Saturday’s work of the Chapter was dedicated to the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, Superior General. In his homily he emphasised that God is the God of life. Following the inspiration of Pope Francis, he said that the truth of God, who is the Lord of history, reveals our task, which is to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to look to the future with hope. Our hope is rooted in and made possible by the Resurrection of Christ. “Choose, then, in your Chapter,” said Fr. Jacob, “life and blessing, for the God to whom you have entrusted your lives is the Lord of life!”
The morning panel consisted of five invited guests: Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, I.Sch, from the Dicastery for the Laity, the Familiy and Life; Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, General Superior; Fr. Denilson Geraldo, SAC, General Councillor and Director of the Pallotti Institute; Sr. Ivete Garlet, CSAC, General Superior; and Mrs. Donatela Acerbi, President of the UAC.
Fr. Alexandre presented what the Church expects from the UAC today. According to the teaching of Pope Francis, the Church presents two challenges to the Association: to rediscover and deepen the missionary identity, and to live synodality. Rediscovering our own identity as baptized people goes hand in hand with collaboration. We are invited to listen to God and to each other, walking together to continue the mission of Christ.
Fr. Jacob spoke about the UAC in the light of his task as the guarantor of the charism and as the ecclesiastical assistant of the Association, which – according to the Statutes – is the task of every Superior General of the Pallottine Fathers. He described what it means to faithfully watch over and preserve the heritage of the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti while listening to the signs of the times.
Fr. Denilson addressed the topic of the UAC in the context of its Statutes. These Statutes are a gift of the Church to us, showing that the Church has trust in us, and at the same time they are a mandate for action. He pointed out that the Church by its very nature is synodal, and this synodal nature finds its expression in the apostolates of the Church. The UAC is following the same path, undertaking apostolic activities in response to the needs of our times. Everyone – according to the “Pallottine anthropology” – has been created in the image and likeness of God, and by virtue of this likeness and of baptism, everyone is invited to proclaim the Gospel.
Sr. Ivete spoke about the UAC in the context of the process of discerning the reunification of our two Congregations. She presented a brief history of our Congregations and spoke about their role in the Union. The process of discerning the possibility of a reunification is a prophetic sign of communion and unity for the UAC, an inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Mrs. Donatella Acerbi spoke to us from the perspective of her role as President of the UAC. She underlined that the Union, which unites priests, consecrated men and women, and laity in the Pallottine spirituality, is one charismatic family. All members, Pallottines and others, are called to build unity among them in order to respond to the needs of the Church and the world, according to the charism of the Union. The central question is how we must live and act together so that we can fruitfully follow Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and proclaim the Gospel.
In the afternoon session, Sr. Liberata Niyongira SAC, General Councillor and member of the General Secretariat of the UAC, presented a report on our involvement in the life of the Union in 2016-2021. Our Sisters have been active in the spiritual field, they have participated in the meetings of the General Council of UAC and in the commissions for formation, finance and mission at the international level; they have met with local communities of the UAC in different countries; and they have taken part in symposia and national congresses of the Union.
In view of our free Sunday tomorrow, Fr. Martin encouraged the Capitulars to take advantage of the fact that we are in Rome and visit some places that were especially dear to our founder, St. Vincent Pallotti. In this way, the Sisters would be able to combine relaxation and recovery after this week full of hard work with spiritual inspiration, which will bear fruit in this Chapter and beyond.