John Paul II Extols Work of Capuchin Tertiaries

To Evangelize the Excluded Calls for a Rich Interior Life, He Says

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged a congregation dedicated to helping the excluded, to be witnesses of Christ's redemption in a world that seems to be interested only in "immediate success."



The Capuchin Tertiaries of the Holy Family, headed by the new general superior, Mother Julia Apesteguia Mariaezcurrena, were received in audience today on the occasion of their general chapter, being held in Rome this month.

The 43 chapter sisters are focusing on the "The Capuchin Tertiary, Sent to Proclaim Jesus Christ in a Globalized World."

The meeting coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of the founder, the Spanish Capuchin Venerable Luis Amigo y Ferrer (1854-1934), who also gave origin to the Tertiary Capuchin friars, dedicated to the protection of excluded young people.

"They are two significant events that offer you the opportunity to give new vigor to the spiritual experience of your charism and stimulate your characteristic evangelizing mission," the Pope said.

The men and women tertiaries have been pioneers in re-educative pedagogy and in the establishment of reform centers for children and youths with criminal problems. In this way, they have contributed in Spain and in Latin America to the development of legislation for minors and the establishment of tutelary courts for minors.

In Medellin, Colombia, the tertiaries administer the Luis Amigo University Foundation, the only university in the world that offers such specific studies.

In addition, the tertiary sisters carry out their apostolate among the poor and minors at risk. Their services include infant day-care centers and schools, health projects, and parish pastoral care in marginalized areas.

Speaking in Spanish, John Paul II expressed the Church's appreciation "for your work in favor of the neediest, the elderly, and the sick, youths and children in need of shelter, education, the joy of living and believing in Christ."

"Through your spiritual journey, you know that true salvation, the one that has no limits and does not expire in time, is only obtained with redemption, although this is in opposition to a mentality that often is interested only in promotion and immediate success," he noted.

The Pope encouraged the Capuchin Tertiaries "to intensify every day your union with Christ through contemplation and assiduous prayer and to give vitality to your works by imitating his redeeming attitude, as the more one lives from Christ, the more one can serve him in others."

"Moreover, from a profound and rich interior experience, it will be easier to transmit the attraction that Jesus inspires in the new generations, insinuating in them that penetrating voice of vocation, as was the case of those disciples called to 'be with him,' so that he could then 'send them out to preach,'" he concluded.

The Capuchin Tertiaries have more than 1,400 women religious and novices.