CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
Here is the address John Paul II delivered on Friday to the participants in the general chapter of the Missionaries Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
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1. On the occasion of your Institute’s General Chapter, I receive you with joy and assure you of my spiritual closeness in prayer. I greet in particular the General Superior and the members of the Congregation’s new General Council, to which I wish good work in its difficult assignment.
I thank all of you for the affection you show the Successor of Peter, which I cordially return, and with greater reason because of the devotion I feel for your founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, as well as for the esteem I feel for your Congregation, at once Marian and missionary.
2. “Witnesses of Hope” is the theme of this Chapter meeting, in continuity with the preceding. With the whole Church, you have entered the new millennium with the sign of hope, and from this perspective you want to continue your journey, trusting in Divine Providence. Your presence, animated by genuine religious and missionary fervor, must be a sign and seed of hope for those who are with you, whether in secularized environments or in contexts of the first proclamation.
3. I encourage you to persevere in the objectives you have set for yourselves, above all in a renewed fraternal union, in keeping with the will of your holy founder, who conceived the Institute as a family, whose members form only one heart and soul.
Today you are present with more than 1,000 communities in 67 countries worldwide, and this unity is a difficult challenge, but extremely important for humanity, called to journey on the path of solidarity in diversity.
In addition, I appreciate your reflection on the profound changes that are marking the congregation, whose center of gravity is moving toward the poorest areas of the world. This extremely significant fact leads you to update formation, distribution of personnel, forms of government and communion of goods.”
Make clear choices in virtue of the priorities of your mission. Among the priority exigencies is certainly permanent attention to the spiritual life in order to live an ever renewed fidelity to the original charism. It is God, who with the action of his Holy Spirit, allows religious families to respond adequately to the new exigencies, by taking recourse to the specific gift that has been entrusted to them.
4. For all these objectives I invoke Heaven by the intercession of Mary Most Holy, for an abundance of light and strength. I ask her in a special way to watch over each one of you and your brothers with maternal solicitude, while I impart from my heart to all the Apostolic Blessing.
[Translation by ZENIT]