Milan: January 1, 2006
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
TO THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL DIRECTORS OF THE M.M.P. :
At the beginning of this new year, I am spiritually close to you with my affectionate greeting of peace.
During this past year, the Lord has called to Himself Sister Lucia of Fatima and Pope John Paul II, who were particularly united to our Movement. Now the mission of spreading the devotion and the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the Church and throughout the world, is entrusted to the Marian Movement of Priests.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the gift that the Most Holy Trinity offers to humanity for its salvation, and to the Church for her complete renewal.
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary are formed the Apostles of the new evangelization. New, that is not in the sense that it is another one, but because the evangelization today must be proclaimed with new strength, with new courage, and with a new and absolute fidelity.
* * *
In 2005, I was able to take part in regional cenacles in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Italy, the Republic of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Scotland, Great Britain and Ireland.
With 35 flights, I visited 75 cities and presided over 95 cenacles, in which 58 bishops, 1600 priests and 510,000 faithful participated.
In Ireland I contracted bronchial pneumonia and had to spend a few days recovering in the hospital.
In Collevalenza [Italy], at the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] held in the form of a continuous cenacle, one Cardinal, 16 archbishops and bishops, and about 300 priests from the five continents took part.
I am very near to you in your generous commitment to the Marian Movement of Priests, for the spread of Cenacles among priests and faithful, particularly the family Cenacles. With affection and prayer, I am united in a special way to those who are living moments of great difficulty, because of grave illnesses or of spiritual and moral sufferings. The Immaculate Heart of Mary becomes, all the more, the altar upon which we are being immolated as victims for the salvation of the world.
I entrust, to the Will of the Lord and to the design of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the fulfillment of the schedule of cenacles which I have prepared for this year.
1. THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
In Collevalenza, from June 25 – July 1, at the Shrine of Merciful Love, there will take place the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] for the bishops and priests of the Marian Movement of Priests from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
I inform you of the following:
a) There will be room for all in the same house. Few laypersons will be allowed to attend, and only those who have a position of responsibility in the M.M.P.
b) I invite the priests to bring with them their surplus Mass intentions to be offered as fraternal assistance to those who find themselves in financial difficulty.
c) As always, address all inquiries and reservation requests to:
- Florio Quercia S.J.
Via Fagiuoli, 1
Tel. & Fax: +39 0586 211082
Tel. +39 333 6322248 (Personal)
Priests from the United States may contact:Rev. Albert G. Roux, National Director
St. Francis, ME 04774-0008
Tel. (207) 398-3375
2. REGIONAL CENACLES ABROAD:
My age and my precarious state of health prevent me from undertaking cenacle schedules that are too burdensome. Still, I propose to go from January 13 to April 5 to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and the Dominican Republic; on May 27 to London; on June 24 to Slovenia; and during the months of September and October, to France, Spain and Portugal, this schedule having yet to be determined.
3. REGIONAL CENACLES IN ITALY:
Bologna-April 20; Florence-April 24; Collevalenza-April 27; San Gabriel-May 2; Rome-May 4; Bari-May 9; Caravaggio-May 13; Genoa-May 16; Naples-May 19; San Vito-May 30; Padua-June 2; Loreto-June 8.
4. THE TASK THAT THE BLESSED MOTHER ENTRUSTS TO US
The task that the Blessed Mother entrusts to us priests and faithful of the Marian Movement of Priests, consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, is that of being the Apostles of the new evangelization. We must proclaim with new strength, with new courage, and with a renewed and absolute fidelity, the message that Jesus has entrusted to his Church. For this reason, we must be fully conscious of the obstacles that today oppose themselves to the announcement of the Gospel. These are: the relativism in Dogma; the naturalism in Sacred Scripture; the permissiveness in Morality; the lack of discipline in the Liturgy; the disobedience to the Magisterium of the Pope; the neglect towards the Eucharist; and religious globalism.
a) The relativism in Dogma
We are living through a profound crisis of faith that leads to an ever greater diffusion of the apostasy.
“There is a great uneasiness, at this time, in the world and in the Church, and that which is in question is the faith.”
(Pope Paul VI)
“Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching,” looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today’s standards. We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”
(Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, April 18, 2005 – Homily at Conclave’s Opening Mass)
As a result of this relativism that today dominates also in theology, there is spread the tendency to not accept the definitive character of the truth of the faith. Thus, a few of these [truths] come to be denied, and others are completely ignored.
“…you must announce to all, to the very ends of the earth, the Gospel of Jesus, in these days of the great apostasy. In the great darkness which has descended upon the world, spread the light of Christ and of his divine truth.” (To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons (TTP), Dec. 8, 1994, #533i)
Let us preach all the truths of the Catholic faith, especially those which today are no longer preached. Let us speak again of death, of the judgment of God, of hell, of purgatory, of heaven, of the Cross that saves us, of sin that separates us from God, of the obligation to live our baptism by following the way that Jesus has traced out for us in his Gospel.
“Spread my light, by preaching the Gospel of Jesus with force and fidelity. His divine word must be proclaimed by you with the same clarity and simplicity with which Jesus has announced it to you.” (TTP, November 15, 1995, #557f)
b) The naturalism in Sacred Scripture
“Jesus is the Truth because it is He — the living Word — who is the font and seal of all divine revelation. [Yet some] work to obscure his divine word, by means of natural and rational inter-pretations and, in the attempt to make it more understandable and acceptable, empty it of all its supernatural content. Thus errors are spread in every part of the Catholic Church itself.”
(TTP, June 13, 1989, 406 l)
Above all, we must defend the historicity of the Gospel and believe in the truth of the Word and of the miracles performed by Jesus.
“Often, a purely human interpretation is given to it [the Gospel of Jesus], an interpretation which tends to exclude any supernatural intervention whatsoever. How many of its events are thus explained as legends or literary forms! Never before has the great mystery of God been given such a banal and paltry interpretation. As a result of this, the faith of many has become extinguished, and grave errors are spreading more and more throughout the Church. You will remain in the true faith only if you will give your full assent to all that is said in the Gospel of Jesus. Announce it to the letter; live it to the letter. Be living gospels; and then, the plan of the Father will be accomplished, and the fire of the love of the Holy Spirit will purify this world…” (TTP, March 25, 1982, 243ghi)
c) The permissiveness in Morality
Because of secularism that characterizes the culture of our epoch, today there is a general tendency to justify sin, to consider it not as an evil, but as something valuable and good. To the concept of it being a transgression of the Law of God, there is substituted that of a legitimate satisfaction of the need for one’s own liberty. We must form the faithful to comprehend sin as a moral evil that consists in a violation of the Law of God and the rejection of his Fatherly love.
Grave or mortal sin deprives us of sanctifying Grace, separates us from the communion of life with God and, if this separation lasts until the moment of death, it leads us to hell. It is today urgent to preach the necessity of individual sacramental Confession for those who find themselves in the state of mortal sin.
Against the custom of receiving Eucharistic Communion even in the state of mortal sin, we must recall the faithful to the obligation of sacramental confession before they come up to receive Communion. (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 305)
Let us form the conscience of the faithful also to frequent confession, to grow in the life of Grace, and to be strengthened to conquer the insidious dangers of the evil one.
I invite the members of the Marian Movement of Priests to frequent confession that must, above all, characterize the life of our Priests, rendering them always available to the faithful who wish to have recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
d) The lack of discipline in the Liturgy
“It is lack of discipline to disregard with ease the norms which the Church has laid down for the regulation of liturgical and ecclesiastical life. Today each one tends to direct himself according to his own tastes or free choice, and with what scandalous facility are violated the norms of the Church…” (TTP, February 2, 1979, 169 l,m)
Therefore, I invite the priests of the M.M.P. to be conformed in everything with regard to that which is ordered in the document “Redemptionis Sacramentum” (“On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist”, March 25, 2004) Above all, I ask that you not participate in Concelebrations without wearing the liturgical vestments, and that you not follow arbitrary Eucharistic rites and prayers.
In obedience to what is requested by the Church, I invite all priests of the M.M.P. to wear always the ecclesiastical garb: clergyman’s or tailored suits for diocesan priests, and the proper habit for the religious. We must be recognizable as priests of the Marian Movement of Priests by the way we are dressed.
e) The disobedience to the Magisterium of the Pope
“My motherly Heart is wounded to see how the silence and neglect of my children often envelop the words and actions of the Holy Father, while he is increasingly struck and impeded by his adversaries…his very ministry is not sufficiently supported and furthered by the whole Church whom Jesus has wanted to be united about the successor of Peter.”
(TTP, February 11, 1979, 170 op)
“You priests, whom I am now gathering into my Movement to check this advance of Satan, you must, with the Pope, form a strong barrier. You must propagate his word; you must defend him, because he will have to carry the cross in the midst of the greatest storm in history.”
(TTP, August 28, 1973, 14h)
“Unite yourself, through love and prayer, with all the priests of my Movement, whom I myself am bringing to an ever greater love for the Pope and for the Church united with him. You must support him with prayer, with your love and with your fidelity. You must follow him, carrying out to perfection whatever he determines for the good of the Church. In this, be a good example to all.”
(TTP, October 17, 1978, 162de)
f) The neglect towards the Eucharist
Unfortunately, the Year of the Eucharist did not bring to the Church a new blossoming of love, of adoration and of reparation to the Eucharistic Jesus. This, therefore, is the task that the Blessed Mother now entrusts to the Marian Movement of Priests, because the Eucharistic Jesus alone must be the heart and the center of our new evangelization.
“I ask that there be once again a return to the practice of making everywhere hours of adoration before Jesus, exposed in the Most Holy Sacrament. I desire that there be an increase in the homage of love towards the Eucharist and that this become manifest also through evident but most expressive signs of your piety. Surround the Eucharistic Jesus with flowers and with lights; encircle Him with delicate attention; draw close to Him with profound acts of genuflection and of adoration.”
(TTP, August 21, 1987, 360r)
Let us instruct the faithful to approach Eucharistic Communion with a conduct that is always more dignified. Also, if they have the opportunity to receive Communion either on the tongue or in the hand, we can gently suggest to them to choose the form which is most dignified. And let us not imitate those priests who oblige the faithful to receive Communion in the hand, which often occurs.
Without the presence of Jesus, our work of evangelization would be vain, useless and fruitless, because “it is only Jesus in the Eucharist which will give to the whole Church the strength of a complete renewal, which will lead it to be poor, evangelical, chaste, stripped of all those supports on which it relies, holy, beautiful and without spot or wrinkle, in imitation of your heavenly Mother.”
(TTP, August 8, 1986, 330C)
g) Religious Globalism
In the face of the subtle and dangerous snare of a religious globalism which tends to make all religions equal, in these times the Church must proclaim to all the world, with the courage and the strength of her witness, to the point of shedding blood, that which St. Peter announced before the Sanhedrin: “For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one [Jesus Christ] by which we can be saved.” (cf. Acts 4:12)
He alone is our Redeemer. He alone is our Savior. Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the luminous Morning Star, who leads us to live the new day of his glorious return.
With the greatest love and the most complete fidelity, let us all follow Pope Benedict XVI who was given to the Church of these times, not only by the Holy Spirit but also through the suffering and the prayer of our most beloved John Paul II, who today is following and blessing us from Heaven.
He [Pope Benedict XVI] who has seen the Church “like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side…” (Station 9 of the Way of the Cross, Good Friday 2005) has been placed at the helm so that, in the tempestuous seas of these times, he can guide Her [the Church] with firmness to the secure port of the encounter with Jesus, Her Founder and Lord.
“…you must announce the closely approaching return of Jesus in glory, who will lead humanity into the new times, when at last there will be seen new heavens and a new earth. Proclaim to all his forthcoming return: ‘Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!’ ” (cf. Rev 22:20)
(TTP, December 8, 1994, 533 lm)
“The essence of the liturgy is summarized in the prayer given to us by St. Paul and the Didache: ‘Maranatha – Come, O Lord.’ In the Liturgy, the Parousia is already fulfilled, but this comes to pass by directing us toward the Lord who is coming, and precisely by teaching us to invoke COME LORD JESUS! It [the Liturgy] leads us to perceive, even today, his response and to experience its truth: YES, I AM COMING SOON! (Rev. 22, 17-20).
(Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, from Il Timone, n. 22, p. 40)
I entrust to you, who are the directors, the task of sending this letter to the members of the Marian Movement of Priests, so that it may bring to all my affectionate greeting along with my priestly blessing.
I await your response, informing me of your news.
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Your little brother,
Don Stefano Gobbi