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Mission of the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus

Until its closure in 2010, the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus was committed “to go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”. (Mark 16:15). Jesus emphasises the need to be rooted in the love of God to have an effective mission. The first commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart , with all your soul and with all your mind”. The second is to “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

In its founding years Carlo Carretto was Spiritual Guide to the community. He advised initially concentrating on building a well-rooted life of prayer, work and fraternity before taking the mission to other parts. It was in fact only after a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland, thirty years after its foundation, that the community felt ready to take this vision to other places in two ways:
1. Building Monastic Villages witnessing to the primacy of the Love of Christ
2. Evangelical projects inspired by the community’s charism

Case Study – Mission to London 2005

From 2000 links developed between the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus and the United Kingdom. In 2002 the Prince of Wales came to the Monastery of Vallechiara during an Official Visit to Italy; Bishops visited including the Rt. Revd. David Hamid and the now Archbishop of Birmingham, Rt. Revd. Bernard Longley; Abbot Tarcisio Benvenuti and other brothers met with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and the Archbishop of Canterbury during visits to London. Several priests and many others visited Vallechiara on retreat including groups from Highgate School, St. Michael’s Security and SPEC. It was in the light of this growing friendship that the community approached the Diocese of Westminster and the Diocese of London regarding a mission to the UK.

The aim of this mission during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2005 was three-fold:

1. Evangelisation – Proclaiming God’s Word through Prayer Events aimed at Young Adults.
2. Friendship – Building links between the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus and London.
3. Pilgrimage – Experiencing God’s presence as a community journeying from Italy to London.

Prayer Events for Young Adults
Whilst in London the community was generously offered hospitality by Sandra Satchell and the SPEC Team at London Colney. The Eucharist was celebrated at All Saints Pastoral Centre, St Alban’s Cathedral and the Italian Church.

The community linked up with young adults from different Christian traditions to animate Prayer Events in Central London on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2005. These events were called “Jesus Christ the Fullness of Life”:

Friday 21st January 2005 – Procession & Prayer around the Cross
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Hackney and Canon Martin Warner joined the community in Procession from St. Paul’s Cathedral to St. Andrew Holborn where a large Icon of the Cross, written at the Monastery of Vallechiara, became the focus for Prayer around the Cross. This Prayer Vigil included readings from Scripture, beautiful music from different traditions (Taize, Neo-Catechumenate, Orthodox, Anglican Hymn, Gregorian Chant) and a reflection on Scripture from Archbishop Rowan Williams and Abbot Tarcisio Benvenuti. This was followed by an Agape Meal providing time for food and friendship.

Saturday 22nd January 2005 – Prayer Vigil with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Auxilliary Bishop of Westminster Rt. Revd. Bernard Longley, the Archdeacon of Hackney and Canon Pat Browne joined the community for this Prayer Vigil at Holy Apostles Pimlico. The evening included a reflection from Abbot Tarcisio Benvenuti on Sunday’s Gospel and time for gentle contemplation with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The evening concluded with a wonderfully prepared Agape Meal providing time for food and friendship.

Sunday 23rd January 2005 – Procession and Prayer Celebration
Canon Nicholas Sagovsky (Westminster Abbey), Bishop David Hamid, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Superintendent Minister Martin Turner joined the community for this Procession and Prayer Celebration beginning at Westminster Abbey and concluding at Westminster Cathedral. The Renewal of Baptismal Promises around the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey was followed by a procession with lively songs of praise. On arriving at Westminster Cathedral the Liturgy of the Word continued with readings from Scripture, festive songs (including a Gospel Choir) and preaching from Abbot Tarcisio Benvenuti. The evening concluded with food and friendship in Westminster Cathedral Hall.

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