Rome, Italy. On July 1, 2023, a significant ceremony took place at the Chapel of the General Curia in Rome, inaugurating the Claretian Jubilee Year, the 175 years of spreading the flame of the Spirit, 175 years of its foundation.
Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, the Superior General, presided over the event, which was broadcast live on the iClaret YouTube channel and Facebook Page, enabling the entire Congregation to join in the celebration. México Province and Cameroun Independent Delegation provided simultaneous translations in Spanish and French, respectively.
At the start of the program, Fr. Henry Omonisaye, CMF, gave a detailed explanation of the celebration’s meaning and structure. Afterwards, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, provided opening remarks and led a prayer selected from the four prayers created for the Jubilee by CESC (Claretian Spirituality Center). A reading of St. Anthony Claret’s autobiography followed, which recounted the foundation of the Congregation.
During the event, Fr. Carlos Sanchez, CMF, provided an insightful explanation of the significance of the mural by Cerezo Barredo, CMF, located in the apse of the Chapel of the General Curia. He drew connections between the sending of the apostles and the mission of the Claretians, highlighting its relevance to the Claretians in line with Claret’s missionary definition. Furthermore, he concluded with a video featuring the “definition of a missionary” in four languages, prepared by the Lecco Community of Italy. The event also involved the reading of the biblical narration of the Pentecost from the Acts of the Apostles.
The congregation came together to reflect on the definition of a missionary, expressing gratitude and seeking forgiveness. During this reflection, they acknowledged four significant periods in their history: the foundation, missionary expansion, martyrs, and post-conciliar renewal.
Towards the end, Fr. Manuel Tamargo, CMF, outlined the different components and occasions that will take place leading up to the final date of July 16, 2024. He emphasized the upcoming Spirituality Congress, which is set to occur on July 7-15, 2024, in Vic, Spain, and encouraged all Major Organisms to get ready for the start of the Jubilee in their respective Provinces and Delegations on July 16, 2023. Then Father General imparted his final blessings.
During the ceremony, two distinct compositions specially created for the Jubilee were played: the Jubilee Hymn composed by Fr. Luis Enrique Ortiz, CMF, and the Definition of a Missionary by Fr. Marcellinus Onyeocha, CMF. These compositions were specially created for the occasion, and they added a solemn and reverent atmosphere to the event.
The inauguration of the Jubilee Year marked the beginning of a significant milestone for the Claretians, as they commemorated 175 years of their Foundation and looked forward to a year filled with spiritual reflection, celebration, and renewal.