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Constitutions for the Society of St. Augustine

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CONSTITUTION OF
THE SOCIETY OF
ST. AUGUSTINE :

 

NATURE AND CHARISM:

 

"Before all else, beloved love God, then your fellowmen: for these are the chief commandments given to us" (Rule of St. Augstine)

 

1. The Society of St. Augustine is a Christian Association of the Faithful  following the Rule of St. Augustine and seeking to pursue the status of a religious community of diocesan rite.  This institute will include the various states of life, lay religious and priests committed to profess the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, and the association of laity to the Augustinian charism of this Society under rule of St. Augustine .

 

2.  The primary aim of the Society of St. Augustine is to be a bridge for the laity and their modeling the future of religious life with an emphasis on evangelization of small Christian communities particularly those not already associated with the parish model.

 

3.  The Augustinian spirituality is so fundamental to the Catholic Church with an emphasis on the community life of the church. It is the aim of the Society of St. Augustine to support and affirm the existing rich spiritual Augustinian heritage. The Augustinian models of spirituality is not a new spirituality rather a historical one that is ever adaptable to the present times. It is the intention of the Society of St. Augustine to apply traditional Augustinian heritage to a modern day community with particular concern for evangilization and the promotion of the Gospel of Life.  The Society of St. Augustine seeks to be a beacon of faith, and spiritual renewal in a diocese for evangelization and hospitaltiy promoting the Holy Father's values of the Gospel of Life.

 

Gospel of Life: the Fullness of Life Jn. 10:10 Pro-life

 

MEMBERSHIP:

 

"In the first place, live together in harmony and be of noe mind and heart in God; for this is the purpose of your coming together"  (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

4.  Vocation:  Augustine was a man with a restless heart in constant search for the love of God. He was never satisfied with himself or with complacency. His heart could only be satisfied when it rested with the Lord. “For you have created us for yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.   Those who follow way of life to the Society of St. Augustine are also in pursuit of finding their hearts desire to rest with the Lord. They may be likened to laborers searching and waiting to be invited  for work in the field. At different times of the day the Master calls them to go work in his field.  Likewise, those chosen to the Society of St. Augustine will vary in interest, age and experience as they are called to community to work in the Lord’s vineyard.  If they have the desire of the "restless heart" to seek and find him, God will fulfill their spiritual longing. Those who respond to the call to live the charism of Augustine in the way of life of The Society of St. Augustine, may be priest or laity seeking to be in one mind and heart in Christ.  (unamiter et concorditer)

 

5.  There shall be two levels of membership within the Society of St. Augustine; permanent members who make evangelical promises living in the community will form the core community and the lay affiliates who join themselves by affiliation.  The core community are those called to permanent faithful witness to the Gospel values lived out in the community of the Augustinian way of life in and through the charism of the Society of St. Augustine. Some of these members may be permanent affiliates who are called and accepted by the community to join them.

 

6.  Permanent Affiliates: may be offered to those who desire the heremetical life style but  do not live the life in common yet are drawn to affiliation to the community through witness, participation in the liturgies, charism and apostolate of the community according to their individual state of life in the church be they clerics, married, or single.

 

7. Permanent Membership in the Society will be determined after a period of formation and discernment process that demonstrates the person is committed to a life of holiness and firmly dedicated to the Augustinian ideals of self-giving for the common good. After a period of formation they will make their commitment to the community by way of evangelical promises according to their individual state of life.

 

 8. The commitment or task in which the lay affiliates will be engaged will determine temporary affiliation. They will enjoy the spiritual benefits of the Society of Augustine but not the same level of privileges and commitments as the permanent affiliate members.

 

9. All Affiliates will enjoy the Spiritual Benefits of the Society of St. Augustine celebrating  prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass, and special Augustinian Feast Days, spiritual devotions, and expected to join  for a monthly spiritual gathering.

 

10.  Any baptized Catholic of good character and having no canonical impediments in the Church may be received into the Society of St. Augustine in responding to the vocation that God is calling them to accept.

 

 

 COMMUNITY:

 

"Let their hearts be fixed on higher things, not seeking for the empty things of earth"  (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

12.   “Live as one in the house with one soul and one heart oriented toward the Lord”  In accordance with this sentence of the rule the religious will always live and work within an established community, unless for special reasons granted permission by the local superior to live outside the community.

 

 13.  It is the spiritual force of the Augustinian rule that the brethren be of “one mind and heart”.  So dear was this mandate to Augustine that  he describes in his reflection of Psalm 133, the spiritual fellowship of the brethren .“How beautiful and pleasing where brethren dwell in unity it is  like the oil that (mingles and copiously) runs down upon the beard of Aaron  and upon his collar”. The call to live Community and be of one mind and heart is the greatest gift that the Augustinian offers the Church. To build up the body of Christ, and be a witness to unity in a spirit of  prayerfulness and service of charity to the Church.  

 

14.  In his love for spiritual fellowship, love for community, hospitality, and friendship with others, disciple of St. Augustine can not be an island unto himself, rather his call is to build up the common good. The community is the matrix within which the rule is brought to fruition in the lives of the  individual members.  Hence all community activity must look to the deepening and strengthening of the individual’s vocation so that each one may be better able to foster personal growth for the unique qualities  in the self and others.

 

 

15. Temporary Affiliates may function with the core group of permanent members however, they must make their own provisions for livelihood.

 

16.  The Society of St. Augustine has both an active and contemplative spirit. Like St. Benedict’s mandate of “Ora et Labora” Augustine speaks about the importance of prayer and work, as they are correlatives. Prayer and good deeds, both flow from one another. It is the expected of all who live the common life to dedicate a portion of their day to that particular labor of love that will be assigned to them. Each active member of the community has a responsibility to give of themselves for the good of the community.

 

 

 

LIVING THE BEATITUDES:

 

"I presume not on my own strength to redeem the vows I have made you who did exhort me to make these vows will assist me to fullfil them" .... (Confessions of St. Augustine )

 

17.   Following the inspiration of the Augustine's reflection on the Christian ideals of the Beatitudes of Jesus who is single-hearted, poor in spirit, and obedient to the Father, members of the Society of St. Augustine will

commit themselves by a lifestyle  to Christian Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience according to their individual state of life.

 

 

 

CHASTITY:

(charity and purity of heart)

 "Keep you hearts pure....  the eye that is not modest is a sign of an impure soul"  (Rule of  St. Augustine )

 

18.  Is a selfless way of life chosen with the grace of God  to be of one heart and one mind  with God.  “Blessed are the single-hearted for they shall see God”  Chastity  consists in a reverence for the sacramental holiness of one’s self, and of others. Chastity is rooted in charity and charity is rooted in God. “God is love and anyone who is begotten in God is begotten in love” 1Jn. 

Augustine says, “faith which works through love makes the heart pure”… so strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see God” (p17 “On the Beatitudes”)

 

19.  Perfect charity therefore shines forth in a particular way through perfect chastity by which the religious consecrates himself for God alone and for the sake of the kingdom. 

 

20.  Chastity frees the committed person to love without selfishness or sensuality. Lived chastity is a special gift of grace for consecrated celibacy. Only by this grace constantly asked for, received and expressed is the religious capable of a total unlimited single-heartedness for the Lord.

 

21.  By his commitment to Christian chastity the individual obligates himself by virtue of love for God to avoid every act opposed to chastity and to guard purity of body, heart and soul and “to glorify God whose temple he has become.”

 

22.  The vigilance of prayer and the mutual prayerfulness of the members of the community strengthen chastity. The individual seeks the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Consolation who gives prompt help to anyone who calls upon her intercession.

 

 

POVERTY: 

 

"To want a little is better for us than to have too much" (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

23.  In conformity to the Rule of St. Augustine, the disciple of St. Augustine honors God as they reverence his holy creation.  Holy poverty, or poverty of spirit is a spiritual state of detachment, that is to possess nothing and yet to “hold all things in common”  Augustine exhorts his brethren “it is better to need little than to have too much.”  

 

24.  Members of the Society of St. Augustine  will strive to recognize the constant generosity and blessings of God and to honor God in his created beauty.  They will model themselves to Christ whose poverty made him rich in spiritual graces, owning  only that which is required for sustenance, and holding all else in common for  the  sake of sharing with other the goods necessary for the welfare of the community or for the welfare of the Church at large.

 

25. The individual member has a responsibility of sharing in the goods of the community as well as respecting, conserving and protecting them, not for selfish gain, rather because Christian stewardship demands responsible living and managing one’s life for the glory of the Lord.  The individual must make it his effort to be available and sensitive to the needs of the poor  around him  by choosing an attitude of poverty of spirit and  witnessing by his life style and ministry of simplicity and humility.(#8 Rule of St. Augustine)

 

 OBEDIENCE:

 

"Obey your superior as a father.  Let the superior deem himself happy for the opportunity not of exercising authority, but of serving you in charity"  (Rule of St. Augustine

 

27.  Following in the footsteps of Christ who was obedient to the Father even unto death, individual members submit themselves in the spirit of faithfulness to the Spiritual Moderator and the local diocesan Bishop in order that they might conform themselves to doing the will of God.

 

 28.  Obedience is a radical liberation from self-interest and a total trust in the will of God as manifested through the patrimony of the local Spiritual Moderator and the needs of the local community.

 

29.  Motivated by the Holy Spirit, obedience is a love for the will of God at every moment and time. This grace frees the individual for total self-giving in whatever environment or situation he  is placed by the Father’s providential care.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.

 

30  The  promise of obedience  requires of the individual the total compliance of mind and heart to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as manifested through the Spiritual Moderator and the deliberations  of the community at the present moment.

 

31.  Spiritual Moderators should exercise their authority in a spirit of service to the brothers always seeking the common good and the good of the Church, “for he who is to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.”

 

32.  By virtue of the promise of obedience the individual assumes the obligations of complying with the guidance of the Spiritual Moderator in matters that pertain to the common good of the community and the moral good of the Church. 

 

33. The Spiritual Moderator should not impose a formal precept of obedience, unless for serious cause and in writing or at least before two witnesses.

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT:

 

Duties of the Spiritual Moderator:

 

"For charity prefers the common interests to the good of the individual, not the individual to the common good. Let charity which endures forever, rule over all things" (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

34. Be responsible for the Spiritual guidance and accountability of the community to itself and to the Church , namely through the  (Arch) Bishop of the particular diocese. To make an annual report  to the Bishop on the state of the local community.

 

35. To serve the local community in the celebration of Mass and in supporting the practice of common prayer either the Liturgy of the Hours or other forms of meditations and Holy hours of community worship.

 

36.  To assist in the instruction and formation of new members called to join the Society of St. Augustine as members of the core community.

 

37. To seek the promotion of growth and recruitment of new members to the Society of St. Augustine.

 

38.  To guide the local community in fulfilling its goals and purposes as the constitution sets out for its members.

 

39.  To provide for the acquisition of manuals, study plans, rituals, norms, and other pertinent literature for the spiritual good of the members of the Society of St. Augustine.

 

40.  To facilitate meetings as the spiritual moderator  for general and particular gatherings.

 

 

PROCURATOR:

 

"Do not call anything your own but hold all in common, let distribution be made to each one according to his need"  (Rule of St. Augustine)

 

41.  Shall be appointed or elected by the community for a three-year term. It will be the duty of the procurator to be accountable for the economic administration of the community’s temporal goods and to keep respectful vigilance over them.

 

42.  The procurator holds a legal position in relationship to the secular authorities and will be a corporate member of the Society of St. Augustine Inc. and so must operate in accord with civil and ecclesial law.

 

43.  All duties that procurator may engage such as in contracts, buying and selling of properties, must be in agreement of the other board members, and in agreement of those elected community members who hold the trust of the welfare and best interest of the community members. 

 

44.  It will be the duty of the Procurator to give an annual report to the Superior and Board of Directors of the community.

 

 

DUTIES OF DIRECTOR OF FORMATION:

 

45.   Must be a spiritual examplary individual, mature and wholesome person knowledgeable of the  charism of the Society of St. Augustine. The director will assume the responsibility  in coordinating with Spiritual Moderator for the spiritual formation of the affiliates for permancy to the community and for ministy in service to the Church.

 

Shall support and affirm the spiritual growth and formation of members of the community. In the case of priestly candidates it will be the duty of the director of formation to see to it that each student meets the philosophical and theological requirements necessary for approval to major seminary standards. The director shall support both the clerical and non clerical student throughout spiritual formation.

 

 

                             

FORMATION:

 

"By your vigilance over one another, will God, who dwells within you grant your protection"  (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

47. After being a lay affiliate for a period of time, an individual who enters the community will spend a year of spiritual training for discernment of their vocation. Following this year and supposing due approval, a commitment to the community will be taken. For lay affiliates there will be a period of formation and a decision made by the spiritual moderator to accept them into the affiliation.

 

 

48. Admission to first commitment will become available upon the completion of a canonical year of spiritual training and after the approval of the formation team. The evaluation of the canditate will consist of the individuals willingness to embrace the Augustinian way of life, their level of religious and spiritual maturity, their comprehension of the life of spiritual promises, their compatibility with the community and their willingness share their personal gifts and talents for the common good.

 

 

49. First commitments of promises are for a period of three years, and may be renewed for six years but no longer. The inidvidual after such time must either make final commitments, or leave the community or be associated only by affiliation.

 

 

50. Final commitments are for life. Final commitments will be made after the individual has been approved by the formation team as worthy to demonstrate permanency to the community. The individual committed thereby enjoys every right and privilege of the community.

 

 

51.  Dismissal from the community shall be only for grave and serious cause. It can not happen without the legitimate authority of the Church, through a due process for reconciliation and fraternal correction with charity and mercy. The Supreme Moderator in consultation with the Council and the local bishop is required before dismissal process can occur.

 

 

 

 

 PRAYER:

 

"When you pray to God in psalms and hymns think in you heart what you lips ar uttering" (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

1. Dwelling in the house of the Lord; one thing I seek

2. Increase your heart’s desire

3. One heart and one mind

4. Eucharitistic devotion

 

52.  Community prayer and individual prayer will be governed by whatever is necessary to establish and maintain the spirit and zeal of the local community.  Each community will determine this. However there will be certain guidelines to help the brethren in their prayerful gatherings.   Daily Mass and the vigilance of Liturgy of the Hours are expected.

 

53.  Augustine speaks of the desire of the heart as the basis for one’s prayer life. The greater the desire to be with God the greater one’s prayer life.  He also notes that one’s life is one’s prayer just as the correlative is true one’s prayer is the way one lives his life.

 

54.  Respecting this belief, the prayer of the individual will be a matter of personal development under attentive and loving aegis of the community.  Each person must be encouraged and invited to recognize his /her owns personality type and is taught the form of forms of spirituality most compatible with each type.   The whole gamut of spiritual knowledge that is the heritage of the Church will be made available to all members so that each one may draw upon whatever element of the Church’s riches is most advantageous.

 

55.  Members of the Society are encouraged to find life giving waters of spiritual graces in the wellsprings of Eucharist adoration.  It is part of the missionary effort of the Society to spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament for the laity.

 

 

56.  Since the objective of the foundation is an active-contemplative life the following prayer regime is suggested, as an ideal:

          One hour each day given to prayer, reading, and quiet (Eucharistic adoration)

          One half day each week

          One full day each month

          One nine day retreat each year

          One month of solitude each five years

          Persons in vows or orders will say the entire office each day, some hours in common others in private.  All others will join them for the Liturgy of the Mass and for the major hours whenever feasible.

 

57.  For the  Lay Affiliates prayer will consist in their daily prayers of joining in the daily Eucharistic liturgies whenever possible, the urging of making a holy hour once a week, the daily prayer of the rosary and the Daily devotionals that are given in their Augustinian Prayer books.

 

 

STUDY:

 

"Observe these precepts in the spirit of charity, as lovers of Christ in the holiness of your lives not as slaves under the yoke of the law, but as freemen living under grace"  (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

58.  In accord with the spirit of St. Augustine every member of each community is to include study time as an integral part of the religious day.  No specific directive can be given as to the subject matter but to bear in mind importance of biblical studies, the lives of the saints, especially the life of St. Augustine and the Augustinian saints, as well as reviewing the Apostolic teachings, the Catechism of the Church, and familiarize oneself with solid contemporary spirituality including papal encyclicals.

 

 59.  Each individual should be convinced that discipline which leads to holiness of life entails the firm commitment to continuous development of the intellect for the love of spiritual beauty and the love of God.

 

 

 REST AND REFRESHING THE SPIRIT:

 

"Be thankful for the enjoyment of good health" (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

60.  Work and play are co-relatives, not opposites.  If the religious does not enjoy the work then some corrective must be found.  Yet doing an efficient job always entails some tension.  It is impossible to work and live with others without occasional personality conflicts.  Every community must ensure that each member is given the opportunity for sufficient personal free time, days off, and vacations, so  that mental and physical health will be assured

 

 

SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP:

 

"Let your love for one another be according to the spirit, not according to the flesh" (Rule of St. Augustine )

 

61.  Psalm 133: reflects the initiative for friendship for Augustine, “How beautiful and pleasing where brethren dwell in unity”

Friendship was a mark throughout Augustine’s life.  He acquainted himself with worthy friends who were his treasures. Friends who would point him to the Truth, brethren whom he could lay bare his heart.  Spiritual friendship in the Lord, is that which builds up community life and does not tear it down.  It is not jealous, or possessive, or prone to factions but seeks the Truth,  for it seeks unity with the Lord our true friend. So Jesus says: “where two or three are gathered in my name there I am”

 

 

PASTORAL CARE MINISTRY: The Gospel of Life

 

"The Gospel of Life is not for believers alone it is for everyone"  Pope John Paul II

 

62.  The charism of the Society of St. Augustine is to enrich the Church by working out a form of religious life that combines contemplation with service and ministry. The criteria in choosing a ministry must be the need of the time and place.  Given the need, the individual or the group will  proceed to exercise their ministry and further development of the prayer life of all those involved in and affected by the ministry itself.

 

 

63.  Among the list of activities and ministries, members of the Society of St. Augustine may engage in the directing of spiritual retreat weekends, providing hospitality for clergy and religious, the establishment of retirement homes for Senior citizens, including priest and religious, hospitality for the poor, and promotion of  pro-life ministries especially a national shrine for the unborn.

 

 

64.  Special attention should be given to the call for evangelization, since at this time of our history it is the desire of the Holy Father to celebrate the  Great Jubilee Year. The Society of St. Augustine will participate in this endeavor  by special days of prayer in Eucharitic Adoration and in Spiritual Pilgrimages to Holy Shrines.

 

 

65.  One particular ministry to be adopted for the care for the sick, is the ministry of perinatal hospice, that is the care for terminally ill children or  babies whom requires vigilant and supportive health care until their improvement or natural death.

 

66.  other aspects of the charism:

 

1. Gospel of Life focus  (moment of life to natural death)

2. Marian focus

3. Eucharistic focus

4. Divine Mercy focus

5. Heart of the Church

6. Common Life and Renewal

7. Sacramental

 

 

67.  Projects:

To establish a National shrine for unborn.

To support and promote all forms of  the pro-life  ministries in the local dioceses especially Project Rachel ministry, and other healing ministries for parents of aborted children.

To support Priests for Life projects and Sisters for Life activities for the

Laity for life

To promote particular ministries for life for the handicapped, elderly, teens, family ministry, married couples, divorced and single-parents, imprisoned etc.

 

 

68.  Particular Augustinian Feast Days

 

Feast of St. Augustine : August 28

Feast of St. Ezekiel Moreno August 19

Conversion of St. Augustine April 24

Feast of St. Monica  May 4

Feast of St. Rita   May 22

Feast of all the Deceased of the Order  (Litany of the Dead)

Feast of St. Thomas Villanova   November 25

Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine September 10

Feast of Our Lady of Consolation April 26

Feasts of St. Joseph March 19, & May 1

Feast of the Holy Innocents   Dec. 28

 

 

69.   MEMORIAL MASSES AND DAYS OF LIFE CELEBRATIONS:

Jan. 21 Feast of St. Agnes

Feb. 2              Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Mar. 25            Feast of the Annunciation

April 26            Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel

May     1          Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

May 31            Feast of Our Lady of Visitation

June 30            Feast of the Sacred Heart

July 26 Feast of St. Joachim and Ann

Aug. 22            Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Sept. 15           Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Oct. 2              Feast of the Guardian Angels

Oct. 19            Feast of the North American Martyrs

Nov. 21           Feast of the Presentation of Mary

Dec. 12            Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Ordo dometicus. Daily Activities.

 

Quotes from the Rule of St. Augustine :

 

On the Love of God and Neighbor:

“Before all else, beloved love God, then your fellowmen: for these are the chief commandments given to us. 

 

In the first place, live together in harmony and be of one mind and heart in God; for this is the purpose of your coming together.

 

Do not call anything your own, but hold all that you have in common; let distribution be made ….to each one according to his need.

 On Humility:

Let their hearts be fixed on higher things, not seeking for the empty things of earth, …..lest the monastery be of advantage to the rich and not to the poor, if the rich are humbled there and the poor become proud.

 

On Prayer:

“Give yourselves to prayer at the hours and times appointed.

 

When you pray to God in psalms and hymns thing in you hearts what your lips are uttering. 

 

On the Care of the Sick:

“To want a little is better for us than to have too much”

 

On Dress and External Comportment

“Let your dress be plain.  Do not seek to please by your apparel but by a good life”

“keep your hearts pure, thus by your vigilance over one another, will God, Who dwells within you grant your protection.

 

On Fraternal Correction:

 

“Let not the beginnings of evil go unchecked, but correct them as soon s they appear…. To punish them carefully and in accordance with the truth, with hatred for sin and love for the brother.”

 

 

On the Care of Goods of the Community

 

“For charity prefers the common interests to the good of the individual, not the individual to the common good.  Thus let charity which endures forever, rule over all things that minister to the wants of this transitory life.”

 

 

 

 

 

On Asking Forgiveness:

 

“Let him who has injured another by word of mouth by abusive language remember that he ought to be ready to repair the wrong as soon as he can…he who was offended ought to be ready to forgive. ‘Let your love for one another be according to the spirit, not according to the flesh.

 

On Obedience:

 

“Obey your superior as a father, Let the superior deem himself happy for the opportunity, not of exercising authority, but of serving you in charity….

 

Regular Observance and frequent reading of the Rule:

 

“The Lord grant that you may observe these precepts in the spirit of charity, as lovers of Christ in the holiness of your lives; not as slaves under the yoke of the law, but as freemen living under the dominion of grace.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes from the Gospel of Life:

“The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus message”.  p. 3

 

“Walk as children of the Light”

What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences, and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life.  All together we must build a new culture of life.  p. 168

 

Reconcile people with life” p. 175 Gospel of Life

 

‘Your are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love”  p 175

 

The experience of motherhood makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same time, confers on you a particular task: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life as it develops in the woman’s womb..  I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an  abortion.  The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision.  The wound in your heart may not yet have been healed.  Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong.  Do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope.  The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace  in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

“a great prayer for life is urgently needed.” “Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an  impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.”  P 179

 

 

The Gospel of life is not for believers alone: it is for everyone. 

 

To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good.  It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.

 

The one who accepted “Life” in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of Life.

 

The woman clothed with the sun was with child.   Mary is truly the Mother of God, the Theotokos, in whose mother hood the vocation to motherhood bestowed by God on every woman is raided to its highest level. Thus Mary becomes the model of the Church, called to be the “new Eve” the mother of believers, the mother of the “living”. Gn. 3:20

 

 

 

 

Quotes from Christifideles Laici:

 

“lay associations have always been present throughout the Church’s history as various confraternities, third orders and sodalities testify even today. .such lay groups have received a special stimulus, resulting in the birth and spread of a multiplicity of group forms: associations, groups, communities, movements.  so great is the richness and the versatility of resources that the holy Spirit nourishes in the ecclesial community, and so great is the capacity of initiative and the generosity of our lay people”  p. 71

 

The lay faithful forming of lay groups comes from a theology based on ecclesiology, as the Second Vatican Council clearly acknowledged in referring to the group apostolate as a “sign of communion and of unity of the Church of Christ”  First of all the freedom for lay people in the Church to for form such groups is to be acknowledges  flows from the Sacrament of Baptism…   p. 72  it is essentially in relation to the Church’s life of communion and to her mission.

 

 

Criteria for evaluation of lay groups:

 

The primacy given to the call of every Christian to holiness as it is manifested in the fruits of grace which the spirit produces in the faithful and in a growth towards the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity.

 

The responsibility of professing the Catholic faith…..

 

The witness to a strong and authentic communion in filial relationship to the Pope in total adherence to th4e belief that he is the perpetual and visible center of unity of the universal Church, and with the local  Bishop; ….

 

The Conformity to and participation in the  Church’s apostolic goals, that is “ the evangelization and sanctification of humanity and the Christian  formation of people’s conscience so as to infuse the spirit of the Gospel into the various communities… p. 74

 

 A commitment to a presence in human society which, in light of the Church’s social doctrine places it at the  service of the total dignity of the person.

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