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Solidarity – A Call of the Spirit

01050_02022015“I am counting on you to wake up the world.” This is the challenge made to religious by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life. The Pope reminds us that the “Gospel is demanding…and it demands to be lived radically and sincerely.” He calls us to “live the present with passion… which means becoming ‘experts in communion,’ witnesses and architects of the ‘plan for unity’ which is the crowning point of human history in God’s design.” Solidarity with South Sudan was represented by Sr Yudith, the Associate Executive Director, in the entrance procession of the liturgy celebrated by Pope Francis on the International Day of Consecrated Life (far right in photo). The words from the Pope’s letter are inspiration and encouragement to them. “Be men and women of communion! Have the courage to be present in the midst of conflict and tension as a credible sign of the presence of the Spirit who inspires in human hearts a passion for all to be one.” Solidarity with South Sudan takes its inspiration from the Congress on Religious Life (2004). The Congress invited religious to search for “a new paradigm…..born of compassion for the scarred and downtrodden of the earth – around new priorities, new models of organization and open and flexible collaboration between men and women of goodwill.” Pope Francis re-iterates this invitation in this Apostolic Letter: “A distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophesy….Prophets tend to be on the side of the poor and the powerless, for they know that God himself is on their side… And so I trust that you will find ways to create ‘alternative spaces’, where the Gospel approach of self-giving, fraternity, embracing differences and love of one another can thrive…” “Men and women religious are called to be ‘experts in communion’….I hope for a growth in communion between the members of different Institutes… Might this year be an occasion for us to step out from the confines of our respective Institutes and to work together, at local and global levels ?… I also expect (you) …to come out of yourselves and go forth to the existential peripheries. “Go into all the world.” A whole world awaits: men and women who have lost all hope, families in difficulty, abandoned children…I ask you to work concretely in welcoming refugees, drawing near to the poor …” May this year be one of blessing for Solidarity and all religious men and women of our world. by Joan Mumaw