More than ever, mankind is facing serious problems of peace and justice. Not a day passes without hearing alarming news, disgusting situation that disturbs the quietude of people who aspire for peace and justice. Fifty-four years ago, the Supreme Pontiff John XXIII wrote in Pacem in Terris that “Peace on Earth—which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order ” (No. 1). This encyclical intervened in such a troubled context in the history of mankind. Sensing the imminent danger that lays before humanity, the Pope invited men and women to take into account the necessity of peace among all nations, the peace that is founded on truth, justice, charity and freedom. Aware that without peace nothing is possible, the Pope remarked from the outset, the importance and the urgency it takes.
As for justice, Peter’s successor strengthened as follows: «Relations between States must furthermore be regulated by justice. This necessitates both the recognition of their mutual rights and, at the same time, the fulfilment of their respective duties.” (Pacem in Terris, no. 91). This shows sufficiently that if we want our world to be really called a “common home”, to use the expression of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, it must model itself on these two great values: “Peace and Justice”.
However, some questions need to be asked. First of all, how can peace and justice be established in the world today? Secondly, how to establish peace and justice in the world? These two main questions will guide our reflection.
- Educating for peace and justice
Peace is not given once and for all, it is built. It presupposes an education to be effective. According to Peter’s successor, Paul VI, “Peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men” (Popolorum Progressio, No. 76). This presupposes education.
However, “to educate” – comes from the Latin word educere – means leading to move beyond oneself and introducing to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. Pope Benedict XVI in his message: “Educating young people in Justice and Peace”, a message launched on the occasion of the World Day for Peace in 2012, wrote: ” Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life”.
To the question of the place where true education for peace and justice matures, he first places the family. Since, he thinks that parents are the first educators. The family is the primary cell of society. It is in the family that children learn human and Christian values that can allow constructive and peaceful co-existence. It is in the family that one learns to respect the rules, forgiveness and the reception of the other. It is the first school where one is educated to justice and peace.
- Peace is born of justice for all
Peace is above all, a gift from God. We, Christians, believe that Christ is our true peace: in Him and through the cross, God has reconciled the world and destroyed the barriers that separated us from each other (cf. Ep 2: 14-18). Peace is also a fruit of justice and an effect of charity. It also passes through the proper distribution of common goods. For the unfair distribution of the common goods can only cause frustration among people.
It is therefore urgent for the politicians to improve the living conditions of people. The basic norm of the State must be in pursuit of justice. The aim of a just social order is to guarantee to everyone, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity, its share of the common good. A State which would not be governed by justice would be reduced to a large band of rogues, as Saint Augustine once said: “Remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia? (The City of God, IV, 4). Justice and peace are the goals and therefore the intrinsic measure of any policy.
Peace is not an already acquired good, but the goal to which all of us must aspire. No one can elude this essential task of promoting justice and peace. It is on the basis of this awareness that each one according to his own skills and responsibilities must mobilize his spiritual, moral and material forces to work for justice and peace.
Policies, on the other hand, need to improve the working conditions that are often not compatible with family responsibilities and ultimately make it difficult to provide children with the most valuable assets. Policy-makers must help families and educational institutions to exercise their right and duty to educate. Motherly and fatherly support should never be lacking. The Church must not be left behind; by its social doctrine, it must play its prophetic role to defend the rights of the needy.
In order to be truly a peacemaker and artisan of justice, we must not only educate ourselves on this, but we should be active vectors in the community without which the world cannot be human. The advent of a better world requires education in justice and peace.
Fr. Olivier Mulombo Sukisa, CMF
(Fr. Olivier is a member of the Independent Delegation of Congo. He was ordained in 2010. After his priestly ordination, he was assigned as vicar and econome at Pay-Kongila, then at Saint Ignace Masamba. Later, he was designated as administrator and formator at the Pere Claret Scholasticate in Mont-Ngafula Kimbondo (Kinshasa, R. D. Congo). Today, he studies at Pontificia Università Gregoriana (Rome, Italy) taking a specialization in dogmatic theology.
The Claretian Formation: Objective and Frame of Reference: The General Plan of Formation (GPF) rightly presents a pen picture of the entire formation process that we need to undergo in forming the new generation. It obviously speaks, “The current world offers us both new hopes and hitherto unheard of challenges that affect our formation” (GPF 43). The “current world” is the reference of the new generation. Alongside with the positive elements of “hopes”, it furnishes us with a caution. Although written 22 years ago, the GPF classifies the tendencies of the new generation under the different heads: the socio-cultural, ecclesial and Congregational situations (44-49). With the influence of media in the world today, there are no longer continental disparities in qualifying the new generation.
Let us explore and understand the context of this new generation. A generation is a theoretical construct therefore it is the continuity of human progress and development. In our formation centers, we get vocations from the new breed of the youth of today. They have lots of advancements both in up building and jeopardizing. The modern youth perceive the future based from career paths and planning. In addition to this, the concepts of the new generation revolve around consumerism, individualism, materialism and hedonistic interpretation of human existence. The distortion of human sexuality and freedom really enthrall the youth of our times and deviate themselves away from reaching near to God in silence. The Catholic community now modeled on diverse and at times, contradictory to the values and practices of the Catholics.
In light of this context, in discerning one’s call to religious life or to a ministry, it is extremely important to keep in mind that this particular vocation is primarily a calling to dedicate one’s life to the service of God. Nevertheless, it is much different from just deciding to choose a particular career. It is not just a call to do anything, to go anywhere, or to become somebody else; though these may be part of the response. To point out the process of discerning one’s call, it is an effort of both human and divine. It is to choose a state of being that expresses one’s best in response to God’s providential care and love. As such, it can never be undertaken alone since it calls for the interaction of two persons – the person of the discerner and the Person of God. Thus, this discernment is always within the context of one’s personal relationship with God.
Moreover, the Claretian Formation envisages among the new generation a revitalized formation process by growing deeper in our identity as missionaries, which is pointing towards our holy founder St. Claret, with his refined charism. In our formation centers we need to produce a new breed of consecrated persons who are spiritually prepared, psychologically and emotionally mature to face the challenges of the new generations for a constant and radical transformation.
The Claretian formative plans are rich in contents. But to re-shape this new breed of candidates who are presented before us according to the spiritual rootedness of our Congregation is a task and a challenge, a task wherein a formator should walk shoulder to shoulder with the formandi. Relentlessly, it needs personal accompaniment of the formator, and to take ‘rest’ on follow up is the loophole wherein we lose the formandi; a challenge wherein we need to be a Claretian formator and take, U-turn if we ever lost our specific identity. If we fail to address the realities and challenges of the new generation in their vocational discernment, we need to understand and, “acknowledge that we are still not full of fire that burned in the heart of St. Claret” (GPF 48). Therefore, the formators in our formation centers should be a life witness to the formandi, true sons of the Heart of the Blessed Mother. The world is fast changing, and we the Claretians need to move faster through our spiritual revival, encompassing the values and virtues that our Holy Founder identified as mandatory for his missionaries.
Fr. Siby Njavallikunnel, CMF
Prefect of Formation & Spirituality
St. Thomas Province, India
(Fr. Siby had been a Vocation Promoter and Prefect of Students for three years and was also an econome of the aspirancy community for another three years. He was once a parish priest before serving as school principal for thirteen years. Currently, he is the Prefect of Formation of St. Thomas Province.)
Darjeeling hills are known for its beauty. They are called as the queen of Hills. It is a pride of Dirnberger Niketan, Sonada to be part of this beautiful place on earth. The land is filled with beautiful landscapes, tea gardens, and magnificent valleys making every turn marvelous and refreshing.
As we heard the news of the visit of Fr. Leo Dalmao (General Prefect of Formation) and Bro. Carlos Verga (General Prefect of Vocation and Youth Ministry), we were filled with joy. It was a privileged moment for the community. With the presence of Fr. Leo and Bro. Carlos, we could feel the warmth and closeness of the Congregation. Those were the days of Grace, Joy and Privilege. In the words of one of the students “days of feeling one with the Congregation and…warmth and affection of fellow confreres”. The days were filled with the sharing of the Word, listening about the various works of the Congregation and enrichment of each one’s vocational journey.
The impressions of the students after the visit were as follows:
- The visit has instilled in us the spirit and joy of being Claretians.
- The simplicity and being active missionaries has inspired the students.
- The visit has deepened the brotherhood of one another.
- The visit has brought an inspiration among us that Claretians are happy missionaries and ready to go wherever they are sent.
- We were encouraged by their readiness to listen and talk to us.
- The visit has strengthened the feeling of belongingness to the Congregation. The aspirants felt that they were one of our community members.
- The students could feel the universal missionary spirit of the Congregation.
- It also gave us a lot of information about the life and mission of the Congregation.
- The sharing of their experiences as missionaries inspired us a lot.
Article Prepared by: Fr. Jojaiah Chinnabathini, CMF
Córdoba, Argentina. On March 11, in the community of El Tambo in Cordoba, the Claretian Franco Torres made his perpetual vows in the Congregation, accompanied by family, friends and companions in the mission.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Fr. Mario Gutiérrez, Provincial Superior, who invited everyone to reflect on God’s choice for the poorest, his chosen ones. He also talked about the permanence in love, the giving of life for friends like Jesus, the envoy of the Father. Likewise, the celebration counted on the joyful accompaniment of the music ministry of El Tambo, as well as of friends and companions of Franco.
At the conclusion of the rite of the profession it was announced that Franco was assigned by Fr. General to Congo.
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Córdoba, Argentina. El 11 de marzo en la comunidad de El Tambo en Córdoba, el claretiano Franco Torres emitió sus votos perpetuos en la Congregación, en compañía de familiares, amigos y compañeros de camino y de misión.
La celebración eucarística estuvo presidida por el P. Mario Gutiérrez, Superior Provincial, invitó a reflexionar en torno a la opción de Dios por los más pobres, sus elegidos. Asimismo se habló en torno a la permanencia en el amor, el dar la vida por los amigos como Jesús, el enviado del Padre.
La celebración contó con el alegre acompañamiento del ministerio de música de El Tambo, así como de amigos y compañeros de Franco.
Al concluir el rito de la profesión se dio a conocer que Franco fue destinado por el P. General al Congo, lo que fue celebrado por su disponibilidad misionera, que lo ha animado a asumir este envío misionero.
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