Marianists Urged On by John Paul II

Sends Message on Occasion of General Chapter

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 18, 2001 ( John Paul II encouraged the Marianists in their mission to evangelize, noting «that the waters of the so-called post-Christian era have nothing to give.»

The Pope addressed a message to Father David Joseph Fleming, superior general of the Society of Mary, on the occasion of its 32nd general chapter, being held in Rome from July 8-29.

The theme of the chapter meeting is «To Recreate With New Impetus the Missionary Plan of Our Founder.» The papal message, dated July 7, was written in English.

Referring to the beatification of Guillaume Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianists, during the Jubilee Year, the Pope pointed out the blessed «was born in difficult times» for France.

«He was a man who lived the turbulence of the Revolution, preferring exile and death threats to the forced concessions the clergy had to make at that time,» the Pope wrote, adding that Father Chaminade «never ceased to regard Mary as his hidden strength.»

Not only facing the Revolution but also the «no less pernicious threat of religious indifference that gnawed at the heart of Christianity, your founder demonstrated qualities of apostolic imaginativeness and boldness, which have their roots in genuine holiness,» the Holy Father wrote. In founding the Society of Mary, Chaminade endeavored to offer the de-Christianized society of his time «the spectacle of a nation of saints,» the Pope explained.

John Paul II then quoted Christ´s words to Peter, «Duc in altum! Go into the deep.» The Pope reminded the Marianists that they are «the wonderful resultant catch,» since the moment Father Chaminade decided to go into the deep.

«It would seem that the waters of our so-called post-Christian era have nothing to give,» the Pope stated. «We live at a time when many people cry for liberty, but resist truth; doubt, not only faith, but the very reason for their existence; insist on their rights, but evade their responsibilities; long for plenitude, but resist love.»

The Holy Father added: «In such intransigent waters, as sons of Blessed Guillaume Joseph Chaminade, you must lower your nets knowing that only Jesus can satisfy the profound yearnings of the human heart.»

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