Holy Mother Church Grants Comunità Cenacolo the Decree of Recognition as an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right
In June 2009 we received the news that our statutes were accepted and approved for five years. The Pontifical Council for the Laity indicated that it is customary that the decree of recognition be granted on a significant date. We chose July 16th, 2009, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and birthday of the Community. It is beautiful to see the tender hand of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who guides us and accompanies us on this journey: at the end of our jubilee, the 25th anniversary of Comunità Cenacolo, the Church welcomes us in her universal heart and sends us forth into the world. It is a new beginning with new strength and a new light, with a new belonging, which requires greater maturity, responsibility, and commitment, but also has given us so very much joy.
A Stronger Bond With the Holy Father and the Church
The precious gift of this recognition is the even stronger bond that unites us with the Holy Father, with the heart of the universal Church, and with her closest collaborators. With all our poverty, fragility, and smallness, we enter delicately and humbly into the great universal mission of the Church, Servant and Mother of humanity, who brings ”good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and healing to the brokenhearted.” We are deeper in the heart of the Church, united to the heart of the Pope, a work of God placed in his hands and at his service, fully cognizant of this great, great gift.
We Receive the Decree at the Vatican: A Providential Date
Unplanned and clearly providential, the date the decree will be physically given to us in Rome coincides with another special date. October 16th is, in fact, the date on which ”a man from a far away land,” John Paul II, was elected Pope. We also rejoice for this reason that we will be in Rome on that specific date to give thanks to Our Lord and the Virgin Mary. Our Community was born, developed, and grew under the pontificate of John Paul II, and now at the beginning of our 26th year of life, we receive pontifical recognition and our journey of ecclesial maturation continues, as we entrust ourselves to be guided by the sure hand of our Holy Father Benedict XVI. One hand in that of John Paul II and the other in that of Benedict XVI—with both our hands in theirs, we walk safely, securely, and confidently.
The Journey of Our Sisters
During the preparation of the statutes, according to the directives given by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the role of our sisters was delineated more clearly. From the beginning, their journey as consecrated women has been that which is proper to the religious life, evidenced by their habit and veil and proclaimed by their public vows before the bishop. For this reason, we received the directive that their journey, though it originated from the same charism, has a particular identity guided by the norms of the canons proper to the religious life.
Therefore, in accord with our diocesan bishop, we are preparing a statute for a Public Association of the Faithful of diocesan right, directed to become in the future an Institute of Consecrated Life for Women. It is beautiful to see how different ways of life and participations in the charism of the Community have become delineated in this journey we are making with God, this journey validated by the Church. Each person can find his place of service in the kingdom of God, according to the individual call he has received and the openness of his own heart.