Provincial Superior's 2014 Circular n. 5

Dearest Sisters,

Lord, send out your Spirit, renew the face of the earth!” (Psalm 104:1) On this Pentecost Sunday, the “birthday of the Church” we repeat this beautiful prayer, invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, our communities, indeed in the whole of creation.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his early morning homily in the Casa Santa Marta residence chapel last Monday, June 2 said: “The Holy Spirit is always somewhat ‘the unknown’ of the faith. And yet, the Holy Spirit is God active in us and awakens our memory of how Christ redeemed us of our misery and sin. Without this memory, a Christian is not a true Christian, but becomes an ‘idolater,’ a prisoner of circumstance, a man or woman who has no history. To remember the grace of God is especially important, when, for example, a little vanity creeps in, when someone believes themselves to be a winner of the Nobel Prize for Holiness.”

Inspired by these words of Pope Francis, let us invite the Holy Spirit to help us ‘re-member’ the graces received in this half year that has passed, the special gifts of the Holy Spirit that have come down to us through the ordinary and special events, the annual retreat and formative session, the little surprises that have come our way as well as the struggles overcome and lessons learned in our personal, community and apostolic life. Let us thank the Lord for the continuous work of salvation he effects in our lives.

The month of June is also the month of St. Paul. In another homily of Pope Francis last June 5, he highlighted “St. Paul’s capacity for ‘being a nuisance’ — unsettling those who had become too comfortable in their faith and imbuing them with an apostolic zeal necessary to move the Church forward. Such zeal implies ‘an element of madness,’ but it’s a ‘spiritual madness, a healthy madness.’ He presented the figure of St. Paul to shake people from complacency: “Such zeal can lead to persecution, but even so, we cannot be “backseat Christians” (some also translated this as “couch-potato Christians”) cozy in our comfort zones. Such Christians, are well mannered, do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic zeal. But the Lord always wants us to move forward, forward, forward, and not take refuge in a comfortable, quiet life. Furthermore, apostolic zeal, which is not a zest for power or possession, comes from knowing Christ, principally through the heart and a personal encounter.”

As we enter the second half of this year, we ask the Holy Spirit then for the gift of piety that is, the grace of knowing Christ the Master ever more deeply, his presence in our lives, what he wants us ‘to be’ and ‘to do’ for him. We also ask for apostolic zeal, through the intercession of our father St. Paul, as we embark into the challenging modes of evangelization that come with our Eucharistic-priestly-liturgical mission. I also count on your fervent prayers and collaboration in the completion of the apostolic centralization in our province and the construction of the house and apostolic center in Taipei. We have scheduled as well the Enriching Liturgical Life Seminars in this second half of the year, first of which will be held in Cebu, with the collaboration of APC-FDM Cebu unit.

With the beginning of the new school year, we also invoke particular graces for our students: here in the Philippines, 4 temporary professed sisters and 4 perpetual professed have been enrolled in different levels; Sr. M. Carmeli will leave for the Pauline Charism Course in Rome on June 21. May the gift of wisdom and knowledge accompany them in this endeavor, and may they be given the grace to integrate everything they learn in their spiritual and apostolic life.

I assure each of you, especially those tried in body and spirit, of my fervent prayers and life offering and I greet you all with affection,

Sr. M. Gemma Victorino