Motion 22 of the fifty-fifth Generai Chapter (Ariccia 2007) reads as follows: ‘The General Chapter should draw up guidelines for the Order in order to achieve more effective Camillian assistance’.
Following this mandate of the General Chapter, the General Councillor for Ministry created an ad hoc commission to draw up such ‘guidelines for the Order’. The document that you are holding is the outcome of its work.
This document begins by describing the historical journey that the Camillian ministry has taken down the centuries (chap. I) from the epoch of St. Camillus to today. It then iiluminates our roots (chap. Il) and brings out the basic principles from which we cannot depart and to which we must constantly refer if we want to follow in a safe way — without any danger of distancing ourselves from them —those footsteps already taken in the exercise of mercy towards the sick.
The principal aspects of the health-care universe in which we live are emphasised (chap. III) in order to provide an accurate and effective framework for our ministerial activity in the contemporary scenario of the suffering world so that our action in this world is as effective as possible.
Most space in this document is dedicated to illustrating how the various aspects and moments in which our mission is organised are, and must be, offered (chap. IV), dwelling in particular on the importante of proclaiming, the offering of the sacraments and the deaconate, that is to say the way in which our ministry of service is expressed, through pathways that are innovative as regards the Camillian past, such as centres for formation, parishes and the Camillian Task Force.
The recipients of our ministry are then discussed (chap. V): they are above all sick people and their family relatives, and health-care workers, the valuable instruments of our ministerial action.
Suitable attention is paid to the need to act in union and cooperation with the Universal Church (chap. VI) and to the vital work of the lay faithful (chap. VII). An emphasis on the need for formation (chap. VIII) in its various aspects and in relation to the various categories of hearth workers — we religious must piace ourselves in the front line! — ends this document, which in this way has touches upon the centra! poínts of the Camillian ministry, offering necessary directions and useful suggestions for its actuation.
These Directions are, and must constitute, for each Camillian a valuable work instrument which we need to justify and update our ministerial activity of accompanying the suffering: a difficuit and delicate activity which, however, is more possible the more it is flanked by the watchful help of our Founder and numerous brothers of ours— past and present — who point out to us, as milestones, the pathway to be followed.
Keenly-felt thanks go to the members of the ad hoc commission, made up of Fr. Francisco Alvarez, Fr. Eugenio Sapori, Fr. Krysztof Trebski, Fr. Paolo Guarise and Fr. Angelo Brusco, who was its chief author and to whom we express our deep gratitude.
Fr. Paolo Guarise