VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the message Benedict XVI sent to the 11th General Chapter of the Rogationist Fathers, which began Monday.
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To the Delegates to the Chapter Meeting of Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus
On the occasion of your 11th General Chapter, I wish to unite myself spiritually to you, who are living an event of grace: it is a strong call to return ever more to the roots of your congregation, to deepen the charism to then be able to incarnate it in the present sociocultural context, in the most suitable ways.
In these intense days, you wish to focus your attention on the topic “The Rule of Life, Expression of the Consecration, Guarantee of the Charismatic Identity, Support of Fraternal Communion, Mission Plan.” You intend to review and approve the constitutions and norms of your institute to adapt them especially to the new ecclesial sensibility stemming from the Second Vatican Council and codified in the current Code of Canon Law. Such a commitment is of particular importance, because it is about presenting to the whole religious family the reference texts to which everyone will have to conform their own experience of fraternal and apostolic life, to be an eloquent sign of the love of God and instrument of salvation in every environment.
May God bless your plans! To be fruitful you must faithfully preserve the spiritual patrimony handed down to you by your founder, St. Annibale Maria di Francia, who loved Christ intensely, and was always inspired by him in carrying out a prudent vocational apostolate as well as courageous work in favor of his needy neighbors. Follow his example and joyfully continue his mission, still valid today, even though the social conditions in which we live have changed. In particular, spread ever more the spirit of prayer and of solicitude for all vocations in the Church; be eager laborers for the coming of the Kingdom of God, dedicating yourselves with every energy to evangelization and human development.
The great challenge of inculturation asks you today to proclaim the Good News with comprehensible languages and ways to the men of our time, involved in rapidly changing social and cultural processes. Vast, hence, is the field of apostolate that opens before you! Like your founder, give your existence to all those who are “thirsty” for hope, cultivate an authentic passion to educate, above all for young people, spend yourselves with a generous pastoral activity among people, especially in favor of all those who suffer in body and spirit.
To this end, I am pleased to repeat to you what I said recently, almost at the end of the Year for Priests: “Every Pastor, therefore, is a means through whom Christ himself loves men: it is through our ministry, dear priests, it is through us that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them” (General Audience, May 27, 2010).
Your congregation boasts a long history, written by courageous witnesses of Christ and the Gospel. You are called to walk in these footsteps today with renewed zeal to drive yourselves with prophetic liberty and wise discernment, on bold apostolic roads and missionary frontiers, cultivating a close collaboration with the bishops and the other components of the ecclesial community. The vast horizons of evangelization and the urgent need to witness the evangelical message to all, without distinction, constitute the field of your apostolate. So many still wait to know Jesus, only redeemer of man, and not a few situations of injustice and of moral and material hardship summon believers.
Such an urgent mission requires incessant personal and community conversion. Only hearts totally open to the action of grace are able to interpret the signs of the times and to receive the appeals of humanity in need of hope and peace.
May faithful adherence to Christ and to his Gospel shine in the various fields of your ecclesial service. May the Holy Virgin, queen of vocations and mother of priests protect you, help you and be the sure guide on the path of your religious family, so that it will be able to bring to fulfillment every good project.
With these hopes, while assuring you of my affectionate remembrance in prayer for each one of you and for your chapter, I impart to you my heartfelt blessing, which I gladly extend to all Rogationists, to the Daughters of Divine Zeal and to all those you meet in your daily apostolate.[Translation by ZENIT]