Fr. Gobbi’s Circular Letter 2008 – English

Return to Letter Titles

Milan: January 1, 2008
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Ave Maria


Dear Brothers,

At the beginning of this new year, I am spiritually close to you with my wish of peace and holiness; I ask you to contemplate, with the eyes of Mary, our beloved and holy Mother Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus.

The state of interior laceration and of profound suffering in which the Church finds herself deeply wounds our heart of sons.

“Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. (…) The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them!”
(Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI,
Way of the Cross – Prayer for the 9th Station, March 25, 2005)

To us of the Marian Movement of Priests, as the little children of Mary and as the Apostles of the last times, is entrusted the task of restoring the Church to its greatest splendor, by living the second commitment which characterizes our Movement: that of unity with the Pope and the bishops united with him.

In 2007, I was able to take part in regional cenacles in these ten countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Italy with Sardinia and Sicily, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland.

With 36 flights, I visited 50 cities and presided over 95 cenacles, in which 45 bishops, 1500 priests and 400,000 faithful participated.

In Collevalenza [Italy], at the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] held in the form of a continuous cenacle, 1 cardinal, 20 arch-bishops and bishops, and about 300 priests from the five continents took part.

Nearly all of the Regional Directors in Italy have been afflicted with grave and painful illnesses. I am close to you with affection and prayer, in the carrying with you of this painful Cross, and I ask the Blessed Mother, with her maternal tenderness, to help you say your ‘Yes’ to the Will of the Heavenly Father.

I wish to inform you that the Cause for Beatification of Fr. Nazareno Lanciotti has been introduced. He was the National Director of the MMP for Brazil, who was murdered in Jauru in 2001. He can now be called “Servant of God.”

I entrust, to the Will of the Lord and to the plan of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the fulfillment of the schedule of cenacles which I have prepared for this year.


In Collevalenza, from June 22 – June 28, 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:

  • 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.
  • As always, address all inquiries and reservation requests to:P. Florio Quercia S.J.
    Via Carlo Marx, 1
    Centro San Francesco de Geronimo
    74023 Grottaglie (TA)
    Fax: +39 099 5635710
    Tel. +39 333 6322248 (Personal)
    Priests from the United States may contact:Rev. Albert G. Roux, National Director
    Tel. (207) 398-33752. REGIONAL CENACLES ABROAD:

    My age and frail health prevent me from taking on cenacle schedules that are too burdensome. Still, I propose to go from January 10 to March 15 to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile; on June 21 to Slovenia; and from September 10 to October 10 in the following African nations: Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin and Rwanda.3. REGIONAL CENACLES IN ITALY:

    Bologna-April 3; Florence-April 8; Collevalenza-April 10; San Gabriel-April 15; Rome-April 17; Naples-April 18; Latiano-April 23; Genoa-May 2; Turin-May 8; Caravaggio-May 13; San Vito-May 20; Padua-May 22; Loreto-June 12.


    “The Pope, Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Saint Peter, is the perpetual, visible source and foundation of the unity of the Church. He is the vicar of Christ, the head of the College of bishops and pastor of the universal Church over which he has by divine institution full, supreme, immediate, and universal power.”
    (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 182)

    In the book of the Marian Movement of Priests, “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons,” is indicated to us how to live our unity to the Holy Father Benedict XVI.

    a) Unity with the Pope in the Faith

    “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt. 16:18)

    “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Lk. 22: 31-32)

    The charism of Peter, which is handed on to the Pope (Petrine ministry), is above all that of confirming in the faith the entire Church – its Pastors and those entrusted to them.

    In these times in which there are taught and diffused so many errors which distance many from the faith, and in which there seems to have arrived the hour of the great apostasy predicted in Holy Scripture, we must be united to the Pope and follow his enlightened Magisterium, if we want to remain always in the true faith.

    “Today, as darkness descends upon everything and error spreads more and more in the Church, you should direct all people to that fount from which Jesus causes his words of truth to issue forth: the Gospel entrusted to the hierarchical Church, that is to say, the Pope and the bishops united to him (…)
    Today, how deeply wounded and afflicted is my Heart of Mother of the Church by the scandal, even of bishops who do not obey the Vicar of my Son and who drag a great number of my children along the path of error.
    And therefore you should at this time proclaim to all, by your words, that Jesus has made Peter alone the foundation of his Church and the infallible guardian of Truth.” (To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons (TTP), August 7, 1976, 106 g-j)

    b) Unity with the Pope in Love

    “ [Jesus] said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’, and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ [Jesus] said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ” (John 21:17)

    It is good to pause to reflect upon this episode, because it makes us enter into the mystery of the merciful love of Jesus. At Peter’s threefold denial, because of weakness, Jesus asks him for a threefold profession of his love. Jesus wants us to understand that the task which he has entrusted to Peter and to his Successors is above all that of being Pastors, and that this task can be exercised only as a service of love.

    In our times, how much the filial love for the Pope is diminished among priests and faithful!

    In these so very painful moments for the Church, the Pope finds himself alone, like my Son Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, to live through his hours of agony and dereliction. These are for him moments of profound anguish.(…)
    This is what I want the priests of my Movement to be in the Church: they must be friends, consolers and defenders of the Pope.
    – Friends, because they will fill his solitude with much love and prayer (…)
    – Comforters, because they will alleviate his abandonment and his suffering (…)
    – Defenders, because they will always be faithful to him and will combat all those who challenge and calumniate him.
    (TTP, October 30, 1973, 23 b-c, l-m, p-q)

    c) United to the Pope in Prayer

    “Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.” (Acts 12:5)

    The task of us priests and faithful of the M.M.P. is above all that of being united to Pope Benedict XVI with our unceasing prayer. For this reason in every one of our regional or family cenacles, at the end of the Holy Rosary we unite in a special prayer for the Pope, and entrust to the Guardian Angels the task of carrying it to him, so that he may feel all of the comfort and our help.

    “Pray for the Pope.
    How great is his suffering! Often it is as though he were being crushed beneath the weight of a cross which has become so very heavy. Humanity is hastening along the road of violence and hatred, of fratricidal struggle and war, despite his anguished cry, which he causes to go out to all in order to invoke peace.
    Pray for the Pope.
    How his heart is caused to bleed because of the division which is taking root in the Church, the loss of faith which is becoming more widespread, the errors which are being taught and propagated despite the courage and force with which he goes everywhere in the world to confirm all in faithfulness to Christ and to his Gospel.
    Pray for the Pope.

    He is living the hour of Gethsemane and Calvary, of crucifixion and of his immolation.” (TTP, May 13, 1995, 545 d-e, h,j)
    In the act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the priests and faithful of the M.M.P., we say, “Under your maternal protection, we want to be apostles of this sorely needed unity of prayer and love for the Pope, on whom we invoke your special protection.”

    d) Unity with the Pope in Obedience

    “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19)

    The “power of the keys” – that is, to govern the entire Church as supreme Pastor – was conferred upon Peter. To this authority to govern, given to Peter and to his Successors, the whole Church must respond with the duty to obey. The path of obedience and of humility is the one traced out by Our Lady to make the Church emerge from the profound crisis in which she [the Church] finds herself.

    “ …how much Christ suffers in his own Church (…) How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart.
    (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI,
    Way of the Cross – Meditation on the 9th Station, March 25, 2005)

    If Satan has seduced the Church with pride, Our Lady wants to save it with humility.
    For this reason we must live our commitment of unity with the Pope, with perfect obedience to all his directives.

    “You must support him [the Pope] 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, 162e)

    Above all, we must obey the norms which he issues to govern the sacred and divine Liturgy in the Church. Therefore I invite the priests of the M.M.P. to conform themselves to all that is set forth in the document, “Redemptionis Sacramentum” (“On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist”, March 25, 2004), and in the motu proprio, “Summorum Pontificum” (“On the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962”, July 7, 2007). I ask in particular that you not participate in Concelebrations without wearing the liturgical vestments, and that you not participate in arbitrary Eucharistic rites and prayers.

    In conformity to what is required by the Church, I invite all priests of the M.M.P. to wear always the ecclesiastical garb: clerical attire for diocesan priests, and the proper habit for the religious.

    In this way, by good example, we give our poor and humble contribution so that it may bring back the virtue of obedience in the whole Church.

    e) An Anguished Appeal

    We find ourselves confronted by a situation in the Church so dramatic that the Holy Father describes it thus:
    “…Lord, the soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you to the ground, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. (…)
    (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI,
    Way of the Cross – Prayer for the 9th Station, March 25, 2005)

    With the wounded heart of a son before Our Lady, who is grieved by an indescribable suffering in seeing the Church so divided interiorly, threatened by a schism that could be among the most insidious and dangerous she [the Church] has known in her history, it is on my knees that I address to you my anguished appeal.

    – My most beloved father bishops, be always united in obedience to the Pope.
    I ask this so that the Blood that Jesus shed for us will not be trampled upon, and so that our beloved and holy Mother Church will not be dragged to the ground by you. Be humble and faithful pastors.

    – My most beloved brother priests, be always more united to your bishops.
    Love them, comfort them, be obedient to them. May the bishops today feel the sincere and faithful love of their priests and let us thus be a help in carrying their Cross, now become so heavy.

    – My many faithful of the Marian Movement [of Priests], beaten down and bewildered in the great tribulation through which we are now living, be always united and obedient to your priests.

    Love them, help them, comfort them. When one of them falls, neither judge nor condemn him. Help him with your love, with your prayer, and with your good example.
    Let us no longer give Satan the occasion to laugh because, seeing Jesus dragged to the ground by his own Church, he is certain that He will not be able to rise again from this fall. But Jesus got up again because He is risen, and he will also raise up his Church.

    “…Jesus in the Eucharist 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)

    Dear brothers, soon I will be 78 years old. I do not know how long the Lord Jesus will leave me on this earth, even if I ardently desire to be united with Him.

    But as long as I am still alive, I will not grow weary of repeating to you: “All of you who belong to the Marian Movement of Priests, be humble, be little, be obedient, be faithful to the Pope and to the Church united to him; be apostles of Mary in these last times.”

    For this reason I conclude this letter with that which is written on the reverse side of the photograph of Pope Benedict XVI, in the 26th Italian edition of the book, “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”

    “Today whoever is not with the Pope will not succeed in remaining in the truth.
    The seductions of the Evil One have become so insidious and dangerous that they are succeeding in deceiving almost anyone.
    Here even the good can fall.
    Here even the masters and the wise ones can fall.
    Here even the priests and the bishops can fall.
    Those will never fall who are always with the Pope.
    This is why I want to make you a disciplined and attentive cohort, obedient and docile even to the desires of this first of my beloved sons, the Vicar of my Jesus.”
    (TTP, August 7, 1976, 106 k-q)

    I entrust to you, who are the directors, the task of sending this letter to the members of the Marian Movement of Priests, that it may be read and well meditated upon by them.

    To all of you, I offer 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

    Movimento Sacerdotale Mariano – Via Terruggia, 14 – 20162 Milano

    Official English translation
    U.S. National Headquarters