ADDRESS TO THE HOLY FATHER, POPE FRANCIS: 27.04.2018
Most Holy Father,
It is my joy to greet your Holiness, in the name of the whole Montfortian Family in general, and in the name of all the delegates of the 32ndGeneral Chapter of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, in particular. Present among us today are the Montfort Missionaries and the Daughters of Wisdom, of our Montfortian Family, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Kottayam, who have been our collaborators in mission for the past 35 years. By a happy coincidence, the Sisters of St. Joseph celebrate also the 90thanniversary of their Foundation, this year. Therefore, we are all immensely grateful to your Holiness for the rare privilege of today’s Private Audience, which is truly a grace for our Congregations. In the first place we congratulate your Holiness on the successful completion of 5 years of valuable and inspiring service to the Universal Church, as the successor of St. Peter, and offer your Holiness our filial affection and continued prayerful support.
50 delegates, coming from 14 countries, have been gathered in our General House in Rome for our 32ndGeneral Chapter from 8thApril, reflecting on the theme “Fraternal Living and the Communitarian Dimension of the Montfortian Mission”. We are presently 1126 Professed Brothers and 113 Novices in the Congregation, present in 32 countries of the 5 continents, participating in the Church’s common mission of Evangelization, Witnessing and Human Promotion, through the varied ministries of academic education, technical education, specialized education for the blind, the deaf and the mute, and numerous other projects in pastoral animation, and human empowerment programs. In fulfilling our mission as consecrated persons, we draw our spirit and inspiration from our Founder St. Louis Marie de Montfort and from our Rule of Life and Constitutions: “Your active share in the Evangelizing mission of the Church, as a Brother of Saint Gabriel, lies in the privileged field of education, particularly that of the school-going youth (RL 63). The Church is ever anxious that the Good News be proclaimed to the poor. Near you, or in far-away countries, they await your fraternal love and your help, to make them conscious of their human dignity, to free them from oppression of every kind, to dispel their ignorance, to lighten their spiritual distress to satisfy their long for a hope of salvation (RL 64).
We trace our origin back to 1715 when 4 young disciples of St. Louis Marie de Montfort took their First Vows in his presence. The whole Montfortian Family, and all their valuable Associates and Collaborators, had the joy of celebrating the Tercentenary of our origin and the death our beloved Founder, St. Louis Marie de Montfort in 2015-16. Therefore, this privilege of a Private Audience with your Holiness comes to us as a Jubilee Gift. We are reminded of that historical meeting of St. Montfort with His Holiness Pope Clement XI on June 6, 1706. The whole Montfortian Family is also indebted to Pope St. John Paul II, for his visit to the tomb of St. Montfort on the occasion of the 50thAnniversary of his canonization in 1997. We are equally proud of the fact that Pope St. John Paul II owed his episcopal motto “Totus Tuus”to the writings of St. Montfort, as he himself declared in his letter to the Montfortian Family on 8thDecember 2003, on the occasion of the 160thanniversary of the publication of the “True Devotion to Mary”: “As is well known, in my episcopal coat of arms… the motto Totus Tuus is inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort… This Saint’s teaching has had a profound influence on the Marian devotion of many of the faithful and on my own life”. I take the liberty of adding here that the whole Montfortian Family was praying and hoping that we would receive another Tercentenary Gift, the declaration of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort as a Doctor of the Church!
With renewed expression of our filial affection and assurance of prayers, most Holy Father, we seek your Apostolic Blessings on the whole Montfortian Family, and all our Associates and Collaborators in mission.
Bro. John Kallarackal, SG