The Superior General, Fr. Giorgio Nalin, sends his letter of participation and best wishes to the two association for the occasion.
Rome, 22 August 2007
To Members of the “Famiglie Rog” And “LAVR”
I would like express my warmest felicitations for the goal that you have reached during the 25th Foundation of your Associations and, at the same time, also my cordial wish so that you may continue the Rogationist adventure with renewed enthusiasm.
The first sentiment that I like to share with you in this occasion is that of thanksgiving to the Lord who has enriched the Family of the Rogate with your precious presence.
In the journey of spreading the charism of Fr. Hannibal in the Church, 1982 certainly assumes a particular relevance specifically because it marks the beginning of your Rogationist lay associative experience.
In April of that same year, during the pilgrimage in the Holy Land, the young couple Anna and Michele Giaracuni, inspired and guided by Fr. Nicola Bollino, concretized a formative itinerary that has matured in years. They made their promise, according to their marital state, to practice the evangelical counsels and obey the command of the Rogate at the Basilica of the Holy Sepuchre. This same spiritual experience was immediately communicated to other couples. They discovered the beauty and fecondity of a Rogationist vocation developed within the fundamental baptismal and marital vocation. Thus, the Famiglie Rog, that began in Bari spread in Italy, Brazil and the Philippines.
Contextually, in Naples, some young persons started to accompany, in associative form, the initiative of vocation promotion of the local Rogationist Seminary, animated and guided by Fr. Antonio Di Tuoro. The vocational group that has been constituted and has taken the name LAVR (achronym of Laici Animatori Vocazionali Rogazionisti) assumed the commitment to spread the Rogationist spirituality in the local Church. They do this by living their lives as vocation, collaborating in the pastoral vocational work and in the works of charity. From Naples, this experience soon spread, under the guidance of Fr. Angelo Sardone, in Messina and in other places of Southern Italy. It has characterized itself in the consolidated initiatives of pastoral work for vocations and the youth. This has developed in our Congregation a significant number of vocational corrispondences and has interracted with similar youth experiences.
For both experiences, the desire to grow and spread have been realized in significant formative spaces, constituting the central axis of your Associations, and in various forms of collaborations in the Rogationist apostolate both of pastoral and charitable nature.
We are dealing with a journey which is not exempted from difficulty. It has daily guided you to acquire an always distinct Rogationist lay identity and a consequent sense of belonging to the Family of the Rogate.
In particular, it seems to me that the intuitions that gave origin to your Associations have introduced our charism, with its peculiar richness of spirituality and apostolic dynamism, to the lay world characterizing and specifying itself in two fundamental and strategic areas for the pastoral activity of the Church of today which are the youth and the family.
The journey that you have completed in these 25 years, in the school of Fr. Hannibal and in the light of the charism of which He has been made herald in the Church, has made you intuit, discover and live the “Rogationist” dimensions proper of lay vocation according to your specific options in life. I believe that these dimensions (undelined in your Statutes) correspond to the “unexpected and fecund deepenings” of the charism which, according to the apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata (55) , are among the fruits of the prophetic sharing with lay persons.
Coherently, in line with this, you have offered during these years, together with the other Rogationist Associations, your qualified contribution in the UAR actively participating in the promotion of the shared journey doing the onerous and promising task of searching and expressing the “lay roads” of the charism in view of the definition of a united project for the Rogationist Lay.
On the oaccasion of your Jubilee, I renew the appreciation for the important commitment that you express, and, at the same time, I wish to confirm, from the part of the confreres, interest, attention and participation to your itinerary. While living inside our spiritual family the richness of the prerogatives of the Church-communion, we are convinced, as we have expressed several times in the past General Chapters, that the encounter with lay vocations who embrace the same charism is resolved not only in a major apostolic works but also in reciprocal growth.
I offer, together with you, praise to the Lord who made us grow in the sharing of the gift of the Spirit that we all received through our holy Founder.
Secondly, with you, I also desire to turn our gaze to the future that waits your Associations. Certainly, during this jubilee year, you are living in different local seats some commitments in which, remembering the roads traversed, you do verification, planning and proposals of commitment and of presence inside the Family of the Rogate as well as in the civil society and the local Church.
We need to look at the future with the attitude of trust and hope. In fact, the christian hope finds its way in the trusting and constant abandonment in the Lord Jesus, Master of the Harvest. The precariousness and limitation of our energies make us re-discover that we are still in the evangelical phase of the seed and the leaven (cfr. Mt. 13, 31-33) who, recognizing in ourselves the mysterious power, desire to grow and develop themselves. This, we understand well, will be fruit of a common commitment, that of yours, as Associations that proposes itself with intense and realistic dynamism of group and apostolic vivacity and that of ours, as a religious Community that intends to concretely be “qualified points of reference and centers of promotion of the lay rogationist associations, accompanying them in their growth with spiritual charity and involving them in their apostolic action”(Apostles of the Rogate, 43). Finally, it will be the fruit, above all, of the grace of God and the constant assistance of the Spirit which we want to insistently invoke.
This day, 22 August, the participation in the audience of the Holy Father Benedict XVI assumes a moment of special intensity. In the words which the Pope addressed to you: “Dear friends, continue with joy and generosity in your commitment in favor of vocations for special consecration, according to the examples and teachings of St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia” and in his apostolic blessing, that you received with the spirit of faith of Fr. Hannibal, we find again the certainty of the goodness of the journey that we are doing as good workers of the harvest for the ralization of the Kingdom of God.
I am addressing this wish to you with great affection in the name of all the Rogationists, for a journey that is more blessed by the Divine Superiors and sustained by the intercession of our Founder, St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia.
Fr. Giorgio Nalin, RCJ Superior General