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Messaggi Don Orione

Fr. Flavio Peloso, 2nd October 2010.



Rome, 2nd October 2010

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Most dear confreres,

Deo gratias!

We now have to hand the document of the 13th General Chapter which had as its theme “ Only charity will save the world, human relations, minisries, vocations and new works of apostolic charity ”. After the Congregation's involvement in the preparatory phase, the conclusion took place at Ariccia (Rome), from the 30th May to the 23rd June 2010.



I would like to take up the speech made by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI at the Don Orione Centre in Monte Mario, Rome using as its title that of this circular letter which gives a presentation of the 13th General Chapter and the itinerary of the new six year period of government. I think they well express the mystical and apostolic dimensions of charity, which is the foundation of our religious life.

“Only charity will save the world”: from the theme of the project

The fire of charity which so animated don Orione is our most precious inheritance. “ May our spirit be one of great humility, of faith and of charity: May our life be one that is fully entwined in prayer, in pious zeal and sacrifice for the good of souls. O nly with the charity of Jesus Christ will the world be saved! We must fill with charity the furrows that divide men who are full of selfishness and pride. O my sons may that great, sweet and supernatural charity, which has always made you into one heart and one soul reign among you ” ( Lettere I, 282).

Through the 13th General Chapter, we proposed that we would help one another to reignite in ourselves and our activites the fire and spirit of don Orione and allow ourselves to be challenged by the famous motto of our founder “ only charity will save the world” .

We have taken up CHARITY as the source and power of our spiritual, community and apostolic life. It is “ the only form of charity that vivifies, builds up and unites people in Jesus Christ and his Church ” ( Scritti/Writings 59,215; 61,153). Therefore our holiness, our apsotolate and our personal happiness, the future of our Congrgation and the good of so many souls revolves around charity.

The revision/plan of the chapter considered five central themes: 1) the sources of charity , 2) community relationships , 3) ministries of charity , 4) our need to foster vocations , 5) the new challenges of charity. Each theme was divided into three particular sections with a total of 15 themes .

The Congregation examined itself in regard to these 15 themes with the style and method of community discernment , understanding what God is saying to us, what is our situation , and the ways forward . The final document is the fruit of mature reflection.


The 13th General Chapter

The asssembly of the 13th General Chapter began on the 30th May with a short pilgrimage to the sources of our charism, that is, to the places associated with our Founder don Orione and some other Founders who were connected with him.

As pilgrims in Tortona, at the shrine of Our Lady of Safe keeping and the body of don Orione we shared together from the very start the spirit of “ only charity will save the world” which points to the origins of our charism and the witness of so many confreres both of years gone by and today.

The following day, accompanied spiritually by don Orione, we went to visit don Bosco, at the Valdocco listening to the voice of his successor, the Rector General, Fr. Pascual Chavez Villanueva, the slogan of the saint of youth: “ Da mihi animas; cetera tolle ”. (Give me souls and keep the rest) [1]

A little later still in the Valdocco, we knocked on the door of the Cottolengo and we saw printed on its walls and the faces of the people who live there the motto “ Caritas Christi urget nos”(The charity of Christ urges us on) , [2] which has formed many saints and relieved the miseries of many people.

Aware that also in Turin don Orione was inspired by Blessed Joseph Allamano, we went to visit the Mother House of the Consolata missionaries and we listened to the present Superior General, Fr. Aquiléo Fiorentini, speak about “C harity is the substance of the mission ”.

These places, saints and Congregations left the chapter confreres in a fervourous spiritual climate which certainly contributed to the good work of the Chapter. With the Instrumentum laboris (Chapter workbook) in our hands the Chapter confreres transformed the fruit of the work of the Provincial chapters and the communities into lines of action and decisions. .

The theme “Only charity will save the world” inspired us to be “Don Orione today”, in our world. It invited us to be enthusiastic about his plan of charity, joyful and credible witnesses of the spirit of don Orione, in love with God and dedicated to our poorest brothers and sisters, convinced that “ The cause of Christ and of the Church is only served by a great charity of life and of works ” ( Lettere/Letters I, 181) . This is not only the source of the charism of don Orione but also that of our consecrated life and mission .


The words of Benedict XVI

At the end and final blessing of the Chapter there was a meeting with Benedict XVI during his visit to the don Orione Centre in Rome , on the 24th June. The Pope spoke about the historical and religious significance of the “Madonnina” (Statue of Our Lady) of Monte Mario and then he dedicated half of his speech to The General Chapter which has just taken place” . [3] After mentioning that “ Don Orione lived the mission of the Church in a lucid and impassioned way and that he lived the value of love and made the light of God tangible in the world “ ( cfr . Deus caritas est , 39 )…, convinced that charity opens the eyes of faith and instils love for God in hearts ”, he exhorted us saying “ continue, dear Sons of Divine Providence on this charismatic path that he begun ”.

The Pope had been informed of the themes of our General Chapter. He spoke simple but stupendous words to us which we can use as the objective of our next six years : “ Works of charity, whether personal or in the form of those carried out in large institutions can never be reduced to philanthropic works but must always remain a tangible expression of God's providential love. In order to carry this out, don Orione reminds us, ‘ It is necessary to be kneaded by the sweetest charity of Our Lord ' ( Scritti/Writings 70, 231) by an authentic and holy spiritual life ”.


From discernment to the document

The chapter has elaborated the text which will be our spiritual vademecum (guide book) and in use during the next six years 2010-2016. On the one hand we know that it is the fruit of our experience and sharing in understanding and interpreting of the signs of the times. On the other the document is a precise expression of God's will on our next journey as religious.

Each of the 15 points of the main theme “ Only charity will save the world” is articulated in an inseparable order.

1. What does God want from us . With our faces turned to God, the Church and don Orione, after the work of discernment we single out what God wants from us today.

2. Our situation. Brief statements present the context in which we live, in both positive and problematic ways, understanding that God speaks to us through history.

3. What must we do . They are the practical suggestions that we need to follow.

A. The lines of action indicate a perspective and an action to be realized in the time limit and in various ways which will favour a renewal of mentality and of structures. The lines of action are 41, numbered progressively, and indicate in what priority the Congregation intends to deal with them in the various aspects of its life.

B. The decisions are linked to the lines of action and require punctual and precise actions in both time and the way of carrying them out. They are 35,numbered progressively. They deal with different topics (each individual religious, the community,the province, the general government) and different contexts (formation, mission, apostolate, amministration, etc.).

The document is structured but it can be grouped into five main themes each of which presupposes and strengthens the others:

1) To assure access to the sources of charity which are life giving ,

2) To realize in a better way community relations which feed and sustain charity ,

3) To live the apostolic activities as ministries of charity in the present context ,

4) To express the fruitfulness of charity in fostering vocations ,

5) To launch ourselves into new projects of charity in today's world.

In the last part of the document there are groped together the other decisons regarding themes of a particular interest. Only some can be linked to the central theme of the next six years, whilst the others are relevant to governing, administration and some points in regard to the Constitutions and Norms.

The publication of the Document of the 13th General Chapter will make the indications of the Chapter official and will initiate the point of departure for the next six years 2010-2016.


From document to our journey

Not everyone is involved in doing everything, but each group has a specific task (the indiviudal religious, [4] the communities, [5] the province, [6] the general council, [7] the secretariats etc.) Each one is called to do its own part, because only through the contribution of every one will all the lines of action and the decsions become concrete.

The role of the new general council, elected during the Chapter should be seen as having the role of animating and guiding the common journey of all. [8]

So, let's begin that journey!

I invite you to have confidence in putting into practice the guidelines of the Chapter so that they may become concrete realities (they are the fruit of discernment made in the communities, and not just table chatter), they are necessary (since they have been suggested by many confreres and many communities), they are doable (the Chapter has judged and deliberated over them).

The document of the 13th General Chapter which we now have in our hands is an instrument of renewal and of faithfulness to don Orione, and through him to God and the Church and the poor who are the recipients of our care.

Looking ahead we have the encouragement of our family saints and all the confreres, sisters and lay people, who through their faithfulness to their vocation have witnessed to the beauty of our life mission, the fruitfulness of the spirit of don Orione and the spiritual force of “O nly charity will save the world” . We are on a good and holy journey.

Some important anniversaries which are coming up will help us to remember and renew our charismatic history. I remind you of a few of the main ones here: the centenary of the departure of the first missionaries to Brazil in 2013; [9] the 50th anniversary of the death of Brother Ave Maria , in 2014; [10] the 75th anniversary of the death – dies natalis(birthday in heaven) of Don Orione , in 2015; [11] the centenary of the foundation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity also in 2015. [12] They will be oportunities for “reliving the gift that is within us” (cfr 2Tim 1,6) and for living our vocation with prophetic zeal.

There is before us a favourable time for advancing in the footsteps of Don Orione , with him and like him full of zeal for God, for the Church and the poor. Let us not waste time, let us not become distracted, let us be attentive and obbedient to God's will in order to be “ sure to comb the ways of Divine Providence ”, faithful in Mary's motherly help, our Mother and heavenly Foundress.


All taking part, like sons

The journey proposed by the General Chapter comes from the contribution of all conferes and is for all of them. All should be involved as much as they possibly can.

Just as we dedicated alot of attention and study in preparing for the General Chapter, so now, even more we are asked to be committed like sons in making it happen.

In putting the Chapter into practice we should also continue to practice the method of comunity discernment which guided its preparation.

In order to be efficacious, the realization of the Chapter decsions should be continuous and acted upon for the whole of the six years. We will carry it out according to what our Constitutions tell us and the tradition of the Congregation.

As a general council we have already made a blue print of a programme for the six years , foreseeing a full and diverse timetable distributed over the calendar of the six years. There will be meetings with provincial councils to take up the programme of the Chapter and to steer the provincial council in the right way.

The provincial assemblies for planning have the job of interpreting and programming for each country what has been decided by the 13th General Chapter.

Then in 2013, there will be provincial assemblies and the general assembly of verification to review and give impetus to the six year journey.

During the six years, the annual meetings of the superiors will take up the decisions of the Chapter, and will reflect on and put into practice whatever refers to community and works.

In this way the provincial canonical visits and the general canonical visit, will be important moments promoting what has been asked of us by the Chapter.

The secretariats will have the job of animating and making real what the Chapter has decided in their area of competence. The International conventions will signal the steps of the common journey of the Congregation.

Of course the annual permanent formation booklets will centre on the suggestions of the Chapter.

As well as these principal motivators of the Congregation, there are many other resources and initiatives to consider to sustain the movement of renewal: I think in particular of spiritual retreats, circular letters from me and from the provincials, themes for the formation of lay people, family get togethers and celebrations and much more.


Hail Mary and onward!

As a final word I leave you the rather sad exhortation of don Orione to his confreres in August of 1934, a short time before he left for Latin America: " You are the founders, I am only an older brother called by God's divine mercy to be older in the order of time, but you are the ones who manage the houses, you are the face of the Congregation. Either we renew ourselves or we die! ”.

And that is it. It is a great responsability.

Don Orione continues to be our “ older brother ”, participating and acting from heaven. But we have to do our part.

Hail Mary and onward!



This letter dear confreres, is dedicated mainly to the presentation of the final document of the 13th General Chapter, because it is the central event that occupied the whole of the month of June. I would like to draw your attention now to a few other matters which have signalled the beginning of these next six years 2010-2016.

Providence and the benevolence of the Holy Father arranged that the end of the General Chapter should coincide with the visit of Benedict XVI to the don Orione Centre in Rome - Monte Mario. He came to bless the staue of the Madonnina (the little Madonna) which was placed back in position after it had been knocked down by a terrible and violent storm some months ago.

“How could one not renew with you, that gesture of devotion to Mary, the health of the people of Rome by blessing this beautiful statue?”, were the words of the Pope as he remembered the vow made to the Madonna, at the behest of the Orionine priests and brothers, with the signatures of 1,100,000( one million and one hundred thousand) Roman citizens who feared for the city after the terrible bombings of the San Lorenzo quarter in 1944.

The visit was transformed in a wonderful feast of the Pope, with him present among an immesne crowd of Romans and Orionine priests and brothers. The satisfaction of seeing the great statue of the Madonnina, which is 9 metres high, back in its place, shining beautifully in its golden colour was a great occasion for us and for the people of Rome. Benedict XVI left a beautiful message to the don Orione family about Marian devotion and the theme of the recently concluded Chapter.

The Vatican secretary of State then sent some letters of thanks. One of them was for the boys and girls of the parish: "The Pope is most grateful for your filial gesture and would like to thank you, and hopes that you may grow up joyfully and serenely,learning to know Jesus even more.".

“Sister Plautilla has reached the stage of Venerable” : I received this wonderful news when I was in Africa as Fr. Joseph Vallauri texted it to me . On the 1st of July the Congregation for the causes of saints promulgated its decree of the heroic virtues of the servant of God Maria Plautilla (whose lay name was Lucia Cavallo), a member of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity (LMSC), and born at Roata Chiusani on the 18th November 1913 and died at Genoa on the 5th October 1947.

In uniting our good wishes and satisfaction to Sr. Maria Irene Bizzotto, superior general, and all the sisters, the first comment was: “ Hurray! God exalts the humble. It is a message for all of us. ”.

It is a great joy for our Orionine family to see another eminent disciple of don Orione's school of sancitity elevated by the supreme authority of the Church. Now after being decalred “venerable”, we need only one miracle attributable to her intercession for her beatification. So we need to pray, asking the help of this simple sister who is now so “elevated” through doing the ordinary things of every day with extraordinary charity .

I had the joy at Grand Bassam (Ivory Coast of participating on the 4th July in the episcopal ordination of the new don Orione bishop, Mgr. Raymond Ahoua . He is the first fruit of our mission in Africa. The celebration had more than 10,000 people participating with 300 priests, 25 bishops and Cardinal Agré. The ceremony lasted five hours and was very devout and vibrant. For the third time in three years I have given the the ring of Pius X to a new Orionine bishop during his consecration.

Raymond, is the son of a family who are in our parish of Bonoua,and he grew up there. Thenhe did the novitiate at Velletri and later went on to Tortona where I had him as my student for some time, then he went on to Anyama, Bonoua and Nairobi. It comes to mind to mention that like Sr. Maria Plautilla “a sister like all the others” that Raymond too, chosen to be bishop is placed in great esteem for his people, and he is “a religious just like all the others”. If a “venerable” and a “bishop” have come from our ranks it means that the school is a good one, we are walking a holy path : Hail Mary and onward !

In Africa after the ordination of Bishop Raymond we had three priestly ordinations, three perpetual professions, twelve first professions and fourteen entrants into the novitiate.

The feast of Our Lady of Safekeeping of the 29th August is always full of spiritual meaning. It was preceded by the preaching of the novena by Bishop Vincenzo Bertolone, bishop of Cassano Ionio. " Life without prayer is like a letter without an address ": with this and other expressions the Bishop encouraged people to deepen their faith and devotion to Mary. The main Mass of the feast day was presided over by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Archbishop of Naples.

Also in this year I had the great joy of presiding over the Mass of the jubilarians of confreres and sisters of the Orionine Family, who had come from various parts of the world.

Immediately after the Feast of Safekeeping there was the prolonged meeting of the new General Council , for eight days, from 30th of August to the 7th September. It was a precious moment of being toegther and getting to know each other, given that it was the first ime we had met at a less frenetic pace. We concentrated on the text and eventual publication of the new document of the 13th General Chapter and transforming the various lines of action and decisions into a programme over the next six years.

On the 5th of September we were present for the celebration of the 70th year of the foundation of the seminary at Buccinigo d'Erba (Como). How many good religious and preists came out of that house and are now spread throughout Italy and the world, many of them on the missions. As well as a thanksgiving our thoughts went also to those seminarians and young people in formation today. To them all I would like to repeat the words of Fr. Sterpi on the 27th August 1940 at the inauaguration of the new seminary : “ Don Orione has already gone to heaven and I too want to go there soon, but not before I see lots of seminarians, seminarians wearing their little halos ”. How lovely! Clerical students in their collars, with their halos. To tell the truth I saw a few shining halos among the clerical students of the Ivory Coast and those at the retreat in Velletri.


I consider it my duty to bring to the attention of all of you the new document published by the Holy See: Normae de gravioribus delictis (Norms for dealing with grave crimes) , published on the 15th July last. This completes and updates the norms already contained in the Apostolic Letter « Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela » and in Normae de gravioribus delictis of the Congregation for the docrine and the faith of 2001 .

Pope Benedict XVI, goes further than the text of this juridical document by his serious and concrete desire to promote the holiness of the Church and defend its purity of faith in the face of “crimes” ( ''delicta graviora ”) both doctrinal and moral that may offend her. Among these there are the serious abuses regarding minors, but also behaviours and mentalities that exist within the Church and among the clergy, to which the Pope asks to react without hesitation.

This theme is generating charicatures of false agendas with opposing motives. We must look for balance, that is, truth. We all know that an expression of affection, not only with minors, can be indiscreet or innapropriate. God forbid that it should be sinful or criminal. There is no need for lots of discussions and theories for when a friendship is “particular” as we used to use the term, it is the fruit of immaturity and not self giving love, it is selfishness instead of priestly charity. Our vow of special faithfulness to the Pope , manifests itself not only in accepting what the document says but also in sharing its aim: promoting holiness in consecrated people so that their personal dignity makes a more transparent witness of Christ and His Church.


Looking forward

As I said above, in our council meeting we have already made a blueprint for a programme over the next six years and fixed some dates in the calendar. In this first year our objective is to meet the provincial councils in some planned meetings. The counsellors are already making contact with the provincial secretariats. In these early months we have it in programme to meet as a council with the various provinces:: the 14th to 15th October we met the superiors of the Italian provinces, the 19th-21st October with those of Poland and in January Spain, February, Africa, March, Latin America.

The 4th to 6th December we will have a meeting of the two councils of the SDP and the LMSC (sisters). The sisters will have their General Chapter in May of 2011. We will also meet with the leaders of OSI (Orionine Secular Institute) and the OLM (Orionine Lay Movement).

Each province must also organise their Assembly well.

Whilst I am writing, news has just arrived of our servants of God, Father Richard Gil Barcelón and the Postulant Antonio Arrué Peiró , who have passed the exam of the Theological Comission “super martyrio” “great martyrdom”, which means that in the coming months it is possible they will reach the end of their journey leading to beatification. The news is good in itself, but we should only divulge it publicly after the completion of the decree. What we can do is to make these two servants of God better known. Let us thank the Lord. Now and again one of our confreres is set on a pedestal, but the whole family is firm in its commitment to holiness.

And now, at the conclusion as I usually do, I ask your prayers for those who have passed away and gone to their heavenly home since June.

Confreres Fr. Alfredo Enrico Riva and Fr. Pasquale Ruggeri. The Little Missionary sisters of Charity : Sr. Maria Eliane, Sr. Maria Assunta, Sr. Maria Priscilla Di Berardo, Sr. Maria Pudenziana and Sr. Maria Cleta. The father of Fr. Aurelio Fusi, of Fr. Dorian Mjeshtri, of Fr. Baldomero Román Britez and of Fr. Evaldo Pacheco Nuñes. the mother of Fr. Lorenzo Benzi, of the clerical student Edvaldo Antunes, of Fr. Paul Mboche Mwangi, of Mgr. Enemésio Angelo Lazzaris and of Bro.Evaristo Rolón Portillo. the brother of Fr. Mario Finati, of Fr. Pietro Ferrini, of Fr. Ezio Sonni, of Fr. Raffaele Lion (already deceased), of Fr. Giovanni and Fr. Marco Grossholz and of Fr. Wincenty Goralczyk. The sister Fr. Angelo Pellizzari.

We remember also in our prayers many friends, benefactors and lay associates who through humility and hiddenness have collaborated concretely in keeping open the tents of Divine Providence around the world.

In the Chapter there was great discussion about our elderly and sick confreres, to whom we dedicated some of the Chapter decisions. Their contribution to the Congregation is great in the years of their activities and precious still is what they still give. It is the duty of the other confreres in better health to help them in their fragility. May our Lord comfort them and keep alive in them hope and serenity in their trials and tribulations.

When I have to do something “in the name of don Orione”, I see before me his smiling face and I try to make it my own and pray that it reaches all his followers. Forward dear brothers, we are following a good path, let us sprinkle the sweet perfume of Christ along the way. I remember you all in Domino. (In the Lord)

Fr. Flavio Peloso, FDP
(Superior General)


[1] The phrase is from St. Francis de Sales. Don Bosco kept it written on a card in is room. Domenico Savio saw it “and Don . Bosco wanted him to understand its meaning. He invited him to translate it and get the meaning of it: O Lord, give me souls and keep the rest. Savio thought for a moment and then added: “I understand, here there is no shop with money but a shop for souls, I hope my soul will be part of this business”. (Memoirs of don Bosco V, 126). Don Orione often quoted the mottos of saint Francis de Sales and Don Bosco; in fact he translated it into the famous “ Anime, anime! ”.(Souls, souls)

[2] The motto of St. Paul ( 2 Cor 5, 14) was quoted in Latin alot by don Orione and was translated with various shades of meaning. The classic one is the one used by him in the Hymn of charity: “ the love of God and our brothers animates us, it urges us on and it pursues us ” ( Lettere/Letters II, 328). He uses other words too to express the experience of the inner' urget(urging) : “ it urges us on”, “it transports us”,it squeezes us”, “it pushes us”, “it makes us hasten to help ”. It should be noted that he often qualifies “ charity ” as “ the charity of Christ ”, “ the charity of God ”, “ the charity, the love of God and of neighbour ”.

[3] See the full speech of Benedict XVI. On the 24th June 2010, the Pope visited the don Orione Centre at Monte Mario to bless the staue of Mary “ salus populi romani (health of the people of Rome) , which is nine metres high. It was reset after the ruinous fall on 12th October 2009. Popularly known as “La Madonnina” (The little Madonna) it is one of the recent symbols of the history of Rome. Since the Chapter finished the day before the blessing, all the confreres were present and the Pope spoke particular words to them.

[4] The lines of action that are pertinent to each religious are, 1 , 2, 4, 7, 18, 20, 28, 29, 30, 37, 41 and the Decisions : 1, 17, 23.

[5] The lines of action that are pertinent to superiors and local communities are 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 39, 40 and the Decisions : 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 24, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35.

[6] The lines of action that are pertinent to the Provincial, the council and the secretariats of the province are, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38 and the Decisions : 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 35.

[7] The role of animation of the Superior General and the general council must have regard for all the guidelines of the Chapter, but more directly under their competence are the lines of action: 16, 25, 33, and the Decisions 4, 21, 30 and almost all the other decisions .

[8] See the letter of the 26th June 2010 with the responsabilities of each counsellor.

[9] The first missionaries left from Genoa on the 7th December 1913; on the 29th December they arrived at the port of Santos and reached their destination, Mar de Espanha, on the 2nd January 1914.

[10] Venerable Brother Ave Maria died on the 21st January 1964.

[11] Particular significance will be given to this event which the Church calls “dies natalis”: 12th March 1940, at 22.45: “J esus, Jesus, Jesus.....I am going ”.

[12] The date of the foundation is the 29th June, linked to the foundation of the first house atAmeno (Novara).

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