Our fifteen day formation Program for the Young Pallottine Sisters from all over the world under the theme "Be a watchman of the dawn (Ps.130) and be not afraid to be guided by the Holy Spirit. (GE 34)" - has ended. However we believe that this journey toward holiness, which took place in the Eternal City of Rome, did not finish but has just begun and will continue wherever the Sisters will go… within the communities and hearts of others, in a known and yet unknown world.
During her conclusion our Superior General said: " May the joy of being together - with Pallottine Sisters from different continents and countries with whom we lived and prayed, worked and laughed, walked the streets of Rome – bring you strength and renewal, freshness of life and missionary enthusiasm. Rich spiritual experiences of faith, of mutual relationships, the encounter with our Founder, St. Vincent Pallotti and the Saints of Rome, and with different members of the Pallottine Family, of visits to unique places and churches, listening to qualified speakers and spiritual leaders, who transmitted you a deep knowledge on consecrated life and a call toward holiness, shall leave a vivid sign in your life and heart. Remember: " to whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Therefore, now it is time for you go forward, to proclaim the Gospel, to share your encounters with Jesus and to give witness that God is Life, God is Love. Sisters, do not be afraid to be holy!
The closing Mass of the program was celebrated at the shrine of the Founder in the church SS. Salvatore in Onda by Rector General, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam. In his homily he said:
"When the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience are lived in reality and concretely, consecrated life will never lose its shine and beauty. Radical living of the Gospel alone is the key to a joyful consecrated life and Christian life itself. This is also the unique source of authentic vocations to consecrated life (….). He continued: To you young sisters of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Catholic Apostolate, I wish to remind you to remain very faithful to the missionary dimension of the charism of your Institute. We all share the same Pallottine spirituality and charism but in a very special way, you try to live and realize the missionary dimension of Pallotti’s charismatic inspiration. That is something tremendously Pallottine because the specific characteristic of our spirituality is that we follow Jesus, who was sent by the Father to redeem humankind"
During a missioning ceremony each Sister received an individual blessing of the Rector General with the relics of Saint Vincent Pallotti; Sr. Izabela, Superior General presented each sister with a cross of Pope Francis.
With gratitude to all who gave their time, service, and shared knowledge during this Formation Program - the General Council says a hearty thank you.
Homily for the conclusion of the ongoing formation course of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters
SS. Salvatore in Onda, 25 September 2018
Our Founder, St.Vincent Pallotti is very happy to receive you this morning for the Holy Eucharistic celebration. To see so many young sisters from so many different countries in this Church of SS. Salvatore in Onda is a moment of joy for our Founder and for the entire Pallottine Family. Congratulations and thanks to our Mother General, Sr. Izabela Swierad, Vicar General and Formation in charge, Sr. Josephine D’Souza, and the other members of the General Council for organising this important formation meeting in Rome.
The short Gospel passage today tells us that whoever hears the Word of God and put into practice are my mother, brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh and hence whoever makes Jesus the Centre of their lives and concretely participate in His mission are truly his disciples. We who have consecrated our lives as Pallottines, following the spirituality and charism of St. Vincent Pallotti, are called to follow the life of Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father and continue his saving mission of life among our brothers and sisters around the world.
To you young sisters of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Catholic Apostolate, I wish to remind you to remain very faithful to the missionary dimension of the charism of your Institute. We all share the same Pallottine spirituality and charism but in a very special way, you try to live and realise the missionary dimension of Pallotti’s charismatic inspiration. That is something tremendously Pallottine because the specific characteristic of our spirituality is that we follow Jesus, who was sent by the Father to redeem humankind.
An essential character of the missionary is his or her intimate communion with Christ. Mission could neither be understood nor carried out unless it is rooted in Christ. A missionary is required to renounce both himself or herself and everything that he or she previously had, in order to be everything to everyone. That is why we say “Mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people”.
The sure way to a happy and fruitful consecrated life is union with Christ and a missionary and apostolic life flowing from such an intimate life with Christ. It is only by giving that we receive. The most frustrating experience in consecrated life would be when we try only for self-preservation, as individuals or as an Institute. Give until it hurts, like the poor widow of the Gospel. If we give only out of our abundance, we cannot expect much reward in return. When the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience are lived in reality and concretely, consecrated life will never lose its shine and beauty. Radical living of the Gospel alone is the key to a joyful consecrated life and Christian life itself. This is also the unique source of authentic vocations to consecrated life.
Therefore, having experienced a little more of the spiritual and apostolic greatness of our Founder, St. Vincent Pallotti in this city of Rome, may you leave for your own respective places of life and work for the Gospel. It was Saint John Paul II who exhorted the Church once to undertake a “renewed missionary commitment”, in the conviction that missionary activity “renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others”.
Pope Francis has challenged all communities to advance along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they are. He says that we need to be “permanently in a state of mission”. Let us listen to these remarkable words from Evangelii Gaudium (27):
“Let us not fear to undertake, with trust in God and great courage a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself”.
For this reason, Pope Francis has declared the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019. It is his hope that the love for the Church’s mission, which is “a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people,” will grow ever stronger in all of us!
Formation is for the whole life. It is a daily participation in the paschal mystery of Christ. That alone will lead to the pastoral conversion that Pope Francis is talking about.
Dear Sisters, God bless you all. Please take along with you the many good memories that you had in these days; they will sustain you in good times and bad times. Always remember: It is good to be a Pallottine! And it is good to be a Pallotine Missionary Sister. Amen.
Jacob Nampudakam SAC