Weaving Hope: Celebrating the Jubilees of the Congregation of the Mission and the Universal Church

by | May 22, 2024 | Congregation of the Mission, News | 0 comments

Moved by prayer, clothed in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, pilgrims of hope

Two important celebrations are taking place before our eyes: two Jubilees (jubilees are always major events at the ecclesial level): special times of grace, forgiveness of sins and plenary indulgence. From April 17, 2023 to April 17, 2025, we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission. In the same period (2023 and 2024) the Catholic Church will celebrate the preparation of the Jubilee Year of the Pilgrims of Hope, so 2025 will be a year of blessings and joys– Jubilee of the Congregation and Jubilee of the Church.

The Congregation of the Mission will celebrate 400 years of history full of gratitude to God. From the afternoon of April 17, 1625 until today, the Little Company has been able to continue the Mission of Christ in many places. And we can say, full of gratitude to God: those who preceded us in the mission did it very well. The motto of the celebration of the fourth centenary of the Little Company is “Clothe Yourselves with the Spirit of Christ.” Some dimensions of our spirituality will be highlighted during the Jubilee: mission, prophecy and synodality.

Vincentian spirituality is marked by the dynamism of mission. Those who drink from the fountain of the mystical experience of St. Vincent de Paul within the Congregation of the Mission, regardless of the task they are asked to fulfill, are missionaries. “The state of the Missioners is one in conformity with the evangelical maxims, which consists in leaving and abandoning everything, as the Apostles did, to follow Jesus Christ and, in imitation of him, to do what is proper.” (CCD:XI:1).

Vincentian spirituality is profoundly prophetic by its very nature. In the present times, in which those who cannot offer anything of material benefit are discarded, this spirituality becomes even more prophetic and evangelical. Each Vincentian missionary, with his way of being, acting and living, in discreet, silent and fruitful work; in a life of poverty, avoiding the superfluous and opting for sobriety; in freedom from material things, free from the search for titles of honor and authority. They announce and denounce the anti-evangelical schemes.

Our spirituality is synodal; after all, we work together, hand in hand, with the profound awareness that the mission is not ours, but God’s. We live in communion of life, mission and goods. We live in communion of life, mission and goods. We walk together as brothers, in dialogue among ourselves, with the Vincentian Family and with the whole Church.

In addition to the thanksgiving celebrated by the Congregation of the Mission and the entire Vincentian Family movement, throughout the Church we are celebrating the Jubilee of the Year 2025, whose theme is: “Pilgrims of Hope”. The opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica is scheduled for December 24, 2024, the official opening of the Jubilee. The Jubilee shows us the great importance of this theological virtue at this moment in history. Without lenses of hope (and faith) it is impossible to read the complex reality in which we find ourselves. Hope does not disappoint (Rom 5:5). Pope Francis wrote to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, on the occasion of the Jubilee of 2025 that, “The next Jubilee could greatly favor the recomposition of a climate of hope and trust, as a sign of a renewed rebirth for which we all feel the urgency.”

The two years prior to 2025 are dedicated to preparing for the Jubilee Year. In 2023 the Church dedicated itself to deepening the teachings of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. And on January 21 of this year, the Holy Father announced the beginning of the Year of Prayer. Pope Francis wants this year to be dedicated to a “symphony” of prayer.

It is interesting to see how the themes fit together. First, of course, is prayer. Through it we will be in communion with God. Through it we will understand the Lord’s will. Prayer matures us. As a Vincentian Family, it might be interesting to try to emphasize our method of prayer more (Cf. Advent Letter to all members of the Vincentian Family – Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, 2018). Through prayer it will be possible to clothe ourselves with the Spirit of Our Lord. Through prayer we will also be able to proclaim the Hope of the Gospel, becoming mystics of charity and mission.

In times like ours, it is easy to spread ourselves thin in the countless activities of daily life, leaving prayer in the background. Doing and producing seem to be more important than communion with God. These are times in which ideologies (whether of the center, left or right) multiply and subtly permeate our lives… Sometimes they end up contaminating the clear living of our faith, and Christ loses his centrality.

Let us pray with great humility, without moralizing. May this time of grace in the life of the Church, and especially in the life of the Congregation of the Mission, help us to be men who are more committed to prayer. Men of communion with the Absolute. Free from so many ideological tendencies, may we rediscover the centrality of Jesus Christ, evangelizer and servant of the poor, every day. May we rediscover the beauty of his centrality in our life, vocation and mission, and may we clothe ourselves with his Spirit, becoming true pilgrims of hope.

Fr. Michel Araújo, CM
Source: Informativo São  Vicente, Província Brasileira da Congregação da Missão, Vol. LIX • nº 326 • Jan/Fev/Mar • 2024 • www.pbcm.org



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