The Sa-Fa Family

“The “Sa-Fa Family” is made up of the Institute of the Brothers of the Holy Family and the persons and associations that share its spirituality and mission in varying degrees of participation and commitment.

The Church People of God and the Church-communion promoted by the Second Vatican Council has been the key point for the development of a process of valuing each of the vocations and the complementarity between them.

The Exhortation Christifideles Laici of John Paul II invited to participate in the various charisms: “These charisms are given to individual persons, and can even be shared by others in such ways as to continue in time a precious and effective heritage, serving as a source of a particular spiritual affinity among persons”. “By a logic which looks to the divine source of this giving, as the Council recalls, the gifts of the Spirit demand that those who have received them exercise them for the growth of the whole Church” (no. 24).

The incorporation of lay people into the educational and catechetical works of the Institute has generated a process of progressively assuming responsibilities in the mission and a feeling of belonging to the institution in many lay people. Although this feeling is sometimes not well defined, it is perceived in the adherence to the distinctive elements of the Institute such as: the symbols, the feasts, the mottos, the style of relationship and management, the educational project, etc… A very significant expression which has been used for some years now is that of “common mission”. In effect, each member of the Sa-Fa Family, each group and association, is contributing to the mission that it shares with the others from its own possibilities and characteristics.

Some lay people close to the Brothers’ communities have shown an interest in living the spirituality proper to the Institute. This attraction for spirituality has developed as they have come to know more concrete aspects of it and closer to their own state of life. The interest awakened by the spirituality has been consolidated in a knowledge and experience of it.

The Constitutions of the Brothers of the Holy Family of 2007 made this observation: “The Brothers welcome as a gift of the Holy Spirit the interest shown by certain persons and groups in their charism. They see in it a call to live ecclesial communion in the complementarity of vocations. Their charism can be shared with lay people and priests, who are invited to participate, in various ways, in the spirituality and mission of the Institute”.

Brother Gabriel Taborin is the common point of reference as the Founder of the Institute, which he placed under the patronage of the Holy Family and indicated the “family spirit” as a way of life. Those who share the charism of Brother Gabriel find in the Holy Family the inspiration for their life and action.

In the Church one finds groups of religious Institutes and other associations that refer to the same charism. Sometimes these groups have been called “charismatic families” and have had positive experiences. There has also been an effort to relate to the Congregations of the Holy Family and recently to the Brothers’ Institutes with regular meetings and gatherings that are giving good results. This group is called “Tutti Fratelli” and has its own organisation.

The realisation that the Sa-Fa Family exists and is developing today is a reason for gratitude and commitment. Gratitude because “The charisms are received in gratitude both on the part of the one who receives them, and also on the part of the entire Church” (ChL 24). The Church itself is currently promoting the commitment to evangelisation and the movement towards the peripheries. “The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. These gifts are meant to renew and build up the Church. They are not an inheritance, safely secured and entrusted to a small group for safekeeping; rather they are gifts of the Spirit integrated into the body of the Church, drawn to the centre which is Christ and then channelled into an evangelizing impulse. A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character” (EG 130). The ultimate horizon is the building of universal brotherhood (cf. Jn 11, Fratelli tutti).

It is up to the Sa-Fa Family to foster its own spiritual vitality through “family spirit, fraternity, ecclesial communion and formation for mission”.

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