Friday, September 30, 2011

Laity: The Formation of Our Collaborators (Pastoral Plan, # 62)

We consider the integral formation of the laity that is, spiritual and doctrinal formation, growth in human values, etc., as a priority, and we include this formation in the programs of pastoral action so they:

a. discover their own vocation and availability, always growing in the course of their own mission;

b. live the communion which identifies them as members of the Church and citizens of human society;

c. share responsibilities in our ministries. We can not consider them as mere “helpers” but as partakers in the same mission, for they too are called to be agents of evangelization.

The insertion of the laity into our pastoral ministry is one of the most ambitious fruits of our ministry.

The Laity in our Pastoral Work (Pastoral Plan, # 61)

In the schools, parishes and other centers of our apostolate we count on the laity as valuable collaborators in the common mission of the Church in which we all serve.

In our schools, they can be appointed to positions of directorship, teaching, pastoral ministry, or administration, although we hold the legal representation and title to ensure fidelity to the foundational gift. The laity can also take part in the pastoral teams of our centers, with responsibilities that match their commitment.

In parishes, the laity have a relevant role in the catechesis, liturgy, charity, and above all, in the different stages of preparation for marriage and later renewal.

The Laity associated with our Spirituality and Charism (Pastoral Plan, Chapter VIII)

60. Within a Church of communion

The salvific mission of the Church in the world is undertaken not only by the ministers who have received the Sacrament of Orders, but also by all the faithful, who, having received the sacrament of baptism, are members of the same church in communion and mission.

For that reason, the laity always have been related to our foundational gift, not only as collaborators in our apostolate but also by taking part in the vocation and mission of the Institute. They can participate in our spirituality and collaborate to make believable the gospel of the family from their secular perspective.

The last General Chapters have insisted on the need to promote co-responsibility among the laity in the life and mission of the Institute, and the Statutes of the Holy Family Association foresee a special juridic bond with the families and people consecrated to the Holy Family and who live its spirituality.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Manyanet Solidarity (Pastoral Plan, # 59)

The XX General Chapter encouraged us to “promote a ‘Non Governmental Organization (NGO)’” among the laity, sharing our spirituality and charism, for the promotion and well-being of the family” (General Chapter Documents III, 5,1).

Manyanet Solidarity is the answer to the social and ecclesial concern of our Institute, heir also to the charism of Saint Joseph Manyanet.

The goals of Manyanet solidarity are:

  • to raise awareness about the reality of poverty in the Third World;
  • to promote structural changes and also changes in the attitudes of people, that promote the growth of people;
  • to improve their lives, their education and training of children and youth; and, to promote the family (Statues 2).

Another initiative of solidarity is the Association of Manyanet Volunteers, which unites young people from our schools in free activities for children and youth in need.

Additionally, we collaborate, as much as possible, with other family and assistance movements, offering our own spirituality and charism.

Holy Family Association: The Mission of the Christian Family (Pastoral Plan, # 26)

The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio underscores four general tasks of the family:

a. Formation of a community of persons, based on the love among all the members of the family–the man and the woman as spouses, as parents towards their children and vice versa, towards the relatives and elderly— which drives them to a deeper communion which is the foundation of  married and family life.

b. At the service of life, which encompasses not only the transmission of life as cooperators with God’s creative love, but also education, a right and duty of the parents to help their children to live a full human life.

c. Collaborating in the development of society, since the family, the first cell of society, offers the first experience of communion and participation (Familiaris Consortio 42-43).

d. Participating in the life and mission of the Church, since there are many and deep ties which join the Church and the family, which make of the latter a “church in miniature” (ecclesia domestica) so that in its own way the family is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church (FC 49).

Holy Family Association: The Family is the first and most important path (Pastoral Plan, # 25)

As witnesses and apostles of the mystery of Nazareth, while we carry out our apostolic mission, we do not forget that “among the many paths of human existence, the family is the first and the most important” (Letter to Families 1,1).

The goal of our mission of “making a Nazareth in each home” is for us a challenge that we assume and carry out, mainly through the consecration of families to the Holy Family and by helping them live the values of Nazareth, among which we emphasize respect, welcoming, dialogue and interpersonal relationships, forgiveness, acceptance of God’s plans, the life of faith, among other elements of the Gospel of Nazareth.

However, the announcement of the truth of the family cannot be separated from the announcement of the truth of matrimony, which is its origin and source. Matrimony and family are different realities, but closely related, and if separated, both will vanish.

In recent years the conviction has grown that matrimony is the foundation of the family and that the spirituality of the family comes from the spirituality of the spouses.

Holy Family Association: Agents of the Nazarean-family Apostolate (Pastoral Plan, #22)

We are the primary ones who must “promote with great care the honor, imitation and cult of the Holy Family” (Constitutions 2), first and foremost through our religious consecration and the testimony of our personal and community life. We find collaborators among priests, religious men and women, laity and families, who share in the same common task, according to their own condition in the Church.

In a very special way, families identified with the Nazarean-family spirit, make of it an essential part of their lives and are a living testimony and effective source to promote the imitation, devotion and values of the Holy Family in the bosom of the family group.

Families will address this task of evangelization, first of all, towards themselves, for the spouses and parents are the priests of the home, and, inasmuch as they can, as a demand of their sacramental state, will extend it towards other families, promoting the good news of Nazareth through their testimony and pastoral activities in those places where they live (other relatives, parish, job, neighbors, friends...), or working together with the Sons of the Holy Family.

The testimony of life of religious and families shows the complementarity of our calls in the one and primordial human call to love, whose image and full realization is the Holy Family, to whom we go to live, in a personal way and as a community, our self-giving attitude towards God and our brothers and sisters.

The Holy Family Association and the means of our mission (Pastoral Plan, #21)

Prompted by a special pontifical decree, we are called to promote the Holy Family Association, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1892, and renewed and updated by John Paul II in 1987. Its nature and purpose match our call and mission.

The Holy Family Association provides for an appropriate pastoral platform to fulfill our mission, for the members of the Holy Family Association live a specific form of consecration to the Holy Family by which, personally and as a family, they gradually become a community of disciples, witnesses and apostles of the Holy Family. Thus,

- As disciples of Nazareth, they welcome the Holy Family into their own home as an inspiration for their life.

- As witnesses of Nazareth, they live in their marriage and family the Christian values of the Holy Family.

- As apostles of the Holy Family, they proclaim in word and deed the fruit of these values to other families.

In addition, members of the Holy Family Association, willing to live with more commitment their Christian life according to the Spirit of the Holy Family, can find inspiration, orientation and guidance in our Institute, joining us in a special bond and being part of it.

To promote the honor, imitation of and devotion to the Holy Family, besides the Holy Family Association, we also use other means, such as the Monthly Home Visit of the Holy Family, International Congresses on the Holy Family, the Nazarenum Center, The Holy Family Magazine, the celebrations of our congregational liturgical calendar, etc.

Apart from that, we try to share our spirituality and experience in every plan we carry out in the schools, parishes and missions, family groups, youth movements, liturgies, mass media, etc., with the intention that “all families of the world imitate and bless Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, #20: The Holy Family in Our Apostolate

Announcing the Gospel of the Holy Family of Nazareth is the specific element which identifies our mission in the Church. The motto “A Nazareth in each home” summarizes both our reason for being as well as our mission; it also indicates those who are entrusted to us and the ideal that we promote as a sure way to happiness and holiness for families and society.

We are convinced that “the proposal and example of the Holy Family reveals an extraordinary motivation for our pastoral ministry projecting the fundamental values on which they are based, as well as the source of the inner joy experienced between spouses, between parents and children, and among siblings.”

“The Holy Family teaches us to   understand the reality of one’s own family and to treat it, from the period of the engagement onward, as part of the saving mystery of Jesus Christ. It teaches us to consider and experience marriage as a vocation, as well as the wellspring of the most genuine love, life and holiness. It teaches us to be supportive of other families and to learn to share in their struggles. It teaches us to value the family as a sign of the presence of God, as the ‘domestic church’ and as a true community of life, prayer and work” (Letter of the Vatican Secretary of State, June 14, 1992).

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, # 19: The Gospel of Nazareth in Our Own Tradition

We consider the triad—Home, Church and School/Workshop—as the most appropriate expression of our tradition to present the Gospel of Nazareth in our apostolate.

Nazareth as a Home expresses the universal call to be “children of God” like the Son, in the daily life of the Holy Family, and to build up with all men and women the family whose Father is God.

Nazareth as a Church opens the Christian family—image of the Holy Family of Nazareth— to a communion with God, which sanctifies family life and makes of it a “domestic church.”

Nazareth as a School/Workshop includes our human and Christian growth, our openness to others and the personal call of each of the baptized.

This plan offers a richness of possibilities for application and adaptation to the multiple circumstances and places where we carry out our Nazarean-family apostolate.

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, # 16: The Pastoral Counsel of the Delegation

In order to be more effective in our ecclesial mission, we count on the presence and participation of the laity who share in our spirituality and mission. They are part of our Pastoral Councils, locally and in the Delegation.

Meetings are held with religious and laity to exchange ideas and initiatives and to unify criteria. Each Delegation will schedule these meetings frequently.

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, #12: Nazarean-familial Style of Our Apostleship

The spiritual legacy of the Institute—the example of life and holiness of Saint Joseph Manyanet, the testimony of our brothers who have gone before us, the traditions of the Institute and the contribution of the laity who have participated in our call and mission—have led to the formation of some specific expressions of the Gospel of Nazareth, which identify our works.

These are some of those actions:

  • welcoming people and bringing them closer to God;
  • familial environment of joy;
  • trust and simplicity in our relationships;
  • acknowledgment of each person for him/herself and his/her values;
  • promotion of a family spirituality inspired by the Holy Family;
  • encouraging and fostering work and co-responsibility.

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, #10: Ends of Our Apostolic Mission

The motto “A Nazareth in each home” summarizes and unifies the ideals that motivate us in our apostolic mission and that we desire to make real in those places where we are sent.

Our apostolic work has as its main end to establish among Christian families the family lifestyle that the Incarnate Son of God lived with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. Jesus is the true way of life and holiness, and this lifestyle is given to families of all places and times as Good News for their salvation.

Announcing the Gospel of Nazareth, we join Jesus so that the virtues and examples of the Holy Family be the way, truth and life for personal and human family growth in ties of love and life until we all reach “unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect man fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself” (Ephesians 4:13).

Proposing the Holy Family as a school of the Gospel for all families, we sow in them the principle of “the new human condition” (Ephesians 4:23-24) that began and grew in the Holy Family of Nazareth, so that on assuming the lifestyle and communion of that Holy Family, all families and the whole of society can be renewed from their common roots according to God’s plan.

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, #8: Roots of Our Apostolic Mission

The Sons of the Holy Family understand the mission which we have inherited from Saint Joseph Manyanet to honor especially the Holy Family of Nazareth and to promote the formation of Christian families according to this example (Paul VI, Letter 11/III/1964).

Our religious consecration shapes our own call, identity and mission within the Church. Accordingly, we take part in the mission of Christ in a very specific way and we continue his presence in our midst: He “chose to share the community of humankind, living in a family; he sanctified the love of spouses with his presence in the home; he welcomed children and blessed them affectionately and, subject to Joseph and Mary, began in the humble toil of Nazareth the work of salvation which, obedient unto death, he brought to fulfillment on the cross” (Constitutions 3).

Pastoral Plan of the Sons of the Holy Family, #5: Our Pastoral Answer

Confronting the great challenges of our time, we take very seriously the Lord’s command: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” The Church calls us to proclaim the good news from the Nazarean identity we received from Saint Joseph Manyanet, defined in the Constitutions and carried out through the tradition of the Institute.

Our pastoral service stems from our consecration and also from:

a. Our communion in an austere and humble life, imitating the Holy Family of Nazareth.

b. Our communion in prayer, visiting every day the house of prayer of the Holy Family of  Nazareth.

c. Our communion in action, announcing the values of the Gospel of Nazareth through our ministry to families, which finds its inspiration in the Holy Family of Nazareth.

The Lord Jesus, from the boat of Peter, continues inviting us to “put out into deep water.” Peter and the apostles trusted in Jesus’ word and cast their nets. We, faithful to the Holy Spirit, are called to do the same.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pope John Paul II canonizes 6 and calls for rediscovery of Family and Religious Life (L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope John Paul II proposed the rediscovery of the beauty of the family and religious life, when canoncizing six modern figures of holiness in St. Peter Square.
Among the new saints is Italian Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), a doctor, who at 39 decided to accept the risk of death rather than undergo treatment that would have aborted her unborn child.

Another saint is Joseph Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901), Catalan priest known as the "prophet of the family," founder of two religious congregations (Sons of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth), and a promoter of the Holy Family Temple in Barcelona, Spain. Of St. Joseph Manyanet, John Paul II said: "The Gospel of the family, lived by Jesus in Nazareth together with Mary and Joseph, was the moving force of his pastoral charity and inspired his teaching."

The other two saints were friends and founders of religious congregations. One was Father Liugi Orione (1872-1940), an Italian priest who founded the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Little Sisters Missionaries of Charity to assist the poorest, specially the disabled. The other was Father Annibale Maria Di Francia (1851-1927), one of the most importants spiritual figures of Italy at the end of the 19th century and early 20th. He founded the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus, and the Daughters of Divine Zeal.

Also canonized were Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858), a priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order, and Paola Elizabetta Cerioli (1816-1865), an Italian widow and mother of a family. The latter founded of two religious congregations for women, dedicated to helping families.

Saint Joseph Manyanet, bearer of a singular charisma

"Yet if we remember him today,
it is because he was the bearer of a very singular charisma
that allowed him to foresee in the second half of the 19th century,
the importance of the family"

His name was Joseph Manyanet Vives, son of Antonio and Buenaventura. He was born on January 7, 1833 in Tremp (Lleida, Spain), was ordained to the priesthood on April 9, 1959, and consecrated himself as a religious on February 2, 1870. He died in Barcelona on December 17, 1901, considered a man of God by those who knew him.

From his family he had inherited the legacy of meaning of duty, love for work and tenacity in the execution of his plans. His mind was clear and exact and he possessed a noble heart. During the course of the twelve years he collaborated with his bishop Dr. Joseph Caixal, who entrusted him with matters of responsibility on the diocesan chancery at Urgell and later in Tremp.

Yet if we remember him today, it is not only by these biographical data, but because as priest and founder of two religious institutes, the Daughters and the Sons of the Holy Family, he was the bearer of a singular charisma that allowed him to foresee already in the second half of the 19th century, the importance of the family.

He opened schools, wrote several works, and was a promoter of the temple of the Holy Family in Barcelona. Father Manyanet answered dutifully the call of God, and with loyal and creative simplicity he was father, brother, pastor and teacher for the families, the children and the youth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome to the October Assembly of the Sons of the Holy Family in Maryland

Sons of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
"A Nazareth in each home"

September 24, 2011.

Dear ............................................
You have been invited to take part in the October Assembly of the Sons of the Holy Family, to be held from Tuesday 11 to Thursday 13, at the Holy Family Seminary, in Maryland.

As an active collaborator in the evangelization and ministries that the Sons of the Holy Family carry out at Holy Cross Parish & School / Holy Family Parish & Santuario de Chimayo, your participation is important and inspiring for us. We count on you to be faithful and creative in answering God’s call to make a Nazareth in each home and a family of families through the parishes, school, shrine and missions where we all serve. As a matter of fact, we cannot be faithful to our spirituality and mission without you.

Your commitment along with your input, feedback, ideas, challenges, goals, are of extreme importance for the new evangelization in which we take part. For that, we are excited about having you with us. Together we will grow in understanding our spirituality and mission, always keeping in mind the families we serve.

Welcome to the October Assembly 2011. I am available to answer any question or hear any comment you may have. God and the Holy Family of Nazareth bless you and your family.

Fr. Julio Gonzalez, S.F.
Pastoral Delegate of the Sons of the Holy Family in the USA.