VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the description of the Work of Nazareth 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: Work of Nazareth
Acronym: ODN (Opera di Nàzaret)
Also known as: Movimento di Compagnia (Compagnia)
History: ODN was founded in Reggio Emilia as a de facto association with a group of young people in the early 1960s who gathered around professor Giovanni Riva. As adults, they felt the need for formation and a mission which was more consistent with their new state of life.
While keeping their identity as a “Compagnia” in 1976 they took the name of Opera di Nàzaret. Since then the movement which has developed around ODN has also attracted married couples.
It received canonical recognition by the archbishop of Mexico City in 1989, which marked the beginning of its international spread.
On Aug. 15, 1999, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed its recognition as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right.
Identity: ODN sees its identity in the realization that without Jesus Christ man must consider himself to be less human.
Its primary purpose is therefore to ensure that everyone is able to find the face of Christ today, as mediator to the Father and never dissociated from his love for humanity’s destiny of happiness, in everyday life in the family, society, the workplace and day-to-day concerns, professions and environments.
ODN also encourages people to develop the experience of practical charity so that, by contributing to new social initiatives, they can meet the material and spiritual needs of people, places and times, following the paths of the One who “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
The spiritual plan of ODN includes prayer, formation and apostolic, charitable and missionary work.
The formation process, steered through regular meetings, is designed to study in depth the magisterium of the Church, addressing issues with a sociocultural impact, and to develop a comprehensive Christian education.
Organization: Individual members of ODN take part in the single universal experience, which is guaranteed by the center around the president. The geographical areas (regions — groups of nations — and within the regions — diocesan level groups) are not federated, but function both through catechesis and central instructions, and through the local promotion of the Christian community.
Wherever necessary, a group may also have subgroups. ODN is open to membership by adults of all nationalities.
Individuals normally live the experience of their region or their group, even though the center may exceptionally make it possible for them to have a different reference point.
There is one particular form for individuals committed radically to the spirit of ODN who live according to the evangelical counsels.
Membership: ODN has 500 members and is present in 17 countries, in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. In various ways, about 5,000 people take part in its apostolate.
Works: The members of the association, as individuals or jointly, or in cooperation with others, without involving ODN as such, promote civil initiatives and work to meet people’s needs, striving toward social peace, through such things as charitable or solidarity foundations, voluntary works, schools at all levels up to university, cultural and publishing activities.
ODN provides their officers with the support of its study center, to mobilize them to take on broader responsibilities in society, to urge them to undertake free and appropriate forms of coordination, and assist them to establish synergies with companies working in a communion economy, and to offer them ongoing formation.
Directly connected to ODN are “The Great Company,” an association of educators; “The Others,” an association of undergraduates; and “Le Domus,” an association of families managing youth residences.
Publications: Compagnia, a newsletter in Italian and Japanese
Web site: www.operadinazaret.org
Opera di Nàzaret
Via di Santa Maria Maggiore, 112
00185 Roma — Italy
Telephone and Fax (39) 06-4782-4763
© Copyright 2006 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]