175th anniversary of the Claretians
In our Claretian family, this week marks the beginning of our Jubilee Year for the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the Claretian Missionaries (formally known as the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary). Our foundation began on the feast of our Lady of Mt Carmel, July 16, 1849 in the diocesan seminary in Vic Spain (near Barcelona). St Anthony Claret was joined by 5 other diocesan priests (Frs. Stephen Sala, Joseph Xifre, Manuel Vilaro, Domingo Fabregas, and Jaime Clotet) who had hearts for evangelization in a time when Spain and many parts of Europe were restricting the activities and movement of the Church.
Our Congregation was founded in a time not unlike what we experience today. Even though Spain had strong Catholic/Christian roots as we do, the secularist culture was making deep inroads into the population. There was also like today a concerted effort by some in government to diminish the role of the Church by enacting restrictive laws: in our time the push for state-funded abortions in our hospitals is one example while St Anthony faced a time where Religious Orders (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc) had been expelled from his country. Lastly, both cultures saw the youth running after the latest ideas (ours with technology, theirs with Republicanism- a movement not to be confused with our republican party but a group dedicated to the end of the monarchy at all costs)
I believe this jubilee comes to us at the most opportune time in the life of our country and in our Church. For the last two years Bishop Rice has begun our efforts to address the need for a new way to move forward in our diocese. Declining participation in the life of the Church future of our diocese and our Church. I believe, much like St Anthony Claret, the way forward out of our dilemma with be with the zeal of hearts on fire for the love of God, what he called evangelization.
To aid us we have begun this year with a much greater Claretian presence here at Sacred Heart. We are blessed to have a community of 5 Claretians, myself, Br Manolo Benavides, cmf, Fr Jose Marino Novoa, cmf, seminarian David Gutierrez, cmf, and Fr Bibin Matthew, cmf (who serves at Catholic Campus Ministry at MSU-Drury). With this new community, we hope to share more of our Claretian spirit and give you more tools to build upon the good foundation we have. We also plan to have Open House events at Villa Claret, our residence, to share more of our life and vocations with the Sacred Heart community.
St Anthony Claret knew the way forward in our life with God was evangelization and that is equally true for us. With the help of the Pastoral Council and the Claretians, we look forward in hope to the coming year and as St Paul told us hope does not disappoint.
With a heart for Mission,