Since the Novices are preparing for profession in our Congregation, they should take care to lay the foundations for a missionary life, acquire a knowledge of its main elements and begin to practice the evangelical counsels. For this reason they should cling wholeheartedly to Christ our Lord, especially in the mystery of the Eucharist, since they are planning to share in his life and ministry. Let them take the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first disciple of Christ, as their Mother and Teacher (CC 61).

Nothing is more important for the Missionaries, nothing more essential, than to be adorned with every virtue. Without them, their talent is useless, their voice ineffective and their work in vain: thus, their desires, and the main focus of their attention, must be directed to obtaining them. And since the year of testing is intended to lay the foundations for them, all, whether Priests or students or coadjutor brothers, will thus practice these most efficacious means with great care. (Fr. Founder, Rule…, n. 15).


I have the great pleasure of presenting to the Congregation, in the name of the General Government, the book Initiation into the Missionary Life. It bears the subtitle Manual for the Claretian Novice because it is meant to be a study guide that the General Prefecture intends primarily for the novices of the Congregation and has developed as an aid to their formation during the time of the novitiate.

1. It is in keeping with the other formation books that have existed in the Congregation for those who were being initiated into our missionary life. I am referring to the Spiritual Practices for the Novices by Fr. Pablo Vallier (1888) and The Instructed Novice by Fr. Ramón Ribera (1931). Both are discussed in the Historical Notes.

2. The study guide Initiation into the Missionary Life presents a summary of the main topics and formation suggestions that the novices in the Congregation must learn and assimilate during the novitiate. It is a teaching tool to faciliate the study, understanding and living out of our Claretian charism and of the vocation that goes along with it. Thus, every attempt has been made to make the contents of the chapters and appendices readily understandable. There has also been attempt to present a clear explanation of them and to avoid disputed questions and pedagogical ambiguities. Since it is also meant to be a formation tool to help novices to be initiated into the life of the Congregation, the contents have been developed with a decidedly Claretian orientation, making constant reference to the Fr. Founder and to the history and teaching of the Congregation.

3. This study guide is not an attempt to do away with the task of teachers and other collaborators and professors in the novitiate. These people must continue presenting more broadly and deeply the topics laid out in the General Plan of Formation, summarized in this book. It is essential to develop an appropriate methodology for using this book. Each novitiate will look for a methodology that is in keeping with its style, culture and uniqueness. Nevertheless, it must be an active, participatory and challenging methodology. In order to profitably assimilate the topics, the novices must be involved in them through reading and personal search, the taking of notes, group meetings, workshops, experiences, etc. The methodology must bring each novice to vitally confront the values presented, especially through reflection and analysis of their own situation in a climate of prayer and dialogue with the novicemaster. The manual is not simply a book from which to learn values; it is an aid for living the values of the Claretian charism that are being experienced during the time of initiation.

4. The study guide Initiation into the Missionary Life was initially developed with the participation of various formators and experts in religious and Claretian life from throughout the Congregation. Then, from among these collaborators, a committee was created made up of Frs. Manuel Mª Carrasco, José San Román and Jesús Mª Palacios, who worked in several sessions to give final form to the texts, develop the appendices and give a certain stylistic unity to the entire work. To all of them our sincere thanks for the service they rendered to the Congregation.

May the Risen Lord and his Spirit bless this work and make it effective with his transforming power and energy. And may the Heart of Mary, our Mother and Formatrix, help us to use it fruitfully so that those being initiated into the life of the Congregation may come to possess the spirit that animated St. Anthony Mary Claret, our Founder.

Jesús Mª Palacios, CMF

General Prefect of Formation

16 July 2002



1. Documents of Vatican II

AA Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem on the apostolate of the laity (1965)

DV Constitution Dei Verbum on divine revelation (1965)

GS Constitution Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the modern world(1965)

LG Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church (1964)

OT Decree Optatam Totius on priestly formation (1965)

PC Decree Perfectae Caritatis on the proper renewal of religious life(1965)

PO Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis on the ministry and life of priests(1965)

SC Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the Sacred Liturgy

UR Decree Unitatis Redintegratio (1964)

2. Papal Documents

2.1. Paul VI

EN Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975)

ET Apostolic Exhortation Evangelica Testificatio (1971)

MC Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974)

2.2. John Paul II

EEVR Essential Elements of the Church’s Teaching on Religious Life (1983)

PDV Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (1992)

RD Apostolic Exhortation Redemptionis Donum (1984)

VC Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (1996)

3. Documents of the Holy See

AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis

CDC Instruction Caminar desde Cristo (Journeying out of Christ) (2002)

CIC Code of Canon Law (1917, 1983)

DPVIP Development of Pastoral Care of Vocations in Paticulare Churches: Past Experiences and Projects for the Future (1981). 2nd Intenrational Congress of Bishops and others responsible for vocations in the Church.

IBI Pontifical Biblical Commission: Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1993)

MR Document Mutuae Relationes (1978)

PI Instruction Potissimum Institutioni (1990)

RC Instruction Renovationis Causam (1969)

RI Instruction Religiosorum Institutio (1961)

VC John Paul II: Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (1996)

VFC Document La vida fraterna en comunidad (Fraternal Life in Community) (1994)

4. Documents of Bishops’ Conferences

SD Documents. Santo Domingo (1992).

5. Writings of the Founder

Aut Autobiography

API Apuntes de un Plan para conservar la hermosura de la Iglesia (Points of a Plan to Preserve the Beauty of the Church, Madrid 1865, 260 pgs.

Cl El Colegial o seminarista instruido (The Instructed College Student or Seminarian), Barcelona 1861, t.2, 526 pgs.

CMT Carta al misionero Teófilo (Letter to the Missionary Teófilo, Barcelona 1858: EE 341-367.

CPP Carta Pastoral al Pueblo (Pastoral Letter to the People) (1853)

EA Escritos Autobiográficos (Autobiographical Writings) (1981)

EAE Escritos Autobiográficos y Espirituales (Autobiographical and Spiritual Writings) (1959)

EC Epistolario Claretiano (Claretian Letters)(1970, 1987)

EE Escritos Espirituales (Spiritual Writings)(1985)

PCle Pastoral al Clero (Letter to the Clergy), Santiago de Cuba 1852, 84 pp. And Appendix of 1855.

PSM “Monasterio de El Escorial. Plan de estudios para los Seminarios”: Miscelánea interesante (“The Monastery of El Escorial. Plan of Studies for Seminarians”: An Interesting Miscellany), 338 pp.

RCS “Reglas del Instituto de los Clérigos seglares que viven en comunidad”: Miscelánea interesante (“Rules for the Institute of Secular Clergy That Live in Community”: An Interesting Miscellany), Barcelona 1865, 338 pp.

RFCMF Reglamento para los Aspirantes, Probandos y Estudiantes de nuestra Congregación y sus respectivos Maestros (Rule for Aspirants, Those Being Tested and Students in our Congregation and Their Respective Directors), 1862. Published by the General Prefecture of Formation: Cuadernos de Formación Claretiana, nn. 1-2. Rome, 1987 and 1988.

6. Documents of the Congregation

1AP Decree on the Apostolate (1967)

1F Decree on Formation (1967)

1HH Decree on Brothers (1967)

1VR Decree on Religious Life (1967)

2RG Decree on Government (1973)

2VR Decree on Religious Life (1973)

AG CMF Claretian General Archive

CA Open Letter to the Congregation (1973)

CC Constitutions CMF (1986)

CCTT Constitutions and Texts CMF (1972)

CIA Codex Iuris Addictitii (Code of Additional Law) (1925, 1940, 1953).

ColCC Colection of Circular Letters CMF (1941)

CPR The Claretian in the Process of Congregational Renewal (1985)

CVD Claretian Vocation Diectory (1999)

DC Declaration on the Charism (1967)

Dir Directory CMF (1999)

GPF General Plan of Formation (1994)

IMW Initiation into the Ministry of the Word (1997)

IPM In Prophetic Mission (1997)

MCT The Mission of the Claretian Today (1979)

MI Decree on Non-Christian Missions (1967)

OMS Our Missionary Spirituality (2002)

OSG Ordo Studiorum Generalis (General Order of Studies) (1929, 1959)

PE Declaration on the Spiritual Patrimony (1967)

PAV Apostolic Process in Vic

PIB Informative Process in Barcelona

PIC Informative Process in Cuba

PIT Informative Process in Tarragona

PIV Informative Process in Vic

RDV Resumen alfabético de las disposiciones vigentes (Alphabetic Summary of Regulations in Force) (1897)

SW Servants of the Word (1991)

7. Circular Letters of the Superiors General

CF G. Alonso, Claretians in Formation (1990)

HMC A. Leghisa, The Heart of Mary and the Congregation Today (1978)

IP A. Bocos, Inheritance and Prophecy (1998)

MT A. Bocos, Missionary Testament of Our Martyrs (1992)

MVTM A. Bocos, Missionary Vocations for the Third Millennium (2001)

RCC G. Alonso, The Revised Constitutions(1982)

RMCF N. García, Religious, Missionary and Claretian Formation (1947)

TRMC A. Bocos, Toward a Renewed Missionary Commitment (1994)

8. Other Abbreviations

EsC Fr. José Xifré, The Spirit of the Congregation (1880)

OPML Our Project of Missionary Life I-II-III (Commentaries on the Constitutions)(1989, 1991, 1997)