Final document of the General Chapter 2019



Dear Brothers,

in the spirit of communion that characterizes us, and listening to the will of God in the mutual discussions that have taken place in the chapter assembly, from June 9 to 23, 2019, we have lived an intense experience of fraternity and dialogue, manifesting in the richness and variety of cultures - the effort to embody, in every reality, the merciful and redeeming charism of John de Matha.

We have celebrated the General Chapter in this second centenary of the beatification of our Reformer, Saint John Baptist of the Conception, recognizing that we, ourselves, in the wake of his work and in the light of his witness, need conversion and renewal. Cardinal Santos Abril emphasized in his homily on February 14, 2019, at the Mass he celebrated at San Carlino, that “the Trinitarian Order, founded by Saint John de Matha in the 12th century, has come to this day thanks to the Reform of Saint John Baptist of the Conception”.

The General Chapter offered us moments of profound reflection through the meditation of Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He provided us with three points of reference which directed the work of the Chapter:

a) we must return to being disciples of Jesus;

b) we must return to the essentials of our charism without being afraid of losing structures or changing our activities and we must also convert the way of living in community by avoiding a withdrawal into ourselves;

c) God speaks in every age with a different language: we must be situated in the current moment of history.

We experienced with emotion and gratitude the private audience granted to us by the Holy Father Francis. His address to the Chapter members was well and much appreciated and was made mention in the media. The Holy Father spoke to us about the style we must assume in order to be close to the young and to accompany them on their journey of life and faith.

Welcoming the presence of numerous young religious and members of the Trinitarian family, Pope Francis urged us to look to the future with courage and to make the charism of John de Matha radiate in the Church and in the world today.

The presence of the Apostolic Vicar of North Arabia, Most Rev. Camillo Ballin, and of Fr. Tonino Palmese, Episcopal Vicar for Charity and Justice of the Archdiocese of Naples, helped us to discover even more the extraordinary news and the dramatic urgency of our charism.

Also, the possibility of having celebrated the General Chapter at Saint Thomas in Formis was appreciated by the Capitulars and seen as a grace and an invitation to live our religious consecration with creative fidelity.

The General Chapter of the Order of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives, meeting in Rome June 9 - 23, 2019, with the theme “Called in the provident plan of the Trinity to proclaim the Gospel”, listened to what the Spirit is saying to the Church in this present moment about the proclamation of the Gospel to young people discerning their vocation, in accord with the recent Synod. We have received, through the “Instrumentum Laboris”, the experiences, desires and difficulties of our communities. The voice of Pope Francis has called us “to be courageous” and has oriented us towards the young people, who are waiting for us to walk together with them towards Jesus.

The Capitulars believe that the Instrumentum Laboris and the address of Pope Francis to the General Chapter, must accompany us in these coming years as a light that guides our reflection, our prayer and our pastoral conversion towards young people. After the experience of this meeting of the Brothers of the Order and members of the Trinitarian Family during these days of grace and communion, we want to share the following conclusions.

Accepting the challenges that the Holy Father pointed out to us in his Address to the Chapter, and after examining our reality, the Chapter members have called attention to the great challenge of our time, which is to “live our Trinitarian identity in an authentic and attractive way, walking with young people, so as to generate a culture of vocation.” In response to the challenge of Pope Francis, who asked us for the "cost of our tiredness" in accompanying the young, the Chapter gave an enthusiastic response: "We desire to spend ourselves with the young and for the young.”

We also expressed a dream for our entire Order and for the Family: “To become, increasingly," the House of the Most Holy Trinity "where the Family grows in unity and identity, without calculation, committing ourselves with joy and strength to the mission of redemption". To achieve this dream, we believe that we must fulfill at least three conditions, to which we must sincerely commit ourselves:

a) to listen to the reality of our time;
b) to assume the shared mission between the Order and the Trinitarian Family and;
c) to form ourselves for the accompaniment of the young.

We have also pointed out three principles, which must serve as mandatory reference points:

• A spirituality rooted in the Redemptive Trinity, which leads us to a passion for humanity.
• A fraternal life in community, formed in the image of the Holy Trinity;
• A shared mission within the Trinitarian Family, which generates a culture of vocation.

Also, we perceive three values as being very important for the present time, and we realize the need to pay attention to them and to live them:

• Have a sense of identity and belonging to the Church, the Order and the Trinitarian Family.
• Redemption of captives from today's forms of slavery, especially being attentive to Christians being persecuted because of their faith.
• Joy born of conversion and simplicity of life.

Since living the Gospel needs constant conversion, understood as “opening to a permanent reform of oneself for fidelity to Jesus Christ” (Evangelii Gaudium 26), which leads to an urgent and concrete ecclesial renewal, we have asked ourselves about the conversion processes that we believe are more necessary amongst us, and we have pointed out the following:

1. We must empty ourselves of our preconceptions - personal, communal, provincial and general, and overcome individualism, comfort and pessimism in order to face today's challenges.

2. Abandon pre-fabricated ways of meeting with young people so as to walk together as true companions on the journey.

3. Move from a passive, isolated and occasional means of recruiting to a vocation ministry which encourages processes of vocational discernment for life.

4. Persecuted Christians and the marginalized must increasingly be the center of our awareness, prayer and concrete actions.

As strategies for our mission, we have chosen four points that we consider priorities:

1. To strengthen initial and permanent Trinitarian and charismatic formation with accompaniment, which is oriented towards personal and communal renewal.

2. To generate and strengthen moments for encountering young people (prayer, fraternal life and mission), at the local, national and international levels, providing opportunities for them to be the central figures.

3. To create the conditions for our encounters to be rich in Trinitarian spirituality and thus favor the experience of listening and discovering God's plan.

4. To encourage meaningful experiences that lead to a greater commitment to the promotion of human dignity in the light of the Gospel, especially in the area of religious freedom.

The Chapter asks each and every one of the jurisdictions of the Order to take l means of meeting and decision making - chapters, congregations and assemblies - to realize in the context of each country and culture, these challenges, dreams, principles, values, conversion processes, strategies and, above all, concrete actions, letting ourselves be enlightened by the Instrumentum Laboris and the Address of the Holy Father. All of the brothers must participate in this process of conversion, which must bring about concrete fruits of renewal in the life of the Order, its communities and its religious, especially in the accompaniment of young people towards an encounter with Christ.

Furthermore, the General Chapter appeals to the Minister General and his Council to be animators and promoters of this renewal. There were requests made regarding this collaboration on the General level, which were expressed during the Chapter and which are contained in the Chapter’s proceedings. During this sexennium, the celebration of the General Congregation and the meetings of the Enlarged General Council will be suitable moments to validate the journey that the Order on all levels - General, Provincial and local - is making in correlation to what has been stated by the General Chapter.

Dear brothers, several times during the Chapter we heard the invitation to not give in to pessimism and defeatism and not to allow ourselves to be overcome by the temptation of being closed minded. In this new stage of the journey with Christ towards the Father's House, we ask for the strength of the Holy Spirit and the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Good Remedy, of the young martyr, Saint Agnes, our Patroness, and of our Holy Fathers and saintly brothers and sisters of our Order and Family. All for the greater glory of the Holy Trinity and for the redemption of captives!

With the wish that the General Chapter be a strong impulse of hope for all and that our enthusiasm and passion for the persecuted, the least and the marginalized will grow in our communities, I greet you on behalf of all the capitulars and I extend my heartfelt blessing to you.

Rome, on September 24, 2019, on the 450th anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Marco Criado.

Fr. Luigi Buccarello, O.SS.T.
Minister General

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