The Pope stressed the important need to “constantly renew fidelity” to the “original charism” by “permanent care of the spiritual life” in an address to participants of the General Chapter of the Institute of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate this morning. He also assured them that “through the action of the Holy Spirit, God allows religious families to respond adequately to new challenges, using the specific gift which has been given to them."
Pointing out that the theme of their meeting was "Witness to hope," the Pope said that the presence of the Oblates, "driven by authentic religious and missionary fervor, must be a sign and seed of hope for those who meet you, in secular environments as well as places where the first announcement of the Gospel has not yet arrived."
"I encourage you," he continued, "to persevere in the objectives that you have proposed, especially the objective of renewed fraternal union, according to the will of your holy founder, Eugene de Mazenod, who thought of the Institute as a family whose members form one heart and one soul."
"Today you are present with more than 1000 communities in 67 countries, and this unity is a demanding challenge but an important one for humanity, called to proceed on the path of solidarity and diversity," said the Pope.
The Pope expressed his appreciation for their reflection on "the profound changes that are characterizing the congregation, whose center of gravity is moving toward the poorest regions of the world. This significant fact leads you to update your formation, the distribution of persons, the forms of government and the communion of goods."
"Make clear choices based on the priorities of your mission. Among the more important needs," he concluded, "is the permanent care of the spiritual life in order to constantly renew your fidelity to your original charism.”