VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the description of the Teams of Our Lady which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
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Official name: Teams of Our Lady
Acronym: END (Équipes Notre Dame)
History: The Teams of Our Lady movement came into being in France at the end of the 1930s through a number of married couples who began to meet every month in each other’s houses under the guidance of Father Henri Caffarel.
Their purpose was to explore the significance of the sacrament of marriage in depth, to hold it up against their own experiences, and then to try to work together to live coherently within society as Christian families and couples. As more couples sought to join them, the movement was formally established with the promulgation, on Dec. 8, 1947, of the Equipes Notre Dame Charter.
The movement was created to meet a need felt by couples who realized that married life is a vocational pathway to salvation which is more than procreation; the teams seek to enhance their experience in the light of the Word of God by reading the signs of the times, and by reflecting constantly on ways and means of implementing the founding charism in different circumstances of history.
On April 19, 1992, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Equipes Notre Dame as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical right.
Identity: As a movement of spirituality for married couples, the teams comprise groups of married couples who wish to achieve holiness in and through marriage, gathered around Christ to help one another to progress in the love of God, to build themselves up in Christ and to place their love at the service of the kingdom.
The members follow a course of study that includes Scripture, the truths of the faith, and “apprenticeship in prayer.” This pathway, which is a means of verifying their fidelity to the Lord, requires them to take a dynamic view of Christian life, and introduces them into a dimension of ongoing conversion through mutual spiritual assistance, group sharing, frequent attendance at Mass, family prayers, the Christian education of their children, the spirit of outreach and welcome, and giving testimony to the love of Christ.
The teams’ method is based on the rule of life, which accompanies the path of ongoing conversion through a sequence of specific goals to be achieved; the two-day annual spiritual retreat which the married couples make to ask for the help of the Spirit to discern and draw up new life projects; the duty to sit down once a month, to enable the couple to speak to one another “before God,” as a special vocation to view each other through the eyes of the Father, and to allow themselves to be converted by what the Lord is asking of them through their spouse. The members of the teams are actively committed to family apostolate pastoral programs in the local Church, where they also cooperate with other ecclesial movements.
Organization: The Teams of our Lady are structured on a collegial basis. The international team has overall responsibility for the movement, and comprises married couples from different countries assisted by a spiritual counselor.
Each of the member teams is composed of between five and seven couples and a spiritual counselor, and they remain in contact with one another through a liaison couple. Teams in the same town (or geographical area) make up one or more sectors, and the sectors make up regions.
The life of the movement depends entirely upon the voluntary offering of time, effort and resources by the couples themselves. They work to develop the movement particularly in the geographical areas where large distances and low incomes are likely to cause a serious obstacle.
Membership: Throughout the world there are some 8,600 teams in 48 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania and South America.
Publications: Lettre des Equipes Notre-Dame, a periodical publication in French, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Arabic.
Web site: www.equipes-notre-dame.com
49, rue de la Glaciere
75013 Paris — France
Tel. (33) 1-43319621 — Fax 1-45354712
© Copyright 2006 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]