Attachment 1 to 2015 Circular n.2

Rome, January 29, 2015

 

 

 

Dearest Sr. M. Gemma Victorino, Provincial Superior

                   and Sisters of the Philippines - Taiwan - Hong Kong Province

 

Grace and peace to you all! The fraternal visit to the Philippine - Taiwan - Hong Kong Province was realised by Sr. M. Celine Cunha, Vicar General and Sr. M. Anetta Szczykutowicz, General councillor, from October 12 to November 20, 2014 in an atmosphere of listening and dialogue as well as joyful and festive welcome. They had the gracious opportunity to meet all the sisters and to know the realities in which our communities and apostolic activities are inserted. They also had the happy occasion to meet the bishops of the local Churches where we are present, and our cooperators and collaborators in the mission: the Friends of the Divine Master and the lay collaborators.

At the end of the fraternal visit, I wish to thank the Lord for each one of you and for your dedication and desire to grow in co-responsibility at the service of the pilgrim Church in the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Despite the many difficulties and challenges, the Province continues to grow and our mission develops. With you I thank God for His abundant graces and I count on each one for the journey of the Province, especially in building communities in communion and in mission.

After discernment the Lord has given us the grace to form the new Provincial Government for the period 2014-2017 to continue the journey started and to be open to the new challenges brought about by the rapid changes in our globalized world. We are in fact living an epochal change which gives us opportunities to grow in creative fidelity to Jesus Master and the Church, according to the Charism of the Founder, deeply lived by Mother Scholastica. With confidence I entrust you to the grace of the Lord, to the creative power of his word and the transforming energy of the Paschal Mystery.

The journey of the next three years is ushered in by significant events: the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines with the theme Mercy and Compassion which coincides with the Philippine Church’s celebration of the Year of the Poor and the opening of the ecclesial celebration of the Year for Consecrated Life.                      

This year, we will celebrate with the Pauline Family the centenary of the foundation of the Daughters of St. Paul. In April we will hold the international meeting of our formators in Rome and as foreseen in the program, the Intercontinental meetings will also be organized. Then, we shall start the preparations for the celebration of our 9th General Chapter which will be preceded by the celebration of the provincial chapters. We will proceed in line with the orientations of the Council of the Institute celebrated last year in order to qualify our life and mission as disciples and apostles of Jesus Master in response to new challenges of a fast changing world.

On August 25, 2016, your Province will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the PDDM presence in the Philippines, after the celebration of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu, Philippines on January 24-31, 2016.

All these and other ecclesial events invite us to face the challenges of the new evangelization and respond to them according our charism. This will entail redesigning our presences as communities and apostolic works, both at the level of the Circumscription and the Congregation.

Let us assume the events of history and, with one mind and voice, present them to God in prayer (cf RL 19) and let us live in the co-responsibility of communion and of service.

 

Members

I thank God for the richness of your persons which is the real patrimony of the Congregation, at the service of the Kingdom of God. Presently, there are 9 communities in the Philippines (with the closure of the community in Manga, Manila and the suspension of the community in SSP Silang, Cavite); 3 in Taiwan and 1 in Hong Kong. Your Province has 97 professed sisters, 12 of whom are of temporary vows. Of the 97 sisters, four are Chinese. The median age is 57,45. We also remember Sr. M. Josephine Sumobay who passed away in 2011 and Sr. M. Rosalba Tabag who is absent from the community to take care of her sick sister.

I thank you for the Filipina sisters who help in the mission of the congregation in the general government and other parts of the world: 2 in Italy, 1 in the Vatican, 1 in Australia, 4 in Canada, 1 in France, and 4 in USA. One sister is in Rome for the Charism course.

In the Province, there are three second year novices (Filipinas), 1 first year novice (Korean) and one postulant (Filipina). There are no aspirants but one Chinese young lady, Ms. Teresita Zhang, 36 years old, was in the community to experience our life and apostolate during the time of the fraternal visit. At present, there is another possible vocation from Taiwan, Ms. Paola Chen, doing her period of observation and discernment in your communities since mid-December 2014.

There is always the challenge to face the reality of diminishing vocations. The commitment to search for the causes of this phenomenon should concern all in much the same way as each one strives to revive the joy and evangelical quality of following Christ the Master, lived out in the community.

The pastoral care for vocations is a priority. We are all responsible to witness the "beauty and the actuality of our charism" (RV 48) to welcome and form new generations, to learn their local language and to open ourselves for intergenerational dialogue, Continue to be available for the exchange of personnel and other resources among the Circumscriptions, developing intercultural and apostolic formation, especially among the new generations.

 

Consecration

I thank God for your fidelity to the life of prayer, for your love of the Eucharist manifested in the Eucharistic celebrations and in the adoration organized in every community day and night, with the nocturnal hours distributed as agreed among the different communities. In general, the liturgical celebrations are well prepared. Continue your commitment to integrate prayer with life, sustained by the grace of the sacraments, persevering in a profound and assiduous spiritual journey illuminated by the Word of God and the daily liturgy. Remain steadfast in your faith and hope, especially in times of fatigue and difficulty, whether personal, communitarian or apostolic, renewing the motivations that animate our life and mission as Disciples of the Divine Master. Persevere in the ministry of intercession for the Church, for the world and for the Pauline Family, which has its source in the celebration of the Eucharist and is prolonged in the Eucharistic adoration and in a life spent in charity.

The social context in which we live generally does not promote fidelity to the values of religious consecration that is rooted in Baptism, expressed concretely in a life lived in community and in following Jesus Master chaste, poor and obedient. Individualism and the cult of one’s own person hinder our Christian commitment to “go out of ourselves” and submit our will in obedience to a common project, freely accepted. The serene and joyful testimony of a Christian life lived in chastity, poverty and obedience, freely chosen in response to God's call, is a prophetic sign which "wakes up the world" according to the indication that Pope Francis has given us in his Apostolic Letter for the year Consecrated Life.

Evaluate your personal and community witnessing of the vow of poverty and take it with a renewed sense of responsibility expressed concretely in living the five functions of the “Pauline poverty” (Cf RL and Dir 35). Be alert for the tendency among you to seek comfort. Examine yourselves on your sense of self-sacrifice. A lifestyle that is sober, hard-working, vigilant and full of gratitude for what is received from the community will certainly have its own moments of joy.

The severe economic crisis worldwide is caused by a more serious crisis of values. In solidarity with those who lack what is necessary we are impelled to be more conscious of the urgency to continually educate ourselves in the practice of justice, in sharing goods, in dependence, in transparency in handling money and things entrusted to us for apostolate and community life.

Value the many possibilities for on-going formation (RL 44) organized in the Province, in the local Churches and other ecclesial organisms.

Form yourselves in responsible and critical use of the new means available in this digital age overcoming the threat of individualism and the anxiety to be constantly connected (online). Evaluate the indiscriminate use of cell phones, in all places and at all times, unless it is a necessity for the apostolate.

Continue the formative program for the young perpetually professed and sisters of the Third Age that integrates the various dimensions of life. The presence of different generations is valuable especially when enriched through dialogue and mutual acceptance. The community and the mission are in fact the natural places for vocational ministry.

Continue to grow in a vocational culture where each one feels co-responsible in awakening, welcoming and sustaining the perseverance of one’s own vocation and of those whom the Lord sends us. We accept the test of the decline in the number of the members as purification and a chance to rekindle in us the gift received, with the desire to share it, convinced of the beauty and the relevance of our charism (cf RL 48).

 

Communion                                                                                                           

The lifestyle of your communities is generally serene. Renew the motivations for living in community founded on the initiative of God who has called us. It is much easier to resolve and overcome inevitable conflicts that arise in interpersonal relationships if they are handled with faith, respect and sisterly love. Compete among yourselves in mutual esteem, with humility and patience. Take care to avoid criticism. Practice fraternal correction by telling the truth in charity, and continue to build apostolic communities in the service of the Kingdom of God (cf RV 73) where there is continuous giving and receiving of forgiveness and acceptance.

The community project, the communal study of the Rule of Life and the fraternal meetings, done regularly, will help you to enhance the quality of community life (cf RL and Dir 65). Schedule quality moments to promote communion, recreation and sharing of life.

Continue the exercise of the communion of goods, fruit of Divine Providence and of your work. Thank you for your hard work done positively in the spirit of the Pauline poverty. We trust in God's Providence that guides the process of restructuring your Province especially in view of creating a future Chinese Delegation: the construction of the residence and apostolic Center in Taipei, the translation of prayer materials into Chinese, the production of vocation brochure in Chinese, etc.

The Provincial Superior and the sisters in the Government desire to put themselves at the service of the whole reality of the Province (persons, works and other ecclesial needs) in order to grow together with you in co-responsibility of communion and of apostolic service. The growth of the Province, however, depends on all.

Keep alive the communion and collaboration with the Pauline Family to sustain the vitality and unity in creative fidelity to the charism inherited from Don Alberione and lived by Mother Scholastica.

 

Mission

I bless the Lord for the many gifts He has given to the Province and the creativity of each one in carrying out the apostolate. I encourage you to continue the insertion in the local church where we are especially recognized for the service of liturgical animation and formation and the service to the priesthood. Prepare the sisters also professionally for the apostolate and take care of the quality of our productions and services according to the style specific of the Disciples of the Divine Master.

I encourage you to further develop the apostolate in all its dimensions: Eucharist, Priesthood, Liturgy. The forthcoming celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu will be a graced moment for you to direct your energies, together with God’s people not only in the Philippines but also in Asia and the world over, to make the light of Jesus Eucharist shine forth and enlighten the dark corners of peoples’ hearts and of the world. The challenges pronounced by Pope Francis during his recent visit to your country if responded well, could help you determine and activate the personal and communal resources to obtain good fruits in proclaiming Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life to the world around us, through the witness of life. In this way we participate in the work of the new evangelization, in communion and collaboration with the bishops and all the other ecclesial organs of the local Churches.

I encourage you to value the presence and the collaboration of the laity, to take special care of the formation of the Cooperators Friends of the Divine Master, also in apostolic aspect (cf RL 138) according to the indications of the Statute and the Directory for the Pauline Cooperators - Friends of the Divine Master.

Continue to promote collaboration among yourselves, growing in the ability to work in team and with a sense of belonging to the Congregation as a single body. Sustain the ongoing process of centralization in the administration and in the apostolate.

It will be appropriate to review the organization of the apostolate starting from the persons. May everything be established in dialogue with the sisters-in-charge in order to balance prayer, commitments of community life, on-going formation, health and the demands of the apostolate.

Strengthen the apostolic collaboration with the other members of the Pauline Family and continue to grow in love for Christ and the Church, attentive to the signs of the times, the new language and new questions of the society, with missionary openness to other Circumscriptions of Asia and the entire congregation.

 

Conclusion

I thank God for the vitality and the abundant riches that He has bestowed upon you in the life and mission of our communities in the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I entrust the new journey of the Province, in the co-responsibility of communion and of service, to the special protection of Mary, Queen of Apostles and St. Paul, apostle and mystic. Jesus Master repeats to you, as He did to our Founder: "Fear not. I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Be sorry for sins."

With the intercession of our Blessed Founder, Blessed Timothy Giaccardo and Mother Scholastica, I join you in praying the Secret of Success asking the Lord to multiply the fruits of our spiritual work, our study, our apostolate and our poverty.

Also on behalf of the sisters in the general government, I thank you for your collaboration and I wish you all a beautiful journey in this Year of the Consecrated Life lived in the joy of the Gospel, in watchful waiting for the glorious return of the Lord.

 

Sr. M. Regina Cesarato, Superior General