Castel Gandolfo (Fides Service) – “In order to comprehend adequately the signs of the times and the task of evangelisation which you, Claretian missionaries, are called to promote and develop in various regions of the earth, great help may be drawn from the guidelines proposed by the post-synodal Exhortations addressed to the different continents. At the same time, in this epoch of change, the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte offers a fitting framework for apostolic spirituality focussed fundamentally on the person of Jesus”. Pope John Paul II said this to participants at the General Chapter of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). In his speech the Pope greeted newly elected Superior General Father Josep Maria Abella Batlle.
“Missionary service wherever you offer it, must flow from intimate union with the Lord who sends you and must be lived on the path of self giving even to the Cross, which He himself trod and mapped out for his followers” the Holy Father said. “This is a path on which you will be sustained, as your Founder said, by daily listening to the Word and participation in the Eucharist”. The Pope then remarked that the vast horizon of society shows “no few signs of a widespread culture of death” and that therefore the Claretians, reflecting on the theme chosen for their Chapter, “That they may have Life” – must realise that they are “sent by the Lord Jesus to proclaim the God of life”. Lastly the Holy Father joined the Missionaries in offering thanks to God for the many gifts he gives them (new vocations in Asia and Africa, new communities and missionary relations in various needy areas, the gift of the blood of martyrs) and he invoked the Lord’s blessing upon the entire Missionary family founded by Saint Anthony Maria Claret. SL (Fides Service 9/9/2003 EM lines 23 Words: 335)