En route to hear Father Julian Carron, the President of CL, Msgr. LoRusso and I were received in one of the Memores Domini, households, where small groups of men or women live their following of Christ in community and in consecration to the evangelical counsels (gospel values).
The Communion and Liberation website gives a description of this bold Christian witness in our contemporary world:
The Association known as Memores Domini ("Mindful of the Lord") unites the members of Communion and Liberation who follow a vocation of total dedication to God while living in the world.
The principal factors of the life of the Memores Domini are contemplation, understood as tending to keep one’s mind constantly trained on Christ, and mission, i.e., the passion for carrying the Christian announcement into the life of all men.
The Memor Domini "is a layperson who freely lives a life totally immersed in the world with total personal responsibility” (Memores Domini – Interview with Msgr Luigi Giussani) and commits himself to the mission by living his professional occupation as the locus of the memory of Christ, in other words, by making it an offering.
Associates aim at pursuing a life of Christian perfection by practicing the Evangelical Counsels “which can be synthesized into the categories in which the Church traditionally summarizes the imitation of Christ.
Obedience, in the sense that the spiritual effort and the ascetic life are made easier and more authentic by sequela (following, discipleship).
Poverty, as detachment from individual possession of money and things.
Virginity, as giving up a family in favor of a total devotion to Christ also in a formal sense” (interview cited above).
The Memores Domini – sometimes called the “Adult Group” – practice a common life in houses whose purpose is mutual edification for memory in view of the mission, sustained by a climate of silence, common prayer, and fraternal sharing.
The Memores Domini originated in Milan in 1964, within the sphere of the experience of Gioventù Studentesca ("Student Youth").
After spreading through various dioceses, the Association was erected canonically by the Bishop of Piacenza, Msgr Enrico Manfredini, on June 14, 1981. Seven years later, on December 8, 1988, the Memores Domini were approved by the Holy See, which recognized their juridical status as a “Private Universal Ecclesial Association.”
The Memores Domini are present in 32 countries, including Canada. On a recent visit to one of the MD households:
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A SMALL RELIEF SERVICE IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
While in Montreal, which is the headquarters of the Jesuit Province of French Canada and Haiti, I learned of the organization of relief efforts there, based on the grounds of the Novitiate where the water tower collapsed in the earthquake but the building suffered minor damage. Here is a report to the Jesuit Provincial by Pere Francois Kawas, s.j. on organizing efforts, in French, followed by a report from an American blog on relief efforts called "Project Rubicon". Updates in French are available on the website:
Je te communique le rapport de la réunion de notre comité d'urgence avec l'équipe du SJRM de Ouananminthe et de Dajabon qui a lieu dans la résidence Ignace de Loyola à Canapé-Vert.
1.- Notre plan se met en place et les chose commencent à se clarifier
2.- Les Jésuites d'Haïti interviendront dans trois zones et en partenariat avec d'autres compte tenu de la fragilité de nos structures et de nos ressources humaines limitées et sous le choc
3.- Ces trois zones sont les suivantes:
- Haut Turgeau avec les Clercs de Saint-Viateur
- Bas-Turgeau avec la paroisse de Saint Louis Roi de France (les Montfortains)
- L'hôpital de Léogane avec les Missionnaires du Christ Roi
4.- La cour du Noviciat servira de lieu d'emmagasinage de l'aide d'urgence. Toutes les mesures seront prises pour assurer la sécurité (police nationale, agents de sécurité privés)
5.- Une équipe se chargera d'assurer le transport de l'aide, du Noviciat vers les zones d'intervention
6.- Nous distribuerons des médicaments, de la nourriture (riz, pois etc.), de l'eau, des détergeants, des tentes, des toilettes mobiles etc.
7.- Une équipe de médecins sera détachée dans chacune de nos zones d'intervention. Ces médecins sont des Américains (de Loyola University de Chicago), des Dominicains, des Porto-Ricains (de l'Inforedes)
8.- L'aide viendra d'une part de l'équipe du SJRM du Centre Bono et des ONG's qui travaillent en Dominicanie, d'autre part du SJRM-Haïti et du SJRM-Rép. Dom.Dajabon.
9.- Une réunion se tiendra demain matin à 8 h am entre l'équipe d'urgence et l'équipe du SJRM pour planification et à 9h30 avec deux coordonnateurs des Zones d'intervention: le P. Garraud csv pour la zone de Haut-Turgeau et le P. Kénel Alphonse, Montfortain, pour la zone de Bas-Turgeau
10.- L'équipe du SJRM se rendra sur place pour aider au renforcement des équipes dans les zones d'intervention et partager avec elles leur expérience en matière de gestion de l'aide d'urgence
11.- Notre comité d'urgence, en collaboration avec le SJRM, recrutera à Port-au-Prince des volontaires: novices jésuites, jésuites, collaborateurs et amis des Jésuites etc. en vue d'une meilleure coordination de notre action et du renforcement des équipes des zones d'intervention
12.- Le comité d'urgence et l'équipe du SJRM interviendra auprès du Nonce apostolique et de l'evêque auxiliaire de Port-au-Prince, Mgr Lafontant pour aider l'Église à prendre la parole pour demande aux instances concernées de gérer l'aide avec transparence et de facon concertée. On demandera d'écrire une lettre et de la publier dans les media.
13.- L'équipe d'urgence et l'équipe du SJRM interviendra auprès des acteurs qui distribuent l'aide pour demander des informations et une concertation dans les interventions.
14.- Jim Boynton sera avec nous demain dans la journée. Il arrivera de Santo Domingo avec l'équipe de médecins de Loyola University. Il viendra séjourner pendant quelque temps à Port-au-Prince pour renforcer l'équipe d'urgence et aider à la coordination de l'aide qui viendra des États-Unis d'Amérique.
Je pense que tous les fonds recus devront servir à renforcer cette structure d'intervention. Un pourcentage de ces fonds sera versé au territoire pour aider les parents, collaborateurs des Jésuites et autres personnes qui sont frappés par le tremblement de terre.
Kawas Francois, sj
Délégué du Provincial pour les oeuvres et le financement
And from another Jesuit who lives at the Novitiate:
De temps a autres, la terre tremble et ça fait trembler la maison aussi. C'est effrayant.
Nous avons beaucoup de gens qui arrivent de la RD, des médecins et volontaires. Deux grands ''trailers'' viennent d'arriver de la RD. Nous avons démonté la barrière qui donne sur la grand route, les faire traverser le terrain d'en face pour pouvoir les faire entrer sur la cour du noviciat. Heureusement, que nous avons nettoyé le terrain d'en face. Nous espérons que les gardiens arrivent ce soir pour la sécurité, sinon ce sera dangereux pour nous. Mario Serrano est avec nous. Kawas vient de m'annoncer qu'il y aura une rencontre spéciale du comite et de nos partenaires prêtres et religieuses demain matin au noviciat.
Le Nonce Apostolique est venu nous visiter cet pm. Il fait ça pour toutes les communautés. un beau geste de sa part. Depuis mardi, il bouge beaucoup et essaie de consoler les gens. Il y aura des funérailles pour Mons Miot le 23 janvier.
Union de prière
Miller Lamothe, s.j.
Délégué du Provincial
The blog Blackfive has announced the launch of a collaborative rapid medical response operation of Jesuits and US Marine veterans to quickly get medical personnel and supplies into Port au Prince.
Jake Wood, a remarkable young US Marine military blooger (milblogger) and former University of Wisconsin Badgers football player, has established Team Rubicon for a joint medical relief operation with Jesuits in Port au Prince.
The operation is able to move more swiftly than larger, established aid organizations because it is privately-funded and overcomes three critical blocks in the flow of aid: security, lack of water, and organizational cumbersomeness.
Wood blogged his recent combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as Badger Jake at Jake's Life, which has now become the home of Team Rubicon. He also served as a volunteer in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
About the impact on him of Haiti's devastating earthquake he says, “My first reaction was, ‘Jake, you're not in the Marines any more, but you have a special set of skills. You would be ashamed of yourself if you didn't try to use them to help people.'
“Security is a critical issue in the aid effort that has not drawn much attention in the mainstream media. Team Rubicon immediately identified the need and are meeting it with veteran volunteers who are "security personnel who can sub as medics and medics who can sub as security personnel."
Wood recruited some of the members of the advance team from posting on Facebook. The advance team consists of another Marine combat veteran, two firemen from Milwaukee, and an interpreter from Haiti, Corinne Joachim-Sanon. She had been studying at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania when she learned that her home in Haiti had been destroyed.
Team Rubicon will marshal its medical aid convoys in the Dominican Republic and will provide security for them as they move to the Jesuit Volunteer Services compound in Port au Prince, which is reported to have basically collapsed.
The Jesuits have the most essential thing whose lack is hampering all relief efforts: water, which they get from a well on their property. Team Rubicon will establish its base of operations there.
The advance team is due to arrive in Port au Prince on Sunday to assess security and prepare the way for the first convoy of medical supplies and medical personnel from Chicago.
Jesuit Brother Jim Boyton, a former teacher at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, will guide the team to the Jesuit Volunteer Service compound in Port au Prince.
Blackfive writes, “The Jesuits are telling us that they need this medical team NOW.
Fellow Detroit Province Jesuit Jim Duns has posted a report from Brother Boyton on his blog A Jesuit's Journey.”
Brother Boynton stated, “At this point I will have no way to pay the teachers, and our Jesuit community has very little cash on hand, the only real currency now. The other thing is that people are now leaving Port au Prince in droves, and by the accounts, they are headed our way.
Team Rubicon is a totally privately-funded and volunteer-staffed operation of medical and military professionals working with one of the Church's most effective education and assistance organizations, Jesuit Volunteer Services. With additional funding from private citizens they will be able to do far more and respond much more quickly than larger organizations that are still gearing up.
Since Team Rubicon is working in collaboration with Jesuits, they deserve the support of Catholics everywhere and particularly those who are veterans and those grateful for the service of wonderful young men and women in the military in countries around the world.
Of the name of Team Rubicon, Jake Wood writes, “What's with the name? Simple. The Rubicon was a small stream that separated Gaul (France) and ancient Rome. On January 11th, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and it marked the point of no return.
“This Sunday, January 17th, our 4 man team will cross the Artibonite River, separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial medicine and supplies to the people of Haiti. Once across, we will be irrevocably committed to our task.”
Our prayers go with Team Rubicon, Jesuits in Port au Prince, and the suffering people of Haiti.
TWO MARTYR SAINTS
Today, the liturgical ordo allows optional memorials of two martyr saints from the third century. As they have been joined on this day for centuries, there are occasionally paintings of them together, as in this medieval painting. There is also a whole painting tradition devoted to Saint Sebastian.
Saint Fabian was elected bishop of the Church of Rome in 236. In 250, at the beginning of the persecution of Decius, he won the crown of martyrdom, as Cyprian bears witness. He was buried in the cemetery of St. Callixtus.
Saint Sebastian was originally from Milan. He traveled to Rome where the persecutions under the emperor Diocletian were taking place. St. Sebastian was martyred in 288 A.D. He is buried along the Appian way Ad Catacumbas. St. Sebastian is the Patron Saint of archers, armorers, athletes, ironmongers and soldiers.
The painting of these two martyr-saints is in the National Gallery (London). The website offers the following remarks on this painting (c. 1475) by Giovanni di Paolo:
Fabian, the sainted Pope on the left, and Saint Sebastian on the right, were both martyrs and they share the same feast day. Saint Sebastian was a Roman centurion who was discovered to be a Christian and sentenced to death. He was shot with arrows, but these did not kill him and he was eventually stoned to death.
Recent cleaning revealed the original upraised position of Sebastian's hand and forearm and some twenty arrows piercing his body, most of which had been painted out.
At the bottom in each corner is a kneeling Brother of the Confraternity of the Misericordia, a lay brotherhood which was devoted to the Seven Works of Mercy. The brothers, dressed in black with white veils, are holding what may be spoons used for collecting alms.
This is a complete votive picture - one promised and offered in thanks for the favourable answer to a prayer - and is probably one of Giovanni di Paolo's late works (born c. 1399, Siena; active 1417; died 1482).
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