PROGRAMMATIC LINES PASTORAL YEAR 2018-2019
A NON-PEOPLE CALLED TO MAKE ONCE
MORE ALLIANCE WITH THE LORD
The Holy Father Francis, in his address to the Pastoral Convention of the Diocese of Rome, says: “We have become more aware of being, in some respects and for certain dynamics emerged from our verifications, a “non-people”. This word “non-people” is a biblical word, used much by prophets. A non-people called to once more make an alliance with the Lord” (Speech of the Holy Father at the Pastoral Convention of the Diocese of Rome – After the report on the work done in the diocese on “spiritual and pastoral diseases”- Basilica of St. John in Lateran, Monday, 14 May 2018).
Listening to the voice of the Holy Father Francis, the Apostolic Movement is called to verify its identity as the People of God. Being Non-People does not benefit the mission of salvation. It would lack the truth necessary to be us credible. But how is the People of God born and how does it live? What is its immediate end? What is its eternal purpose? The simple and brief answers to these questions will serve to indicate clear proposals for a fruitful Pastoral Year of catechesis and spiritual formation. We will serve Christ Jesus, the Church, the Apostolic Movement and ourselves, well.
HOW IS THE PEOPLE OF GOD BORN AND HOW DOES IT LIVE
The ancient people was born of the covenant proposed by God to the children of Israel and welcomed by them. It was solemnly stipulated on the irrevocable commitment of perennial obedience to the Ten Commandments, written with the finger of God on two stone tablets and handed over to Moses. Thus, God became the God of the people and the sons of Israel the people of God. The people obliged themselves to obey the voice of their God. God was committed to being the life of his people. One God, one Law, one People, one Obedience, one Alliance and one life. Unity stood on obedience to the voice of the Lord.
The new People of God, the Church, is also born of an alliance proposed by Jesus. However, the modalities and the Law itself change. One becomes a people of God by becoming the body of Christ in baptism. We live as God’s people living the whole Gospel, according to the teaching offered by the Pastors of the Church, constituted by God to govern and rule the flock of Christ the Lord. Without obedience to the Gospel, one becomes a dry branch, which the Father cuts to be thrown into the fire. In the Gospel, Christ becomes the life of the Christian and the Christian life of Christ for the salvation of the world.
The unity of the New People of God is not extrinsic, that is, founded only on obedience to the Gospel. It is intrinsic. There is only one body in Christ. This body is called to live all the Law of Christ – Commandments and Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount – as the true body of Christ, ie members of one another in the one body of Christ, all animated by the Holy Spirit with his gifts, his charismas and the particular conformation to Christ that is given by every sacrament that is received. In the body of Christ every member must be life for every other member by the eternal law.
For all the power of life that is received in the body of Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to be able to bear much fruit in us and for us in the world, it is necessary that our spirit, our soul and our body are clothed with the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity and the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. If we do not grow in these virtues, the fruits will be few or even zero. If then one falls into one of the chief vices of pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth, he is a child of darkness and no longer of light.
Then, it is right that everyone, helped by catechesis, by spiritual direction and by the examination of his conscience, asks himself: Do I observe with an upright conscience all the Ten Commandments? Do I commit myself to grow in the theological and cardinal virtues? Do I pay attention to living the spirit of the Beatitudes? Am I far from the deadly sins, the true plague of the soul, the leprosy of the spirit and the disease of the body? Do I know the particular conformation to Christ that is born of every sacrament received? Do I allow myself to be enriched by the charisma and mission of every member of the body of Christ? Can I look into myself for an examination of conscience?
Responding with honesty, sincerity and supernatural light coming from the Holy Spirit, to these questions, we can already know if we are People of God, true Body of Christ, or we are Non-People of God, Non-Body of Christ, non-true temple of God Holy Spirit, non-true Church of the Lord Jesus. If we are dry branches of the true life that is Lord Jesus we cannot bear fruit. If instead we are vitally united to him, because we abide in the Word of the Gospel, guided to the whole truth by the Holy Spirit that hovers in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, then we can be certain: we will produce much fruit. It is the promise and prophecy of Lord Jesus.
WHAT IS THE IMMEDIATE END OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD
The immediate end is twofold: reaching us the full conformation to Christ the Lord. As true conformed to Christ and as we grow in this conformation, we are called to form the body of Christ with the addition of new members, by giving new children to the Church. The former and the latter immediate end are different from person to person, because they are different from the sacrament to the sacrament, from gift of the Holy Spirit to gift of the Holy Spirit and from mission to mission. If the personal sacramental, charismatic and missionary conformation to Christ Jesus is not accomplished, fruits cannot mature. The tree that produces them is missing and the tree is the conformed person to Christ.
These two ends are not some accessories, but the very pure truth of every disciple of Jesus. They are not external, but truths of nature. The sacrament, the gifts and the mission change the nature of the person. The mission of the baptized person and that of a bishop are different because the participation in the nature of Christ is different, the mission is different together with the gift of grace and truth. One is not body of Christ in an indeterminate, amorphous and indistinct way, in which everyone works his own way. In the body of Christ one lives a triple obedience: to the sacrament, to the charisma or gift of the Spirit and to the mission.
WHAT IS ITS ETERNAL END
The eternal purpose is not only the one of leading oneself into the kingdom of God or into his Paradise, but of bringing the self, drawing the whole world behind him. We can say that charity towards others obliges our personal, specific, sacramental and charismatic conformation to Christ the Lord. By loving us the salvation of the world, we force ourselves to live as the true body of Christ, in order to bring every other man into the body of Christ, so that from the body of Christ we may bring all into the kingdom of our Father. The Christian must become holy for his salvation, much more for the salvation of others.
When one passes from the attainment of personal salvation to the salvation of the world and consecrates life to it, then charity is perfect. We must strive for this charity and to aspire to it. Then, yes that the desire to live the Word, walk in the virtues, stay away from vice, listen to the Holy Spirit, live according to all his inspiration and walk behind Christ until the sacrifice on our Golgotha which is always personal, is born in the heart. When we desire that the whole world becomes the true body of Christ, true Church and true People of God, then we too are People of God.
WITH THE VIRGIN MOTHER, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
The Virgin Mary, Mother of God, wants the Word of her Son to be reminded and the House of the Father, his Church to be filled, going in search of every sheep that has been lost and of every other sheep of the Father that has never entered into the fold of Christ Jesus. May she, invoked with love and with the prayer of the Holy Rosary, be the one to make us true people of God, true Body of Christ, true Church, true Apostolic Movement and true people on mission for the salvation of every man. The truth of the mission is the truth of the life of our vocation. If we are not true missionaries, we simply do not exist.
May she be the one to teach us to celebrate the sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance in holiness and to receive all others with the true will of a perfect conformation to Christ our Lord. May she also be the one to make us faithful hearers of the Holy Spirit that manifests his will through the Pastors of his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Another thing that she must teach us is to keep in the heart every event of our life, so that we can discover the great mystery of mercy, truth and holiness of our God and Lord, in it. With her in our heart and before our eyes, the path is sure.
THEME OF CATECHESIS
This Year of grace of the Lord 2018-2019, for those Dioceses in which the respective Pastors have not offered particular topics to be treated, which are also mandatory for the Adherents of the Apostolic Movement, in catechesis, it will be reflected on what the Holy Father has indicates to the Diocese of Rome: We have become more aware of being a “Non-People”. We will read the theme in the light of the Sunday Gospel, allowing ourselves to be helped by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by every other Document of the Magisterium of the Pope and Bishops. It will be the task of the Central Council to concretely indicate, according to its own directives, the implementation program of these Programmatic Lines. Training is mandatory for each member.
A LOOK TOWARDS THE PAST
The gaze towards the past is covered with a twofold aim. Thanking the Lord for all the good He has done in us and for us. But it must also help us for a true and honest examination of conscience. How much did I subtract my person from the heart of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit? What is the work that God was able to do also for my commitment and what instead is the fruit only of others? Our yes given to the Virgin Mary obliges us to always be on the field, there, where the Holy Spirit wants us to perform our service. Everyone is responsible for every duty assumed before God.
– Nine Ecclesial Conventions of the Apostolic Movement have been celebrated so far. The most recent (2017), held at the Poli-Giovino Palasport in Catanzaro, was dedicated to the upcoming Youth Synod and had as speakers H. Em. Card. Lorenzo Baldisseri, H.E. Mons. Vincenzo Bertolone, the Prosecutor of the Republic Nicola Gratteri. The previous conventions were concluded by: H.Em. Card. Angelo Scola, then Patriarch of Venice (Catanzaro, 2006); H.Em. Card. Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna (Catanzaro, 2007), H.Em. Card. Mauro Piacenza, then Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy (Catanzaro, 2008); H.Em. Mons. Giuseppe Marciante, auxiliary bishop of Rome (Rome, 2009); H.Em. Mons. Mario Toso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (Rome, 2010); Mons. Miguel Delgado Galindo, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Catanzaro, 2012); H.Em. Mons. Filippo Santoro, Archbishop of Taranto and President of the CEI Commission for Social Problems and Work, Justice and Peace (Rome, 2015), H.E. Mons. Nunzio Galantino, General Secretary of the CEI (Rome, 2016). Each edition benefited from the intervention of the pro-tempore Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace, respectively H.E. Mons. Antonio Ciliberti and H.E. Mons. Vincenzo Bertolone. The Archbishops of the Calabrian. Region intervened over the years: H.E Mons. Vittorio Mondello, H.E. Mons. Santo Marcianò, H.E. Mons. Salvatore Nunnari. The tenth national convention, scheduled for November 26, 2018, which will be dedicated to the Church’s mission for young people, is currently being prepared. Speakers will include the bishops Mons. Domenico Battaglia and Mons. Vincenzo Bertolone, as well as experts in educational and psychology sciences.
– To be added also the Meeting for the 35th anniversary of the Apostolic Movement, held on 30.12.2014, at the Poli-Giovino Palasport in Catanzaro, on the theme “To spread the Gospel of joy”. The appointment, wanted by the President, experienced the presence of the Archbishop Mons. V. Bertolone, Archbishops emeritus A. Cantisani and Mons. V. Rimedio, civil institutions, delegations from all over Italy and a large number of joyful and festive public. Also worthy of mention are the conventions and meetings of the Apostolic Movement held over the years for the members of the areas of Northern Italy and Switzerland.
– In the Secular Institute “Mary Mother of the Redemption”, over the years, the number of consecrated persons has greatly increased. At the beginning of each pastoral year, presiding at the Eucharistic celebration in the Mary Mother of the Church parish in Catanzaro, the Archbishop H.E. Msgr. Bertolone welcomes the votes of new consecrated women, those who renew their vows during the first five years of profession and those who reach perpetual profession. Today the consecrated persons are 58. Every first Thursday of the month they offer to all the faithful a Eucharistic adoration in one of the churches of the city in Catanzaro.
– The commitment of the Apostolic Movement in the service of charity, which is expressed above all in the ordinariness of the often hidden mission carried out in the parishes and daily life environments continued in an intense and constant way: various members have given their work in soup kitchens for the poor, visits to the sick at home, in clinics, in hospitals, in nursing homes and homes for the elderly, in school assistance for disadvantaged children, in distance adoptions and with signs of solidarity for the affected areas from the earthquake. To coordinate the service in some of these sectors, some voluntary groups were organized in a systematic way. Some signs of this service are the support of the Movement to the diocesan family house of Befotaka in Madagascar, to the charitable initiatives of the diocese of Khammam (India), in favour of some students of Douala (Cameroon) and a parish nursery school in the diocese of PointeNoire (Rep. Of the Congo). The Apostolic Movement has also participated with its own contribution to the initiative “Oasis of Mercy” desired by the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace and the World Day of the Poor
– In the vast area of dialogue between Church and society, the Apostolic Movement has directed several cycles of formation meetings in recent years, in harmony with the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace. We recall: the cycles of meetings on the relationship between the Family, Church and society, in harmony with the Synodal events of 2014 and 2015; the project on “Food, Eucharist and solidarity”; the series of reflections on the theme “For a culture of mercy – Dialogues between church and society in the Jubilee itinerary”. The gaze on the family was resumed in 2016-2017, with the cycle of meetings held at the Biodiversity Park of Catanzaro, on the theme “You are perfect love – 5 dialogues on family and society in the light of Amoris Laetitia of Pope Francis”, a program encouraged and concluded by the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace. The topics were treated by theologians and by people particularly skilled in the various themes: “For a culture of hospitality. Adoptions, trusts, right at the origin”; “International cooperation: subjects, project and tools”; “The truth of love and the diseases of the soul”; “Justice of God and justice among men”; “Prevention of discomfort: practical indications for families”; “Family and society: a necessary relationship”; “Family spirituality, reflection starting from chapter IX of Amoris Laetitia”.
– Among the publications edited by priests that live the spirituality of the Apostolic Movement, the following theological and pastoral titles have been added since September 2017: Alessandro Carioti, Rediscovering to be a Mother, Tau Editrice, Todi 2018; Francesco Cristofaro, My yes to the Lord. Testimonies of faith and life, Tau Editrice, Todi 2018; Andrea Ganci, The question of the consecration of the faithful in Ecclesial Movements. Current status and future perspectives, EDUSC, Rome 2018; Emmanuele Rotundo, The kenosis of Unus de Trinitate. A proposal of kenotic christology, Cittadella Editrice, Assisi 2017; Nicola Rotundo, Common goodness between universal ethics and social morality, Editorial Project 2000, Cosenza 2018.
– The fervent work of youth ministry and support for evangelization carried out by the Apostolic Movement continues thanks to the original musicals composed by Cettina Marraffa. After having put free on stage the musical “And let there be light…”, “Under your shadow a song” (remember in particular the setting in the official program of the WYD in Madrid), “Meditating the Passion” (staged also in Lourdes for the Italian national pilgrimage of 2010), and Ester – The musical; in March 2018 “Under your shadow a song” was repeated. The invitation to re-propose the work came from the Archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace, who suggested it as an instrument of diocesan preparation for the upcoming Youth Synod. Another reply took place on 30th August at the parish of St. Mary of the Rescue in Reggio Calabria, at the invitation of the parish priest Msgr. Giorgio Costantino.
– The systematic program of youth training continues. The three Youth Meetings organized starting in 2015 proved to be very successful and fruitful events. The first was held on 1 August 2015 at Palumbo Sila (KR). The second took place on 3 August 2016, when almost a thousand participants met at the amphitheater of the Sila National Park in Monaco in Taverna (CZ), in keeping with the theme of WYD dedicated to “Blessed are the merciful”. The third meeting, which repeated the success of the previous year in the same frame of Sila, was dedicated to the Youth Synod, following the theme: “A better world is built also thanks to you” (Pope Francis).
– In 2018, due to the happy coincidence of the meeting of the Italian Youth with Pope Francis (11-12 August), the young people of the Apostolic Movement lived a day of reflection and prayer in Serra San Bruno (4 August), ended with the participation to the Mass organized by the Regional Youth Ministry and the Calabrian Episcopal Conference, in view of the national gathering. A significant representation of the young people of the Apostolic Movement, led by some priests, participated in Rome at the national meeting with the Holy Father.
– The Apostolic Movement has participated over the years in international events organized by the Organisms of the Holy See, which we will review below.
From 30 May to 3 June 2012 it took part in the 7th World Meeting of Families held in Milan. On this occasion, an information stand of the Apostolic Movement was set up at the International Family Fair, from 29 May to 2 June 2012. Several members of the Apostolic Movement joined in the short and long term voluntary service. All the members of the Apostolic Movement of Milan and the large representation coming from the Central Seat and from various other dioceses attended the meetings with the Holy Father.
Moreover, with large representations, the Apostolic Movement took part in the international meetings with the Holy Father on the occasion of the Year of Faith: the day of movements (18-19 May 2013) and the day of catechists (28-29 September 2013). On October 26, 2013, many representatives of the Apostolic Movement took part in the meeting of the Holy Father with Families in St. Peter’s Square.
From 20 to 22 November 2014, the president and the central secretary, at the invitation of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, participated in Rome at the III World Conference of ecclesial movements and new communities, dedicated to the theme “The joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy…” and culminated in the audience granted by HH Francis. The solicitations coming from the Holy Father have acted as a track for the organization of the Apostolic Movement meeting on 30 December 2014.
– In preparation for the 2015 Florence Ecclesial Convention, welcoming the invitation of the CEI, three “experiences” were sent to the organizing committee on the approach to Christian humanism, linked respectively to catechetical activity, to the training sessions of the Verbum Study Centre on dialogue among disciplines, and youth ministry. Subsequently, the reflection continued with the contribution of assistant priests and lay people. A dossier of insights and testimonies was produced, as a contribution of the Apostolic Movement, made available on the website.
The president of the Apostolic Movement was also present at the International Meeting with movements and new communities, wanted by the new Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life on June 14, 2017.
Together with a young member, the president also spoke at the same meeting held at the same Dicastery on 19 June 2018.
– The concern of the Apostolic Movement for vocations does not fail. A group of vocation animation, led by a presbyter, was set up to continuously make members and parish communities aware of prayer and self-offering for vocations to ministerial priesthood and consecrated life. This year another young man that lives the spirituality of the Apostolic Movement will be joining the community of the theological Seminary in Catanzaro.
– The mission of the Apostolic Movement continues both in Italy and abroad and the visits of various bishops from mission areas also continue. In February 2017, Fr Francesco Brancaccio returned to visit the adherents and presbyters assisting the Apostolic Movement in the dioceses. of Douala (Cameroon) and Pointe-Noire (Rep. of the Congo), at the invitation of the local Bishops, to support the work of formation and mission and to intensify the comparison with the Central Seat. On this occasion he brought some help to the local communities. In November 2017, Fr. Jean Paul Nguembo, parish priest in the diocese of Pointe Noire (Rep. Of Congo), paid a visit at our headquarters. He communicated to the members present that with the support of the Apostolic Movement the construction of a kindergarten was carried out in the village of Tsessi. During the pastoral year, the Apostolic Movement had the joy of welcoming some Bishops from Abroad that celebrated the Eucharist at the “Mary, Mother of the Church” parish in Catanzaro: On 22 January 2018, HE Msgr. Mizonzo, Bishop of the Diocese of Nkay, Republic of Congo; on 5 February 2018, Msgr. Walter Dario Maggio, Bishop of the Diocese of Guayaqui in Ecuador; 5 June 2018, H. E. Mons. Joachim Ouedraogo, Bishop and Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference of the Diocese of Koudougou (Burkina-Faso).
In the various seats, the members of the Apostolic Movement have worked to live in a co-responsible manner the mission of the respective dioceses and parishes, participating in diocesan appointments and organizations and offering the availability, according to each one’s charisma, in all the operative sectors: evangelization, catechism and catechesis, liturgy and sacraments, pastoral councils, Caritas, voluntary service and missionary work, pastoral care for young people, families, culture and the sick.
– The catechetical service of formation edited by the Apostolic Movement in all its branches, referring to local pastoral plans and inaugurated annually in various dioceses by the respective Bishops, has continued uninterruptedly for the past 39 years. The formative, organic and systematic itinerary supports the missionary commitment to which the adhering members are daily called in families, in parishes, in work and study environments, in social life and wherever it is urgent to witness to the Lord’s mercy. The work of evangelization, missionary animation of the parishes and witness to charity involves daily the assistants, the responsible and the adherent members of all the seats, in communion with their pastors.
– The mission and formation service offered by the Apostolic Movement on the Web has been further intensified. The site has been enriched with additional theological and pastoral instruments. Among them, it should be noted in particular that in 2017 the Central Assistant completed the commentaries on all the books of the Holy Scriptures, made available free of charge for free consultation and download by visitors. The publication of the online Apostolic Movement continues unceasingly (in two editions, corresponding to the Roman Rite and the Ambrosian Rite), of the Gospel of the Day and of other columns. The presence of the Apostolic Movement in social media was also strengthened, conducted in the perspective of witness, listening and pastoral service.
ON THE WAY TOWARDS THE FUTURE
The future is not the one we want, but it is what God wants to create through us. For God to create through us, it is necessary that we first let ourselves be created by Him in true holiness, in perfect conformity to Christ the Lord, growing in all obedience in order to live in a heroic way the charity of Jesus. Allowing God to make us according to his will, placing us entirely in his hands, letting ourselves be moved by the Holy Spirit, we can also say with the Mother of God: “Great things has the Almighty done for me and holy is his name”. But to say this the full gift of our life to Him is needed.
It is right to praise the Lord and bless him for what he has done through us. But it is also a duty to thank the brothers for all the good that the Lord has done through them to us and the world. The good must always be recognized, praised and exalted, by exalting, praising and recognizing the work of God. We thank with feelings of true gratitude:
The Inspirer – Founder of the Apostolic Movement, Mrs. Maria Marino. She lived and lives as a true People of God, true Church of Christ the Lord, always in obedience to the Holy Spirit. She is a true model of conformation to Crucified Christ.
Mrs. Concetta Venerina Marraffa. She makes one fall in love with Christ, transforming his Gospel into a visibility of great artistic and scenic sensibility. May the Lord keep her in this work and make her grow in all wisdom and love for Christ.
President, Mr. Cesare Rotundo. His love for the Apostle Movement knows how to be made proximity to each member, bringing comfort, support and encouragement so that the work that God has begun in each one is brought to completion.
The Central Secretary, the Diocesan and Parochial Secretaries, the Diocesan and Parochial Responsible, the Adherents and the Candidates. For their charity, solicitude, daily commitment, the Apostle Movement grows and produces fruits of true conversion.
Ecclesiastical Assistants. Their precious work, as a gift to all of the grace and truth of Christ, is like the soul for the body. As the body cannot live without a soul, so the Movement cannot live without their constant dedication.
The Priests in whose Parish the Apostolic Movement lives and exercises the mission of remembrance and announcement. May the Lord grant them all grace and doctrine so that through their work as Pastors in the Church the Movement grows in the mission.
The Deacons, Servants of Christ in material and spiritual charity. May they teach with their works and words to every adhering member of the Apostolic Movement how to serve the Word of Jesus to every heart, by living it in all its truth, command, counsel and precept of the Lord.
The Consecrated Lay members of the “Mary, Mother of the Redemption” Association. May they always be a live fire in prayer, in order to obtain every grace from the Lord, so that for them and for the Apostolic Movement the mission of remembrance and proclamation of the word of Christ Jesus our Lord is fulfilled.
A special thanks goes to God for the Most Excellent Bishops who welcomed the Apostolic Movement in their dioceses. May the Adherent members believe with living faith that they are true Flock of Christ Jesus entrusted to their care of Pastors and Masters.
A special memory for the Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI. His words addressed to the Apostolic Movement in the various Wednesday meetings in Rome and also during the Sunday Angelus are engraved in our hearts. May the Lord bless his person.
Let us praise, bless and thank the Lord for Pope Francis, Shepherd of the whole Church. To him the Apostolic Movement owes obedience as to Christ Jesus. Each adherent is called to a full listening of knowledge and wisdom in the Holy Spirit of his every word and every desire for good to make the Church of Jesus beautiful.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redemption, guard the Apostolic Movement so that every day it may grow and produce many fruits according to its particular charisma. May Angels and Saints intercede so that the Word of the Lord echoes increasingly true in the world.
May this pastoral year 2018 – 2019 help us to grow in love for Jesus Crucified, Jesus Eucharist, for the Mother of God and our Mother and for the one, holy and catholic Church. Growing in this love, we will grow in our mission for the salvation of many souls. I wish you all a good work.
Catanzaro, 8 September 2018.
The Central Ecclesiastical Assistant
of the Apostolic Movement
Msgr. Costantino Di Bruno