The Message of the Superior General on the Feast of St Anthony Mary Claret 2022

Oct 22, 2022 | Mathew Vattamattam, Noticeboard

Dear brothers:

Wish you a joyful celebration of the feast of our Founder!

Since the XXVI General Chapter, we have been using the term “dream” to refer to God’s design for our congregation in our times in fidelity to the charism of our Founder. The provincial chapters and assemblies held after the General Chapter made that “dream” their own and invited communities and members to look at themselves and their apostolates from the perspective of God. I, too, am challenged to ask myself what would be God’s dream for the superior general.

Even before the global pandemic was considerably controlled, both the human family and our common home were again wounded by the pestilence of war and global political instability, manifesting the fragility of human co-existence and joint problem-solving skills. It tells us how important it is for humans to learn to journey together on the planet, synodally discerning God’s Dream for the world.

We need to learn an art that was very much in the heart of our Founder to make the “dream” come true: the art of weaving. Claret learned weaving as a family trade (cf. Aut 31). It was not merely a physical skill but also a relational and spiritual art that served him as an apostolic missionary. Claret was good at weaving grace-filled relationships with his companions, co-workers, superiors, and subordinates. No wonder wherever he went, he weaved a network of relationships at the service of the proclamation of the Gospel. We know how he cared for his grandfather as a child (cf. Aut 19), was empathetic to the workers at the textile loom (cf. Aut 33-34), and cultivated long-standing friendships and fellowship with so many people all through his life (cf. Aut 60-61). His description of the community in Cuba depicts the fabric of relationships that he developed as a missionary bishop (cf. Aut 606-613). His autobiography is a narrative of a missionary life woven together with so many great souls as an evangelizing web of relationships at a difficult time of the Church in Spain and Cuba.

The credibility of our personal lives and the effectiveness of our community and ministry at local, provincial and general levels, depend very much on how best we weave our relationships with God and one another as well as how we pool together our resources and talents to fulfill the mission entrusted.  The antidote for many ills that afflict evangelizers today—such as clericalism, individualism, and worldliness – is empowering relationships in community and in ministry. Imagine how vibrant a missionary community would be when its members are good at weaving relationships and transforming differences into gifts, conflicts into growth moments, and treasures the gift of one another! One of the most important missionary skills we should learn from our Founder is weaving relationships that build missionary communities, pastoral and educational teams and councils, and networks that promote “the transformation of the world according to God’s plan” (cf. QC 43).

I invite you to take a closer look at this dimension of the life of our Founder during this feast so that we can knit together the congregational fabric of relationships and give witness to God’s love. On this feast day, let us make Claret’s prayer our own:

“O my God and Father, Grant

that I may know the Lord  and let know You and make You known,

that I love You and bring others to love You,

that I serve You and inspire others to serve You,

that I praise You and work that all Your creatures praise You.

Happy Feast!

Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF

(Superior General)


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