THE TRINITARIAN WAY
 

P(Proyecto de Vida del Laicado Trinitario)

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

Prot. N. T. 78-1/2000

DECREE

            The Procurator General of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity has presented for the approval of the Holy See the text of “The Trinitarian Way (Proyecto de Vida del Laicado Trinitario)”, for the various public associations for the laity of the Order.

            After having carefully examined “The Trinitarian Way (Proyecto de Vida del Laicado Trinitario)”, by this Decree, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life approves and confirms the text, composed in the Italian language, which shall be kept in our archives.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given from the Vatican, November 15, 2000.

Eduardo Cardinal Martínez Somalo

Prefect

Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti, C.P.

Secretary

GLORY TO YOU, O TRINITY

AND FREEDOM TO CAPTIVES

INTRODUCTION

The Trinitarian Family is an ecclesial community composed of clerics, lay persons, nuns and religious brothers and sisters who bear the name of the Trinity and who acknowledge Saint John of Matha as their common Father.

Together they form the “House of the Trinity and of captives”, share in the same Trinitarian redemptive charism and mission. The core of this charism and carry out its mission: the glorification of Trinity and the redemption of the captives of our day.

From the very beginning of the Order, lay persons have been part of the Family. By their lay and public nature, they incarnate the charism of St. John of Matha in the world n a variety of ways.

            The Trinitarian Way (Proyecto de Vida) which we propose here as lay persons is common to all, faithful to the past and adapted to the present needs of the Church and our day.

            In it are found:

-the characteristic traits of the Trinitarian charism as shared by lay persons;

-the essential guidelines for formation and organization as means to put our commitment into practice.

TRINITARIAN LAY IDENTITY

Incorporated into Christ through bap­tism, Trinitarian lay persons share in His priestly, prophetic and royal mission and consecration themselves in a special way to the Most Holy Trinity.

 

Guided by the Rule of St. John of Matha, taken up in the Trinitarian Way, they follow Christ through the path of the Gospel according to the gift they have received, strive for the perfection of charity and manifest in the Church and in the world the secular dimension of the Trinitarian charism.

 

According to their state in life, they live out their lay vocation in fellowship and in communion with all the members of the Trinitarian Family, seeking with all their strength the  glory of the Trinity and the redemption of their brothers and sisters.

Chapter I

LIFE OF THE TRINITARIAN LAYPERSON

A. – SPECIAL CONSECRATION TO THE TRINITY

1.         All of us who have been baptized share the same dignity and form the People of God, called together in the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are called to holiness and to the freedom of the children of God.

 

2.         We Trinitarian lay persons, consecrated to the Trinity by our special vocation, wish to follow the Christ, the Revealer of the true name of God, the Glorifier of the Father and the Re­deemer of humankind.

 

3.         As lay persons, in our own secular state of life, we wish to ever more consciously live out the newness of our Christian life, by which we are sons and daughters in the Son, one body in Christ the Son, and living temples of the Holy Spirit. We commit ourselves to bearing witness to the spirit of the Gospel according to the Trinitar­ian charism in the Church and in the world.

 

4.         The redemptive Trinity is the source, the model and the goal of our life in the service of liberation and redemption in the daily environment of our human relationships and our family, social and professional responsibilities.

 

5.         Guided by the Spirit, we strive to harmonize the values of the Kingdom and those of the world, and attain the synthesis of our life and our faith. We realize that it is not possible to live out Christian holiness without a commitment of solidarity with the poor and the marginalized.

 

The encounter with Christ who is suffering within them makes us sharers in the redemption, to the extent that wecontribute to the full liberation of every person.

 

6.         From this experience of Trinitarian-Redemptive life, lived out according to our secular state, flows our fraternal, spiritual and apostolic life in the world.

 

B. – LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP

7.         The Trinity is a communion of persons. Since we are images of the Trinity, we must make every effort  to live and bear witness to that communion in the midst of a world that is beset by divisions, poverty and oppression.

 

8.         The Rule of our Father, Saint John of Matha, is to be for us a school of fellowship, and it commits us to live, in the light of the mystery of the Trinity, a life at the service of the poor and the captives of our day.

 

9.         We Trinitarian lay persons, as members of the Church, though we live in a variety of states of life, are called to be witnesses and fashioners of the love, acceptance, union, collaboration and dialogue which exist at the very heart of the Trinity.

 

We shall live this communion and experience of the Trinity in the context of our secular life, and especially within the family, the basic unity of society and of the Church.

 

10.       An intimate relation with Christ, meditation on the Word of God and the celebration of the Liturgy, es­pecially the Eucharist, benefit the life of fraternal communion.

 

11.            Sincerity and openness among the members of the Fraternity, frequent interpersonal dialogue, mutual acceptance and the spirit of service and charity, participation in happy and sad family events are expressions of and means of promoting life in fraternity.

 

12.       In order that our fraternal life be strong and grow, it is necessary to suggest and organize encounters and to encourage a common celebration of our feasts, especially that of the Most Holy Trinity.

 

13.       Our specific vocation within the Trinitarian Family is that of living out the secular dimension of the charism which, indifferent ways, in union with the religious brothers and sisters, the nuns and clerics, we make present in the Church and in the world.

 

14.       As a sign of charity and fraternal communion, let us remember the deceased brothers and sisters, for whom each Fraternity should establish generous and regular suffrages.

 

C. – SPIRITUAL LIFE

15.       The spiritual life of the Trinitarian laity is nourished through communion with the Three Divine Persons. This communion gives meaning to our whole life and to our commitment in the world. By it, action becomes a source of contemplation, and contemplation nourishes action.

 

16.            Following the example of Saint John of Matha, we find nourishment for our spiritual life in the Word of God. We unite ourselves to Christ, present in the Liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, in which the glorification of the Trinity and the redemption of humankind are effected; and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the encounter of the sinner with the merciful Father.

 

17.            Following the recommendation of Jesus that “we pray always”, we Trinitarian lay persons shall try to find moments for encountering God by means of prayer: personally, and – insofar as is possible – in our own family, in the Fraternity, with the religious community and in the parish.

 

            We consider the Trisagion to be the prayer proper to our Trinitarian Family, and we commit ourselves to praying it daily.

 

            Work offered to God is also prayer, a means for personal sanctification and an instrument for the redemption of humankind.

 

18.       Those of us who are married feel called in a special manner to live out a particular experience of Trinitarian spiritual life, which is brought about through the Sacrament of Matrimony and in the family, expressions of Trinitarian communion in society.

 

19.       For everyone, the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, is a model of fidelity and commitment.  In the Trinitarian Family, we venerate her under the title of Mother of Good Remedy.

 

Also, Saint John of Matha and all the men and women saints of the Trinitarian Family serve as models for us. In a special way Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and Isabel Canori Mora, wives and mothers of families, provide help and light for us on our way.

 

D. – APOSTOLIC LIFE

20.            Through Baptism and Confirmation, all Christians are essentially apostles. By our involvement in the world, motivated by faith, we show forth the vitality of the Church and share in the redemptive mission of Christ.

 

            We live the secular dimension of the charism at the service of the person and of society. Committed to the search for liberty, justice, solidarity and peace, we find and manifest the image of the Trinity, the source of model for unity in diversity.

 

21.            Challenged directly by the realities of the world and attentive to the signs of the times, we Trinitarian laity act within the context of our daily life: the family and its neighbors, work and society.  Our objectives can be attained by means of involvement in various organizations: charitable-social, educational, professional, unions and political groups.

 

22.       Faithful to the demands of our charism and in communion with the other members of the Trinitarian Family, we identify in solidarity with those who are stripped of their dignity and deprived of their basic rights – in particular with those marginalized and persecuted because of their faith and their commitment to Gospel values, and in general with the most unfortunate: the poor, prisoners, troubled youth, etc.

 

23.       In the spirit of the tertia pars of the Trinitarian Rule, each Fraternity and each of its members should show redemptive charity in solidarity with the oppressed and persecuted, as indicated above, cooperating in the works of liberation carried out by the Trinitarian Family.

 

24.       Inserted in the local Church, we shall take part and collaborate in various diocesan and parish apostolates, based on our Trinitarian identity, as a sign of communion and liberation.

 

25.       We shall also take part in other regional, national and international arenas of activity of the Church and Trinitarian Family, such as: education, catechesis, care for the sick and elderly, pastoral ministry and the missions.

 

26.       In keeping with the Trinitarian spirit which should animate our apostolate, we feel committed in a special way to the defense of life as a gift from God, to the implementation of the social teachings of the Church, and to respect for the natural environment.

 

27.       In the spirit of the Gospel and the Trinitarian Rule, within the limits of our means, we offer ourselves, our time and our resources for the service of the most needy.

 

28.       Our presence in the world today demands the use of modern means of communication in order to render our apostolate more effective.

Chapter II

FORMATION

29.       In order to fully live out our charism as outlined in the preceding chapter, we need a formation that is complete, specific, initial and on-going.

 

30.       Today formation demands not only continuous progress in the life and mission of the Christian, but also in an understanding of the particular circumstances of the society in which we are called to live and the diversity of the people and obligations among which are lives are lived.

 

31.       Aware of the fact that we lay people have the primary responsibility for our formation, we commit ourselves:

-to developing our human gifts, preparing ourselves and updating ourselves for our specific family, professional and social responsibilities;

-to growth in our faith and charity, deepening our life-giving union with God the Trinity and our brothers and sisters;

-to making use of the tools of formation available to Christians: the Word of God and the Liturgy, the Sacraments, the teachings of the Church – especially her social doctrines;

-to familiarization with all that pertains to the Trinitarian Family: the history, spirituality, apostolate, lives of the saints and witnesses;

-to adequate self-preparation to carry out the service of redemptive charity for which we have been called.

 

32.       The Fraternity offers us a shared experience of life and a constant help for personal direction and assures us of adequate means to live the Trinitarian spirit and charism in keeping with our state in life and according to the proper characteristics of each of the Trinitarian associations.

 

33.       Our Fraternities must be characterized by their capacity for openness, acceptance and a spirit of communion.

 

            Their Statutes shall indicate the process for acceptance of new members, the specifics stages of incorporation, their length, those responsible for each stage, and shall outline other necessary details.

 

34.       Each year, the Fraternity shall prepare its program for formation. Those in charge of the various levels shall establish goals and seek the means that will favor this formation in such a manner that members might understand, value and live out the path traced out in “The Trinitarian Way” (“Proyecto de Vida del Laicado Trinitario”).

 

35.       Those who are called to serve the Fraternity shall be prepared by an adequate formation for these very important responsibilities.

 

36.       The spiritual Assistant (spiritual director) for the different levels, named by the competent authority after having heard the opinion of the laity, is to accompany the Fraternity on its formative-charismatic journey.

 

37.       Every Fraternity shall devote special attention to the promotion and formation of youth groups of Trinitarian laity.

Chapter III

ORGANIZATION

 

Associations

38.       The Trinitarian Laity are organized in various different Associations: the Third Order Secular, the Trinitarian Movement, Confraternities, etc.  All of these are to gradually come into conformity with “The Trinitarian Way” (“Proyecto de Vida”), and to assimilate its spirit and essential content as a sign of a common identity in the Church.

 

39.       The Associations aim at living out Trinitarian fellowship, promoting the spirituality and ends of the charism; they carry out the apostolate proper to Trinitarian laity in the socio-temporal realities of their world and benefit the development of the vocation of the individual Association and of the whole Trinitarian Family.

 

            The different Associations which share the Trinitarian charism enjoy a legitimate autonomy within the effective and affective communion, which is characteristic of the “House of the Trinity”.

 

40.       The Trinitarian Laity are organized at the local, regional, national and international levels, thus favoring the spirit of communion as a family and clearly manifesting the unity within the plurality.

 

41.       At each of the aforementioned levels, they shall elect someone in charge and a council, whose composition and election will be regulated by their proper statutes.

 

42.       Those in charge and their councils, with the respective Assistants (spiritual directors), shall care for the life and development of the association in all that refers to the spirituality, communion, apostolate, formation, organization and administration.

 

43.       The Minister General of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity, the successor of Saint John of Matha, as the sign of the unity and communion of the whole Trinitarian Family, presides in charity also over the Trinitarian Laity, but always respecting the autonomy of the different Associations.

 

Fraternity

44.       Each of the Associations consists of Fraternities (local units), in which the members live and bear witness to the spirit and apostolate of the Trinitarian Laity in general and of their own Association in particular.

 

45.       The Fraternities which begin near a community of Trinitarian brothers, sisters or nuns are initially given recognition by that community’s superior.  They will then be officially recognized and canonically established by the Major Superior.

 

46.       With the written consent of the local Ordinary, Major Superiors can canonically establish Fraternities which are organized in areas where there is no Trinitarian religious community.

 

47.       In special cases, having consulted with those in charge of the nearest Fraternity, Major Superiors can receive isolated members who commit themselves to living out the Trinitarian charism. In such cases, the individual member will be put into contact with some specific Fraternity as a point of reference, in order to receive information, communications, etc.

 

48.       The Fraternity is canonically established by a decree from the Major Superior, who shall previously have received a written petition to this effect from the person in charge of the Fraternity and a report from the superior of the local Trinitarian community.

 

49.       Each Fraternity shall have an individual in charge together with a council, [one member of which shall be the spiritual assistant (spiritual director)] and whatever other people with duties required for the effective functioning of the Fraternity. The one in charge and the council members are elected by the members of the Fraternity, with the exception of the spiritual director, who is to be elected according to the norms of number 36 of this document. The other duties shall be assigned by the one in charge and the council.

 

            The local statutes shall determine the length of the term of offices.

 

50.       The Fraternity shall have periodic meetings for prayer, formation and apostolate, for revision of life and information.  In their annual programs, they shall also provide for meetings with the larger Trinitarian Family, regular retreats and spiritual exercises.

 

Admission

51.       Each Fraternity is to look after the recruitment of new members and is to welcome with joy and a spirit of fellowship the vocations which the Stir may stir up for the Trinitarian Laity.

 

            A candidate should present a written petition to the local council, who can admit the person if they discern sufficient human and Christian maturity and find him/her suitable for the Gospel path traced out in the Trinitarian Way.

 

            The admission takes place according to the proper ritual.

 

52.            Admission marks the beginning of a period of experience and formation within the Fraternity.  The candidate is to give evidence of his/her vocation and is to progressively discover and internalize the values of the Trinitarian charism with the help of the Fraternity and the person in charge of formation. The normal period for this time is, at least, one year.

 

Commitment

53.       Having completed the period of experience and formation, the candidate can be admitted to commitment or consecration.  Under a new title, the candidate renews his/her baptismal consecration, committing him/herself to live it out according to the demands and content of “The Trinitarian Way”. By this he/she is received officially into the lay Fraternity and shares communion with the whole Trinitarian Family.

 

Formula for Commitment or Consecration

54.       In Your presence, O Most Holy Trinity, and trusting Your all-powerful assistance, I, N., renew my baptismal promises and promise to live them out. I shall make every effort to incarnate, in my state as a lay person, the demands and commitments of the Trinitarian vocation as they are expressed in “The Trinitarian Way”.

 

            I rely on Mary, the Mother of Good Remedy, and the intercession of all the saints of the Trinitarian Family, to help me carry out faithfully all that I have promised.

 

55.       For admission to commitment or consecration, the candidate shall submit a written petition to the council of the Fraternity. The person in charge of formation shall also submit a complete report on the candidate to the council.

 

56.       The commitment or consecration is made according to the proper ritual.

 

57.       Such a commitment or consecration is to be renewed every three years, after the candidate has petitioned in writing to do so. Should anyone wish to make a life-time commitment, he/she shall petition in writing to do so. The Council of the Fraternity, having examined the petition, has the power to accept and grant the petition.

 

            Each year, on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity or on some other feast of the Trinitarian Family, the whole Fraternity shall make a common devotional renewal of their consecration or commitment together.

 

58.       During these years, the candidates shall be given an adequate formation in the various dimensions of their vocation – human, Christian, and Trinitarian – according to the officially approved Program for Formation.

 

            In later years, all the members shall take part in formation sessions according to the General Plan for Formation as determined in the schedule for the year.

 

59.            Admission to commitment of consecration should be recorded in the respective registers of the Fraternity kept for this purpose.

 

60.       Should any member of the Fraternity give evidence of behavior contrary to the commitments made in the Trinitarian Laity and show no signs of correction after due corrections have been made, the council of the Fraternity shall charitably invite him/her to leave the Trinitarian Laity.

Chapter IV

PARTICULAR STATUTES

(CILT, Associations, Fraternities)  

61.       The Trinitarian Laity has an international President and Council, with its own statutes and its official headquarters located at the General Curia of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity.

 

62.       At the level of the national or regional sectors, the Trinitarian Laity is directed by its respective President and Council, with its own proper statutes approved by the Assembly of that respective sector, in keeping with the statues of the International Council.

 

63.       Each Association or Fraternity, in conformity with “The Trinitarian Way”, is to have its own statutes. These shall outline the life of the Fraternity with regard to specific formation and its particular organization, as well as arrangements for the economic support needed to finance the life, apostolate and charitable activities of the Fraternity.