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Provincial message on the Solemnity of St. John Baptist Scalabrini

Dear confreres,

Today, for the second consecutive year, we are celebrating the Solemnity of our Founder, Saint John Baptist Scalabrini, after Pope Francis canonized him at St. Peter's Square on October 9, 2022, in Rome. I would like to share some interesting data about the life of our Holy founder and facts about our Congregation that are worth remembering as part of our Scalabrinian history.

This year marks 185th birthday of St. John Baptist Scalabrini (July 8, 1839). We also celebrate 161 years since his Priestly Ordination (May 30, 1863), 148 years since his Episcopal Ordination (January 30, 1876), and 119 years since his death (June 1, 1905). Additionally, it has been 37 years since he was declared venerable by Saint Pope John Paul Il (March 16, 1987), 27 years since his beatification by Saint Pope John Paul Il (November 9, 1997), and almost two years since his canonization by Pope Francis (October 9, 2022). Regarding our Congregation, we will celebrate 137 years of our foundation (November 28, 1887), and 90 years since the reintroduction of religious vows in our Congregation in 1934.

St. John Baptist Scalabrini was truly ahead of his time. He was not only a visionary in serving migrants, but he also wanted his religious missionaries and priests to live together. In his letter to Fr. F. Zaboglio on August 31, 1895, he said: "I strongly insist on one thing: make sure you put together those who have perpetual vows. In this way, they can more easily observe the rules andfeel more at ease. " In another letter, St. Scalabrini wrote to Fr. F. Zaboglio on December 1 1, 1896, saying: "the inner life becomes weak... needs to be nourished and strengthened in the spirit of the Rule by the word and example of confreres. " "There should be at least two missionaries, and they should also be able to live the common life. " St. Scalabrini recognized the significance of sincerity of heart and unity among his missionaries. In his writing on the rule of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles for the Italians, Piacenza, 1895, he emphasized the importance of these qualities. "The missionaries should make every effort always and everywhere to preserve close unity with their confreres in the Congregation, dealing with each other with an open heart and sincere love."

In addition, St. Scalabrini urged his missionaries to be united and work together for the same mission (to serve the migrants). He expressed this in his letter to the Ai Missionari per gl' Italiani nelle Americhe, Piacenza, 1892, (pp 3-4):

"I beseech you and implore you... not scatter your forces... Instead, you must be united and be as one...l urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Christ...that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose."

Dear confreres, St. Scalabrini wanted us to embrace the religious vows, to live in community, to support one another, and to work in synergy for the sake of the migrants. Let us "renew our religious and missionary commitment," as expressed in the letter of invitation from the Central Precapitular Commission to all confreres in the Congregation, in preparation for the XVI General Chapter. In addition, let us remember the inspiring message from our Superior General on the Solemnity of our Founder and Saint, John Baptist Scalabrini, titled Deep Consolation and Confidence in the Future, sent to us on May 30, 2024. Allow me to repeat some phrases he said in his message: "trust in the quality of our commitments, " "be instruments of God's love with the migrants we meet, " and "seek what is most meaningful for the Church and migrants."

Happy Solemnity of our Founder, Saint John Baptist Scalabrini, Father to the migrants, Apostle of the Catechesis, and Prince of Charity.

May our Virgin Mary, Mother to the Migrants, intercede for each one of us!

Sincerely yours,

Fr. Martin Ignacio Gutierrez, CS 

Provincial Superior

Solemnity of Saint John Baptist Scalabrini
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