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Card. Braz de Aviz: Focusing more on charism, rather than projects

2013-02-02

As the prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life, the Cardinal says that in Asia, Africa and Latin America, there's a continuous need to make sure that vocations are chosen in good faith. While in Europe, the U.S. Canada and Australia, for example, the challenge is to renew congregations by going back to the root message of their founders.

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

"The most important things are not projects. See, projects are the fruit of different religious charisms. But what we must consider is, if these projects help keep these charisms alive. Without the charism, the project will surely die. It's better to reduce the projects and have the charism intact. That is returning to the fundamental message of the founders, which is based on the Gospel.”

The cardinal highlights the need to return to the root mission of a congregation. He goes on to say that throughout history, some congregations survived with only one member. By living out their true mission, the numbers eventually grew to 3,000.

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

"The grace and the message by which the congregation was born, has to be the focus. It has to be cared for. Sometimes it's not only members who don't live this out, but also superiors. When that happens, the charism dies. It's not that God wants it to die, but it's that we haven't created the conditions for it to thrive.”

Another challenge is the relationship between religious orders. The cardinal says, there must be a stronger bond among them.

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life

 "In the Church we must learn to help one another. If one charism is suffering and needs help, another that's in good standing, should respond. But it should respond in every sense of the word: So economically or even with vocation formation... There are so many things we can do to help. Sometimes we are too isolated and in the end this hurts us.”

So when it comes down it, Cardinal Braz de Aviz says authentic missions are key, not necessarily the number of members or institutions. Even though there's still work to be done, he says, he sees clear signs of hope.


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