LETTER OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL
Via di Bravetta, 159 00164 Rome
RICHARD McCULLEN Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission
To our beloved in Christ Priests, Clerics, and Brothers
Greetings in the Lord
The approval of our Constitutions by the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes is a significant event in the history of our Congregation. It is now just 30 years since Father Slattery promulgated our Constitutions after they had been revised in the light of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.
Now after 17 years of work, reflection, prayer, and the deliberations of three General Assemblies, the Holy See has given its approval to the Constitutions which I am happy to present to you. Allow me to make one observation about our new Constitutions. The measure of our fidelity to the spirit and letter of these Constitutions will largely determine the measure of our contribution to the life of the local Church where the Congregation is established. Within the covers of this book our identity as a Congregation in the Church is delineated. We must not be content to leave that delineation on paper alone. The text must now be imprinted on our hearts and lived out in our vocation to preach the gospel to the poor. For that purpose much reflective reading and prayer of our Constitutions is called for and it is my hope, and indeed the hope of us all, that these Constitutions will be the means that will enable us more effectively to love what Saint Vincent loved and practice what he taught.
In receiving these Constitutions from the Holy See, our minds will go back to that celebrated conference, which Saint Vincent gave to his Community on the occasion of the distribution of our Common Rules on the 17th of May 1658. The hope that Saint Vincent expressed on that occasion can be ours today:
“We ought to hope for all kinds of favors and blessings from the goodness of God for all those who shall faithfully observe the Rules he has given us: a blessing on their persons, blessings on what they undertake, blessings on all they carry out, blessings of God on all that concerns them . . . I have confidence in the grace of God and your own goodness that all of you will on this occasion renew the fidelity with which you have observed them . . . I hope that the fidelity with which you have kept these Rules in the past and the patience you have shown in waiting for them so long, will obtain for you from the good God the grace to observe them still more easily in the future.” (SV, XII, 11)
In the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his Immaculate Mother, and with all my heart, I profess myself to be your most devoted confrere.
Rome, the 27th day of September 1984 The Solemnity of St. Vincent de Paul [Signature] Richard McCullen, C.M.