Living Hope Newsletter – February 2016
Adore, Walk, and Accompany
The Claretians enjoyed two momentous gatherings with Pope Francis this past fall, one in Rome and the second here in the United States. Both encounters gave the Claretians a first-hand experience of this Pope’s remarkable embrace as the shepherd of the Church—expressed in Pope Francis’ hallmark, and beloved, eloquence.
In Rome last September, when the Claretians elected their new Superior General leader and the Superior Council members who serve the worldwide congregation together from Rome, the Pope received the nearly 100 Claretians who gathered there for the election event. The audience took place in the beautiful Consistorio Hall at the Vatican, where the outgoing Superior General Josep Abella, C.M.F., and the new Father General Mathew Vattamattam, C.M.F., personally greeted the Holy Father.
Pope Francis spoke for about 30 minutes with the Claretians, who he has known for some time from his prior ministry in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Claretians lead many ministries in Argentina, including a publishing house that the Pope mentioned with affection because they have published his books.
The Pope delivered his remarks with warmth and familiarity, and a clear call to action. “So I came to tell you this: Adore. Walk. And accompany,” he said. He encouraged the Claretians to grow in adoration prayer, to spend time with God “without asking, without thanking, even without praising—only adoring, only worshipping with the prostrate soul.”
In asking the Claretians to “walk,” the Pope stressed not sitting still: “To walk is to open frontiers, to go out, to open up doors, to look for ways. Walk—do not just sit!” And in walking, he said, we must not walk alone. “Accompany . . . accompany others in the moments of joy, the happiness of marriages, of families. Accompany them during the hard times, moments of crosses, moments of sin,” he said.
The Claretians are deeply gratified by their audience with Pope Francis, a moment that was further expanded when they witnessed the Pope in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. U.S. Claretian seminarians and the U.S. Claretian Vocation Office attended the event along with 20,000 national and international attendees.