“Called to live and share the joy of the Gospel” was the motivating motto of our 38th General Chapter celebrated in Valladolid (Spain), from July 17 to August 6. A theme that has facilitated a rich experience of spiritual discernment, of fraternity and of missionary impulse, which has helped us to discover the precious gift of joy that is born from the encounter with Jesus and his Gospel.
As the newly elected General Council, we have received from the Brothers of the chapter the trust and the responsibility to guide the Institute during the next six years 2019 – 2025. We are grateful for this confidence, while acknowledging the affection and support received these days.
Likewise, we want to make public our thanks to Bro. Juan Andrés Martos, for his generous dedication during these last 12 years of service to the Institute as Superior General. And with him, we appreciate the service of the outgoing General Council from whom we take over. May the Lord continue to bless these Brothers in their new missions.
We, Brothers of the new General Council, give thanks to God for wanting to count on our persons and we entrust ourselves to his goodness so that he sustains our weaknesses and makes our efforts bear fruit.
We are aware of our limits and of the need for constant conversion. We want to continue being instruments of the Lord and and let Him do his work in us. Today, more than ever, we welcome the words of Jesus: “He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit; but without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). “May our Institute be your work and not the work of men” was always Brother Gabriel’s wish.
We are convinced that community and fraternity sustain our vocational response and that family spirit is the vital bond that characterizes us. May we never forget this value that identifies us! Let us welcome into our lives the words of Brother Gabriel: “The spirit of corps and family contribute greatly, dear Brothers, to the joy, prosperity and strength of a religious Congregation.” To live today the proper values of our spirit and our Nazarene spirituality will lead us to be more brothers of Christ, more brothers among ourselves and more brothers of all men.
During the first week of the Chapter, Brothers and Laity, we had the opportunity to live moments of living together, of prayer and of discernment. Together we shared the listening to the signs of our world, the invitations made to us by the Church and the realities that challenge us. We also looked for the deep reasons for our joy, the calls we feel and the responses we can give. All of this gave us the joy of walking and looking at the horizon together. Our work resulted in a Guidance Document that we want to be the roadmap for the coming years.
In this horizon we have before us some concrete orientations of the Chapter such as the reorganization of the Institute for a better fulfilment of its mission and the development of the Project of Life, among others. Above all, we have the challenge of giving continuity to the evangelizing mission so that the joy of the Gospel reaches each child, each young person and each family. We count on the collaboration of the communities of the Brothers and of the entire Sa-Fa Family.
This journey is an opportunity to renew our enthusiasm and adhesion to a common project. The attentive reading of the responses to the preparatory worksheets for the Chapter, received from more than 100 communities and groups of all the Sa-Fa Family, make transparent the abundant life that beats in our family. Even so, we wish to improve and dream of new realities.
The Chapter expressed the need to consolidate a more participative and synodal style in the construction of our common project. It insisted on favouring co-responsibility, listening, dialogue and the contribution of all. As General Council, we welcome these invitations and we will try to do so as far as we are concerned.
These days we have had in mind the older Brothers of the Institute who have been faithful to their vocation as Brothers until the end of their days, with a testimony of generous dedication, often marked by great sacrifices. A great lesson for all. We thank God for supporting them to the end and we ask him to accompany them very closely.
We have also remembered the middle-aged Brothers who support with generous dedication the arduous responsibilities of the Provinces. We thank God for each one of them and for sustaining them with their strength. Together with them we know how to bring the good news of the Gospel to all and to be close to those who need us most.
We have felt close to the large group of Brothers in temporary vows who, step by step, are maturing their option of surrender to God as Brothers of the Holy Family. They sustain our hope and we welcome them as a blessing from God. We thank the Lord for his vocation and ask him to accompany them in their growth.
At the same time, the Nazarene Fraternities and all the Sa-Fa laity who feel united to the charism and mission of the Institute have been very present. It is an immense grace of God to be able to extend the family in the different cultures! We ask the Lord to support each one and their families on the path of good.
May the elder Brothers, middle-aged Brothers, young Brothers and lay Sa-Fa form one family, the Sa-Fa Family, united in the same spirit. May the Holy Family and the Venerable Brother Gabriel accompany us and bless us all and especially this Council which is beginning its journey.
Valladolid, August 6th, 2019
Bro. Francisco Javier Hernando, Superior General;
Bro. David Rasero, Vicar General;
Bro. Pierre Kafando, second Councillor;
Bro. Enzo Biemmi, third Councillor and
Bro. Néstor Achigar, fourth Councillor.