Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Vincent:
May the grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with us forever!
As the Church rejoices at the start of this “Year of Faith”, I am very pleased to write to you in this month of November as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. This is a time for us to pause and give thanks to the Lord for all the graces we have received through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.
In light of the “Year of Faith” proclaimed by Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, it is noteworthy that among the various proposals suggested during the recent Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization for Transmission of the Faith was one calling for promotion of pilgrimages to different Marian shrines throughout the world. In light of this, I would especially encourage our various shrines throughout the world dedicated to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to promote pilgrimages throughout this Year of Faith. Hopefully, the local Associations of the Miraculous Medal can be of great assistance in this undertaking.
The Synod of Bishops also encouraged people to celebrate this Year of Faith by studying and deepening their understanding of the documents of Vatican II, in this, its 50th anniversary. These documents continue to be prophetic today, calling us to embrace the world by our own witness of love. The gift of faith given us in baptism and strengthened by the Word of God and Eucharist make the transforming love of God our standard in the midst of a secular society.
To assist us in this endeavor, the Synod reminded us of the importance of our Catholic Social Doctrine and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which celebrates 20 years since its publication .Both Catholic Social Doctrine and the Catechism are key instruments for the New Evangelization, and were recommended by Pope Benedict in his opening address.
We are called to proclaim our faith in the risen Lord Jesus, and to show that through expressions of charity to one another, and especially to the poor and marginalized. The fruit of faith and charity is service to the poor; this message was clearly presented by the Pope. As the Association of the Miraculous Medal, we are encouraged to continue to evangelize with renewed enthusiasm. This can be accomplishing through prayer, service, and in the tradition of home visits, which occur over a month. Members go to one another’s homes with an image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to pray, share Scripture, and enter into a faith dialogue. The “Year of Faith” provides an opportunity for our Association to continue this tradition or to even start it up. It is a wonderful way for all of us to participate in the New Evangelization.
From November 3-4, The International Council of the Association of the Miraculous Medal met in Havana, Cuba, as mandated in our general statutes. In reports presented by different national councils, we had the opportunity to learn about the work of the Association. We also noted with regret a lack of information from some areas, which deprives us of knowing the wonderful efforts being made by other national councils.
In light of this, I want to encourage all Visitors and Visitatrices to make every effort to accompany this branch of the Vincentian Family by those you have appointed as moderators of the Association of the Miraculous Medal. By their efforts at animation, I am sure they will continue to find creative ways to bring the laity into roles of leadership that will strengthen our Vincentian charism.
This letter will also serve to inform you of the convening of our first General Assembly of the Association of the Miraculous Medal in 2014. Previous meetings held in 2001, 2005, and 2009 were not considered Assemblies, as the statutes of the Association were not fully in place. This First General Assembly will be held in Rome from November 17-24, 2014.
I thank you for your spiritual and temporal support of the Association of the Miraculous Medal, and in this “Year of Faith” and “New Evangelization”, I urge you to continue to do so. By our prayer and activities, we can continue the work of Jesus and Mary as instruments of evangelization.
Your brother in St. Vincent,G. Gregory Gay, C.M.
(Word Format AMM-27 Nov.2012-ENG)