Easter 2024

Circular Letter of the Prior General

He is risen - there is Hope!

To all the Brothers and Co-workers, members of the Hospitaller Family of Saint John of God

After our journey through Lent, we are approaching Easter, and I therefore send my Easter greetings to the entire Saint John of God Family and to all the families and guests being cared for in the Order's Centres and Facilities, praying that the Risen Lord will bring joy and hope to us and to the world. Happy Easter!

This is also the same message of hope that I offered you last Christmas for the celebration of the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem. That was at a challenging time because of the wars that not only continued to be waged, but were actually spreading, and also because of so many other states of suffering. In that newborn Child, however, was the seed of life, and therefore of hope.

The life of the Son of God has been unfolding ever since His birth, proclaiming in words and tangible deeds the new life offered to us. But not everyone has accepted or acknowledged that life, and fewer still have taken it up. This is also the case today. Indeed, His life ended in failure in people’s eyes, leading to His death on the cross. Everything we said and all our expectations at the time of His birth seem to have come to nought, leaving suffering to continue unabated in the world. It really does look as if there is no solution. Everything ended with the cross!

But it did not go like this at all. St Paul tells us, “hope will not let us down” (Cf. Rm 5,5). And the angel of the Lord confirmed this to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who went out early in the morning, full of sorrow, to mourn at the tomb of Christ: “He is not here, for he has risen… Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples… Galilee is where you will see him." (Cf. Mt 28, 1ss).

The God-Child who was born in Bethlehem and who died on the cross is risen and is keeping hope alive for all humanity. This is the news that should fill us with joy and help us to overcome the despondency which our bewildered humanity is experiencing, because the Lord keeps His word: His hope and His word are faithful and final (cf. Heb, 10:23) above, and in spite of, all the challenges and sufferings that our world is still having to endure today. The God-Child, the Risen One, is the foundation and the pledge on which our hope is pinned. HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL!  

As you all know, we are in our General Chapter year and our Saint John of God Family is preparing for this event which will take place in Częstochowa (Poland) from 15 October to 8 November. It is a most important event for our beloved Order, in which we are being called to listen to the reality of today's world and to the plight of those who are suffering, and the state of all of us, as members of this Family, and above all to the voice of the Holy Spirit, to discover what the Lord is asking of us today, true to the charism and mission begun by our Founder, Saint John of God, and especially  true to the Risen Lord, who is sending us out to bear witness to the fact that our Lord's promise continues to live on. 

There are also those among us who occasionally feel despondent, lost, and may even be feeling that perhaps the end is near. There will be times when we feel inclined not to get up to continue driving forward and sustaining the Order's project, the life consecrated to hospitality... it may feel that there is little future and above all, little hope. These are attitudes that emerge throughout the consecrated life and within the Church, as well as in society as a whole.

The joy of the Risen Lord is a wake-up call for the whole Saint John of God Family that fills us with hope. There is weariness, certainly, there are difficulties, but there is also life, the same life that we receive every day from the Risen One, who urges us to renew our strength and to fill ourselves with His light. We must welcome the General Chapter and experience it as the beginning of something new for the Order, for the Church and for the world. If we listen to everyone, and especially to the Holy Spirit, we will find new ways of responding to the new challenges we face today, even if this means purifying ourselves, leaving behind what is weighing us down and boldly embrace what is new. We will be able to give birth to the dream that Saint John of God began almost five centuries ago.

Hospitality in a changing world is the theme of the 70th General Chapter. All of us in the Order are called to foster and promote hospitality as a clear expression of the Lord's Resurrection, making ourselves neighbours to the sick and the most vulnerable people we meet, in order to fill people, the world and all the members of our Hospitaller Family with hope. The Son of God, the Risen Christ, is the foundation upon which we stand and the guarantee that never lets us down.  

I pray to the Lord of Life, the Risen Christ, that the General Chapter may be an occasion to renew the charismatic force of the Order, with the joy and boundless self-giving of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, and of Saint John of God, our Founder. I call on all of you to pray and to prepare properly so that the Chapter will rekindle the spirit and the life of the Order.         

The General Government and the entire General Curia Family wish you a VERY HAPPY EASTER! 


Brother Jesús Etayo

Superior General 

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