VATICAN - Men and women religious, be "witnesses and role models to re-build a new society": the exhortation of Cardinal Filoni

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Continuing his pastoral visit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see Fides 30/06/2012), Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, met yesterday afternoon, 3 July, the men and women religious, gathered at the Inter-diocesan Center of the Episcopal Conference. In his speech, the Cardinal began by thanking the religious for the missionary work carried out in this land: "Men and women religious of various missionary Congregations, international and local, have played a historic role in the Evangelization of this Country. You are the heirs of those courageous heralds of the Gospel, called today to continue the tradition of the missionary commitment of the consecrated people to proclaim the Good News." The Association of Major Superiors (ASUMA) and the Union of major Superiors (USUMA) represent 10,600 consecrated people, including 7,000 women and 3,600 men. "This large number of members – emphasized the Cardinal - is an eloquent sign of the fruitfulness of consecrated religious life, which, starting from international and missionary congregations, has diversified and expanded with the creation of local and dynamic congregations and largely dedicated to the mission". After quoting the heroic witness of the Blessed religious Clementine Anuarite Nengapeta, Virgin and Martyr, the Cardinal paid homage "to all generations of consecrated people who worked and those who continue to work in the service of evangelization and human promotion in this country, accepting to offer their lives and their suffering only to God and his Gospel." In his speech, Cardinal Filoni emphasized how consecrated life is "precious to the Church" and plays an important role "in ecclesial and missionary life," as "consecrated people are a necessary and valuable help to the pastoral activity ". He then reiterated that "the consecrated religious life is deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Jesus", therefore, in their daily lives consecrated people have to assign a central place for prayer and meditation on the Word of God. In the message sent by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for the recent 50th anniversary of Asuma/Usuma, recalled that "the Church, especially in Congo, much is expected from consecrated people, about the testimony in the life of prayer and community, in education, health, human development and pastoral service." Therefore the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples invited to face the problems and deficiencies identified during the religious life of the jubilee year with courage and determination, taking the appropriate measures, including primarily "a rigorous and serious discernment of candidates, an integral formation of quality and a permanent formation that fosters human and spiritual growth. " Finally, after having urged the religious "to work in deep communion with the local Church and the Bishop", favoring dialogue and respecting the prerogatives of each, Cardinal Filoni concluded with this exhortation: "Put your yourself and your respective charisms at the service of your country, mainly to give reasons for hope to the sons and daughters of Congo who are going through painful and dramatic situations, due to successive wars, insecurity and poverty that plague the country. In need of reconciliation and peace, thirsting for righteousness, your fellow citizens need witnesses and role models to re-build a new society." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 04/07/2012)