Vatican City – Pope Francis has called on the Josephite community to share the primacy of God’s love in their work and ministries.
The Pope received them on the account of their 150th anniversary since founding by St Leonardo Murialdo, and he had emphasised on three aspects of their apostolate: the primacy of God’s love, attentiveness to the changing world, and ‘the paternal gentleness of charity.’ St Leonardo, who happened to be a product of the Italian city of Turin in the late nineteenth century, founded the congregation of St Joseph, who are today called “Josephites” or “ “Murialdlines”.
In his sermon, the Pope recounted the harsh context of the foundation, while he highlighted that the past years had seen Josephites blessed with “people, works, different cultural experiences, and, above all, a great deal of love.” Pope Francis admonished them to continue reading the signs of the time and responding to them with; “with the creativity of the Holy Spirit” – a commitment that requires “discernment and faithfulness.” The Holy Father encouraged the congregation to allow themselves to be loved by God, as he recalls the words and example of the founder, “in order to be credible witnesses of God’s love.”
In the third phase of his sermon, he called the Josephites out to seek and live by “the paternal gentleness of charity,” giving the example of Blessed Virgin Mary, who was strong in love and witness. He referenced St Leonardo’s words where he said that one cannot please God without faith or pleasing one’s neighbour without gentleness.
Pope Francis had ended his sermon with an invitation to the religious to “make yourselves saints – and do so quickly!” before appreciating the congregation for “what you are and what you do in the Church, in the footsteps of St Leonard and inspired by St Joseph.”
The Josephites are a religious community founded in the United States in the 19th century, dedicated to serving African American communities and promoting racial justice. Their work includes education, pastoral care, and social outreach programs.Vatican City – Pope Francis has called on the Josephite community to share the primacy of God’s love in their work and ministries.
The Josephites’ work in promoting racial justice and serving the marginalised is more important than ever, and the Pope’s words serve as a reminder of the vital role that faith-based organisations can play in promoting a more just and equitable society.