April 25, 2012 

First reading : Is 58,7-10
Second reading : Ef. 5,8-14
Gospel : Mt 5, 13-16

A call to a prophetic mission

Dear Brothers:
The theme chosen for this general chapter is “A call to a prophetic mission”  What relationship is there between this theme and the readings we have just heard?  It’s obvious that there is a narrow link. During this general chapter we will share on the way to realize, for our times, animated by our charism,  a prophetic mission in favor of children and the young, to really be, salt of the earth and light of the world.

You are the salt of the earth

In the second reading of today and in the gospel, we see that accomplishing a prophetic mission  requires of us, accepting the invitation of Jesus to be “salt of the earth and light of the world”. Salt is the first  of the images that Jesus refers to (uses) to define the identity of his disciples. It’s a common element in any culture; since always it’s been used to give taste to food ( Jb 6,6).  But, moreover in the biblical and jewish culture, salt also meant «wisdom» (Col 4,-6; Mc 9,50). It is not in vain that the latin languages, the words taste, knowledge and wisdom have the same semantic roots.  Salt penetrates food to give it a better taste. In the same way, as the disciples of Jesus did, we have received the Gospel not only for ourselves but to commit ourselves in the construction of the Kingdom, making the world in which we live a better place to live in.  Salt gives taste because it is different from the food which it penetrates. We will give taste to humanity in as much as, avoiding accommodating ourselves to a world that has distanced itself from God, we identify ourselves with Jesus and his gospel. If it is not so, we are like salt that has lost its tastiness and that has become worthless.(Mt 5,13)

You are the light of the world

As Christians and religious, we are called to be the light, an example of Jesus who says: “I am the light of the world”.  We are the light, first of all, by the witnessing of our lives. The second reading invites us to let ourselves be enlightened by Christ; this implies living like children of the light, pleasing God in everything, demonstrating goodness, practicing justice, being friends of truth, being transparent.

The light of the prophet shines before men

We have read in the Gospel:  « May your light shine before people so that they see the good things you do and praise your father in heaven ». (Mt 5,16)  Today, the Lord Jesus entrusts his disciples the mission to be “the light of the world and the salt of the earth».  It refers to the light that must illuminate everything with the  good things – the good works – that come with the fulfillment of the commandment of love and charity.

Vision of Isaiah

The prophet shines before people with his life, with his words and his good works.  With all of this, he calls the attention of people, he challenges, he moves them and awakes in them the desire to commit themselves for the glory of God and for the good of the people.  The prophet is a just man. The prophet is a just man who works to bring justice to his people and so that people have mercy for the poor,  for orphans and  for widows.  He who helps the needy is light for the world. The prophet Isaiah tells us in the first reading that our  darkness turns to light when we practice works of mercy and when we do not close our hearts to the sufferings of the brothers.  In effect, shines as the aurora the light of who gives some of his bread to the hungry, welcomes in his house he who does not have a shelter,  he who is not clothed; he meets the necessities of the needy, he makes an effort  to free people from the yoke  of the oppressor, from threats and maledictions.  The just man is a good man with the eyes of the Lord. The Lord is always with him.  God comes to meet  the human being especially in the person of Jesus and neighbor. The prophet sees God  and meets God especially in the poor. The poor is for the prophet a “sacrament” of the presence of God.  In the document from Puebla, March 1979, it encourages us to look at the faces of many people who suffer today of injustice and poverty , and « to recognize in them the suffering traits, of Christ, the Lord, who questions us, who challenges us.  The faces  of children poverty-stricken before birth…, of exploited children… the faces of young people, disoriented (and frustrated) for not being able to find their place in society… of indigenous people,  of peasants, of workers, and of unemployed or underpaid people, of marginalized  people and of crowded urban people, of elderly people…» (cf. Doc, of Puebla, No 31-39, March 23 1979).

André Coindre, prophet  

“To rescue young people from ignorance , to prepare for life, and to give them a knowledge and love of religion, Father André Coindre, in 1821, founded the institute of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.” (Preamble of the Rule of Life).  André Coindre is the prophet who lives a profound experience of God in a prophetic mission.  This means that:

He sees the tender and compassionate heart of the Lord and loves  him with a love without reservation.  He sees the children and  the young with the eyes of God and loves them with the heart of God. The preferred ones  are the most neglected, those most affected by pressing unsatisfied needs. Driven by love, he sets in motion very specific initiatives that help them to form themselves as men who will do good for God, for themselves and for others. 

The prophetic mission of Father André Coindre and ours:

to be the light and salt so that the children and the young pass from A to B

From A- Darkness to B- Light
life without meaning
no future 
trust, confidence
Wisdom, knowledge (knowing how to live)
the Gospel

Give your Spirit to  us Lord, and to all the brothers and collaborators of our family   to be salt of the earth and light of the world of today accomplishing a truly prophetic mission in the service of the children and the young, minding especially for the most needy.

Send your Spirit, Lord, so that from this general chapter derives abundant fruit for the children and the young, recipients of our mission, for our religious family, for the Church and for the world. Amen

Brother José Ignacio Carmona Ollo, S.C.
Superior general


April 25, 2012 
(in the chapter room, at the beginning of the session)

Brothers, welcome to each and everyone. With great joy, I officially proclaim the beginning of this 35th general chapter. We begin this chapter with the firm hope that the Lord is with us. We prepare ourserves to experience a time of abundant graces that must stimulate the institute to energize, to enliven its prophetic mission with a renewed dynamism.

«A call to a prophetic mission» is the theme for our chapter. At this moment of our history, The prophetic mission is a tremendous challenge, an important responsibility and a great opportunity for each and every brother and collaborator of our large family.

The prophetic mission begins and develops when we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit. It is He who touches our hearts so that it may vibrate in resonance with the Heart of God  as it did for Father André Coindre.

Like our dear Founder, we feel profoundly loved by God especially as we turn our compassionate look towards the open side of his Son. With Father Coindre, let us respond today with love to the Loving Lord, for our compassion on behalf of all his sons and daughters, especially for the most needy children  and young .  It’s a question of a compassion that has eyes to discover their most urgent unmet needs; at the same time, it is a question of being the hands and feet to respond to these needs in a concrete way through a truly prophetic mission.

We entrust ourselves  today to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to all our patrons, to Father Coindre, to Brother Xavier, to the Venerable Brother Polycarp and to all our predecessors. That through their intercession, this chapter produce the fruit that God wishes and the fruit that we hope for.

Brother José Ignacio Carmona Ollo
Superior General

General Chapter preparatory calendar

The general council will be in Rome December 8 to 24, 2009; February 22 to March 14, 2010; May 1 to June 10, 2010; and August 1 to September 30, 2010. We will devote most of that time to writing the first series of preparatory documents for our General Chapter of 2012.

Here is the calendar for various steps in the preparation process for the chapter:

  Beginning November 30, 2009: preliminary consultation among the entities regarding possible topics to be dealt with during the General Chapter of 2012.

Ø  No later than February 15, 2010: results of that preliminary consultation arrive in Rome.

Ø  December 8, 2010: the chapter’s indiction and some preparatory documents are sent to all entities (by e-mail and by regular mail).

Ø  December 8, 2010: the date upon which the superior general in council will base its decisions in determining the number of delegates and alternates to
    be elected in each entity.

Ø  The year 2011: preparation in all entities for the general chapter of 2012.

Ø  End of December 2011: the general council will know the results of the elections for delegates for the general chapter.

Ø  Beginning of January 2012: official convocation of the chapter will be sent.

Ø  January 2012: pre-chapter assemblies will take place.

Ø  March and April 2012: preparation of final documents coming from the entities and from the pre-chapter assemblies.

Ø  April 25 to May 25, 2012: General Chapter in Rome.