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Letter to “Young” Confreres - General Superior of the Misionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinians

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March 02, 2017

Sandro-GazzolaMESSAGES - Dear “Young” Confreres,

Receive first of all my fraternal greetings and my good wishes for each one of you. I foresee some of the questions and the perplexity that may arise from the initial greeting. Who are the “young” confreres? With the word “young”, I refer to the confreres within the first 15 years of ordination or a perpetual profession. Research data show that the first 15 years of priesthood, or perpetual profession, normally represent the time within which the first powerful “shocks” happen that can lead to adapting and healthy settling down or to abandonment of one’s own life choice. I say “normally” because exceptions are always possible.

This statement partially explains also the purpose of this letter: the years that follow after having spent a good amount of time in the seminaries and having undergone the course of theological studies, represent the period of transition to pastoral life without the “protection” and the “support” the seminary had provided. The initial impact of a new and different lifestyle opens soon to the experience of the first true and real challenges, of being tested in one’s own abilities and being able to stand up to difficulties and foreseeable crisis, to prove how deeply rooted one’s own faith is, of learning how to stand alone on “one’s own feet”, and succeeding in finding new ways and opportunities for one’s own personal growth.

Statistics also show that this is a time when the largest number of defections occurs. And herein is the purpose of a letter addressed above all to “young confreres.” To this consideration I would like to add an intrinsic objective data: in any society, the young represent the hope and the potential for the future. For us, too, as a religious family, you represent the most precious investment for the future of our Congregation. Even Pope Francis, a few days ago, addressing the participants of the Plenary Session of the Congregation of the Institute of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, touched several times on these same topics. Showing our appreciation for this treasure we will consider some of the Pope’s comments in the following paragraphs.

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