v. 49).
Sadly, the exact opposite often happens, and the poor hear voices scolding them, telling them to be quiet and to put up with their lot. These voices are harsh, often due to fear of the poor, who are considered not only destitute but also a source of insecurity and unrest, an unwelcome distraction from life as usual and needing to be rejected and kept afar. We tend to create a distance between them and us, without realizing that in this way we are distancing ourselves from the Lord Jesus, who does not reject the poor, but calls them to himself and comforts them. The words of the Prophet Isaiah telling believers how to conduct themselves are most apt in this case. They are “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke… to share bread with the hungry and bring the homeless and poor into the house… to cover the naked” (58:6-7). Such deeds allow sin to be forgiven (cf. 1 Pet 4:8) and justice to take its course. They ensure that when we cry to the Lord, he will answer and say: “Here I am!” (cf. Is 58:9).
6. The poor are the first to recognize God’s presence and to testify to his closeness in their lives. God remains faithful to his promise; and even in the darkness of the night, he does not withhold the warmth of his love and consolation. However, for the poor to overcome their oppressive situation, they need to sense the presence of brothers and sisters who are concerned for them and, by opening the doors of their hearts and lives, make them feel like friends and family. Only in this way can the poor discover “the saving power at work in their lives” and “put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 198).
On this World Day, we are asked to fulfil the words of the Psalm: “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied” (Ps 22:26). We know that in the Temple of Jerusalem, after the rites of sacrifice, a banquet was held. It was this experience that, in many dioceses last year, enriched the celebration of the first World Day of the Poor. Many people encountered the warmth of a home, the joy of a festive meal and the solidarity of those who wished to sit together at table in simplicity and fraternity. I would like this year’s, and all future World Days, to be celebrated in a spirit of joy at the rediscovery of our capacity for togetherness. Praying together as a community and sharing a meal on Sunday is an experience that brings us back to the earliest Christian community, described by the evangelist Luke in all its primitive simplicity: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:42.44-45).
7. Countless initiatives are undertaken every day by the Christian community in order to offer closeness and a helping hand in the face of the many forms of poverty all around us. Often too, our cooperation with other initiatives inspired not by faith but by human solidarity, make it possible for us to provide help that otherwise we would have been unable to offer. The realization that in the face of so much poverty our capacity for action is limited, weak and insufficient, leads us to reach out to others so that, through mutual cooperation, we can attain our goals all the more effectively. We Christians are inspired by faith and by the imperative of charity, but we can also acknowledge other forms of assistance and solidarity that aim in part for the same goals, provided that we do not downplay our specific role, which is to lead everyone to God and to holiness. Dialogue between different experiences, and humility in offering our cooperation without seeking the limelight, is a fitting and completely evangelical response that we can give.
In the service of the poor, there is no room for competition. Rather, we should humbly recognize that the Spirit is the source of our actions that reveal God’s closeness and his answer to our prayers. When we find ways of drawing near to the poor, we know that the primacy belongs to God, who opens our eyes and hearts to conversion. The poor do not need self-promoters, but a love that knows how to remain hidden and not think about all the good it has been able to do. At the centre must always be the Lord and the poor. Anyone desirous of serving is an instrument in God’s hands, a means of manifesting his saving presence. Saint Paul recalled this when he wrote to the Christians in Corinth who competed for the more prestigious charisms: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Cor 12:21). Paul makes an important point when he notes that the apparently weaker parts of the body are in fact the most necessary (cf. v. 22), and that those “we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require” (vv. 23-24). Paul offers the community a basic teaching about charisms, but also about the attitude it should have, in the light of the Gospel, towards its weaker and needier members. Far be it from Christ’s disciples to nurture feelings of disdain or pity towards the poor. Instead, we are called to honour the poor and to give them precedence, out of the conviction that they are a true presence of Jesus in our midst. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
8. Here we can see how far our way of life must be from that of the world, which praises, pursues and imitates the rich and powerful, while neglecting the poor and deeming them useless and shameful. The words of the Apostle Paul invite us to a fully evangelical solidarity with the weaker and less gifted members of the body of Christ: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). In his Letter to the Romans, Paul also tells us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly” (12:15-16). This is the vocation of each of Christ’s followers; the ideal for which we must constantly strive is ever greater conformity to the “mind of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5).
9. Faith naturally inspires a message of hope. Often it is precisely the poor who can break through our indifference, born of a worldly and narrow view of life. The cry of the poor is also a cry of hope that reveals the certainty of future liberation. This hope is grounded in the love of God, who does not abandon those who put their trust in him (cf. Rom 8:31-39). As Saint Teresa of Avila writes in The Way of Perfection: “Poverty comprises many virtues. It is a vast domain. I tell you, whoever despises all earthly goods is master of them all” (2:5). It is in the measure in which we are able to discern authentic good that we become rich before God and wise in our own eyes and in those of others. It is truly so. To the extent that we come to understand the true meaning of riches, we grow in humanity and become capable of sharing.
10. I invite my brother bishops, priests, and especially deacons, who have received the laying on of hands for the service of the poor (cf. Acts 6:1-7), as well as religious and all those lay faithful – men and women – who in parishes, associations and ecclesial movements make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor, to experience this World Day as a privileged moment of new evangelization. The poor evangelize us and help us each day to discover the beauty of the Gospel. Let us not squander this grace-filled opportunity. On this day, may all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope to advance securely on our path towards the Lord who is to come.
From the Vatican, 13 June 2018
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua