To all my brothers in the Congregation, to the Passionist Sisters and the Laity in the Passionist Family
As we approach the Feast of our Holy Founder, St Paul of the Cross, I want to take this opportunity to greet you all and assure you of my special thoughts and prayers, as together we recall the gift of our Founder and the special charism which he has entrusted to us to live and promote in our lives and mission.
As I pen these words of greetings to you, I am very conscious of my new call as the 24th successor of St Paul of the Cross to serve the Congregation – a call which I believe is from God, through the discernment of my brothers during the recent General Chapter. I feel very humbled to be asked to lead and serve the Congregation in this time of our history. I thank you all for the many expressions of congratulations, good wishes and assurance of prayers which I received since my election. These, together with your words of encouragement and comfort, was a source of great strength for me. I apologise that I am unable to reply to each and every message individually, and I beg your understanding to accept my expression of gratitude through this letter.
As I begin my service as Superior General of the Congregation, I do so very much strengthened by your support in prayer, and I ask particularly as we celebrate our Founder’s feast day, that we implore his spirit and intercession to be renewed in our call and mission to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus as “the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love”.
The contemplation of the Passion of Jesus is indeed powerful and healing. It gives us the strength to carry out our mission with a sense of compassion and proclaim a message of true hope, but always enveloped by the comforting and secure embrace of our loving God. St Paul of the Cross always encouraged us to not be paralysed by fear, but to “dive into the sea of God’s love” confident that we will land gently into the loving hands of God.
On this feast day, let us pray that each one of us will be gifted with the same faith, trust and confidence which motivated St Paul of the Cross to live his vocation in fidelity and truth.
I greet in a special way all our brothers and sisters in the Passionist Family who are undergoing the Passion in their lives at this time, especially those suffering because of living and proclaiming truth and justice in their mission, and those who are experiencing physical and mental illness at this time.
May you know healing and strength which comes from Christ’s Passion. May God grant a place of light and peace to all those who have died recently, and may Our Lady of Sorrows comfort those who grieve and mourn their loss.
Feast of St Paul of the Cross (19 Oct 2012)
Fr. Joachim Rego