28th World Day of Consecrated Life

Circular Letter of the Prior General

A Synodal Church in Mission

To all the Brothers and Communities of the Order

Dear Brothers,

On 2 February we shall be celebrating the 28th World Day for Consecrated Life throughout the Church and for this occasion I extend my best wishes to all the Brothers and to all the Brothers and  Sisters who work with us and share our mission. Once again I invite you to celebrate it by giving thanks to the Lord for the gift of Consecrated Life which He gives continually to the Church and in particular to the Brothers who belong to our Order.

For last year's World Day, I spoke about Synodality as the theme around which we were preparing for the Synod. As you know, on this occasion the Synod is to hold two sessions - the first session held in October 2023 and the second one to be held in October this year, 2024. We can therefore say that we are right at the heart of the Synod, and the Church is calling on us to continue praying and preparing for the second phase, journeying together as the whole Church, the People of God, of which consecrated life is an important part.  

a)  The first session concluded with the publication of a Synthesis Report entitled "A Synodal Church in Mission" with a series of very important points and themes for further reflection, which will be continued in this year's second session. The synodal approach represents the future of the Church, and this was a conviction expressed in the first session. Accordingly, the entire Synthesis Document gathers together the points of convergence, the issues to be addressed and the proposals to be discerned concerning 20 fundamental themes in the life of the Church. One of them concerns Consecrated Life. It is the tenth point, incorporated into the second part of the text: All disciples, all missionaries. Here are some of the most interesting points in this section:    

b)  Throughout the centuries, the Church has always experienced the gift of charisms, thanks to which the Holy Spirit rejuvenates and renews her, ranging from the most extraordinary to the simplest and most widespread. The Holy People of God joyfully and gratefully recognises them as providential gifts by which God himself sustains, guides and enlightens their mission.

c)   One particular manifestation of the charismatic dimension of the Church is the consecrated life, with the wealth and variety of the forms it takes. Its witness has always contributed to the renewal of the life of the ecclesial community, revealing itself as an antidote to the frequent temptation to worldliness. The different Religious families display the beauty of following the Lord on the mountain of prayer and on the roads of the world, in forms of community life, in the solitude of the desert and on the frontiers of cultural challenges. Consecrated life has not infrequently has been the first to sense the changes of history and to welcome the promptings of the Holy Spirit: today too, the Church needs its prophecy. The Christian community also looks closely and gratefully at the well-tried and tested practices of synodal life and discernment in common which communities of consecrated life have matured over the centuries. From them too we can learn the wisdom of journeying together. Many Congregations and Institutes also practise conversation in the Spirit or similar forms of discernment in the course of Provincial and General Chapters, in order to renew structures, to rethink lifestyles, to implement new forms of service and closeness to the poor. In other cases, however, we find the survival of an authoritarian style which leaves no room for fraternal dialogue.

d)  With the same gratitude, the people of God recognise the ferments of renewal present in communities with a long history and in the blossoming of new experiences of ecclesial movements. Lay associations, ecclesial movements and new communities are a precious sign of the maturing co-responsibility of all baptised Christians. Their value lies in their promotion of communion between the different vocations, in the momentum with which they proclaim the Gospel, in their closeness to those who are economically or socially marginalised, and in their commitment to promoting the common good.

e)   Cases of abuse of various kinds, which damage consecrated persons and members of lay associations, point to a problem with the exercise of authority and require decisive and appropriate intervention.

f)   There are many areas in which the formation of the People of God is being provided. In addition to theological formation, there is formation in a number of specific tasks: exercising co-responsibility, listening, discernment, ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, service to the poor and care for our common home, engagement as "digital missionaries", facilitating discernment processes and conversation in the Spirit, consensus-building and conflict resolution. Special attention should be given to the catechetical formation of children and young people, which should involve the active participation of the whole community (point 14 on formation). In this regard, I would like to point you to a website where formation materials on all of these issues are available in several languages: https://formaciononline.bc.edu

These are just a few points gleaned from the rich Summary of the first session, which I invite you to read, reflect on and share in community.

As you know, in October we shall be celebrating our 70th General Chapter in Częstochowa, Poland. We want it to be a synodal experience in keeping with what the Church is inviting us to do. Bearing this in mind, we are preparing for it, and we urge all of you to take part in the preparatory groups which are being formed in the Provinces. I invite the entire Hospitaller Family of Saint John of God to pray that the General Chapter will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and that it will bear the fruits we desire.

With my very best wishes to all the Brothers and Sisters who form part of our Family of Saint John of God on the gift of our vocation. Let us experience it with joy and give thanks to God for it! 

United in the Lord and in Saint John of God, I send you my fraternal and hospitaller best wishes.


Brother Jesús Etayo

Superior General


Salva questo testoSegnala ad un amicoStampaTorna alla pagina precedenteTorna alla home page