To Fr. Paolo Sottopietra
Superior General of The Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo
Dear Fr. Paolo and brothers,
I want to join you in your joy and heartfelt gratitude to the Lord as you celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo.
My first thought and recognition goes to Bishop Massimo Camisasca who, in close communion with Fr. Giussani, was an instrument through which God initiated the Fraternity in the Church. He not only accepted to be the founder, but has also been a fatherly leader and authoritative teacher for all of you, helping to shape the face of your priestly friendship until God called him to serve as Bishop of Reggio Emilia. I am certain that he continues to accompany you in the adventure of the passion for life that, through the grace of the priestly ministry, assists Fr. Giussani’s charism which has so fascinated us to spread throughout the world, in service to the universal Church and the Dioceses where you are called.
Your presence and mission represent an enthusiastic response to Pope Francis’s invitation to be a “Church that goes forth,” rediscovering and reliving every day that “first Grace” in the often delicate and difficult circumstances you face on mission. I know that Fr. Giussani, in his many meetings with you, repeated often the passage of the Second Letter to the Corinthians in which St. Paul sums up in a concise and vibrant way the foundation of the Christian’s self-awareness: “For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:14-15). The encounter with Fr. Giussani’s charism and the life of the Movement is the greatest grace given to increase this yearning that Christ be known today. As I told you at your vacation in Corvara, I am convinced that the Movement is a unique grace. There are few who are more fortunate than we are for what we have received. The more we risk with the encounter that happened to us, the more we become aware of what God has in mind for this historical moment.
My wish is that each one of you, rooted in the life of the Movement and the Church, and living the communion and unity of all in the Fraternity and in your individual houses, may be a privileged witness to the Christian people and therefore a creative protagonist, full of the intelligence of faith, a strong hope, and the ardor of love of the demands and fascinating task given to us by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on March 7 this year. He told us, “Centered in Christ and in the Gospel, you can be the arms, hands, feet, mind and heart of a Church ‘which goes forth.’”
I thank again Bishop Camisasca, Fr. Paolo, the superiors, and each one of you for the many fruits given by the Lord through you to us all in your first thirty years of life—remembering also, along with many vocations, the birth of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles. On behalf of myself, the Movement, and each of you, I ask for the grace that daily life increases as awareness of and affection for the experience contained in the motto of your Fraternity: Gloriae Christi passio, passion for the glory of Christ.
Fr. Julian Carron