Rome, 14 September 2018
Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
In the whirlwind of news over the last few weeks, I am writing to you with great trust to urge you to wholeheartedly and affectionately support the forceful and incisive words that Pope Francis addressed to the whole Church in his Letter to the People of God, dated 20 August 2018. In this letter, tinged with profound sorrow, the Pope asks for prayer, penance and fasting as a way of living the great torment afflicting the Church concerning abuses in every part of the world.
We are faced with a truly prophetic appeal to conversion. In fact, Pope Francis reminds us that “the extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way.”
His plea is pressing: we are called to fall to our knees, ask forgiveness and feel shame “when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite.” How true this is also in our daily experience! May the Holy Spirit enable us to fight every day against “all forms of corruption.” May he enable us to live in that continual “personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does, to be where he wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence,” to commit ourselves to the exercise of prayer and fasting to combat every type of sexual abuse and abuse of power and conscience.” This time of suffering for the whole Church can be transformed into grace for a renewed authenticity of life.
It has been written that if on the first evening of his pontificate Francis knelt to receive the silent blessing of the people of God, with this Letter he kneels to ask forgiveness.
As a Congregation, we want to welcome the words of the Pope with grateful hearts and become fully involved “in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.” And we wish to express to him, from the depths of our hearts, all our love, solidarity and closeness to him in this time of suffering. “If one member suffers, all the members suffer together” (1 Co. 12:26). Let us suffer together with the Pope; let us renew our communion and fidelity to his magisterium. Let us support with all our strength–in dialogue and in the exercise of our mission–the Project for the Renewal of the Church to which he himself, in the first person, is giving a powerful thrust.
All together, let us thank Pope Francis for his magisterium, composed of deeds more than words, for the witness of faith, humility and simplicity, detachment and poverty that he continually gives us. And let us assure him our daily self-offering and prayers for him–a prayer that rises spontaneously from our hearts and embraces the needs of the whole world.
Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan