Missionary Fraternity of Mary Newsletter Spring 2018

Missionary Fraternity of  Mary Newsletter Spring 2018

“Joy and happiness in the absence of abundance…”

“I knew they’d be poor, but I didn’t expect them to be living in those conditions,” said John, a senior at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, after a recent trip to Guatemala, his first time visiting a Third World country along with others from the Fraternity’s Twinning Partner in the USA, Lumen Christi Parish in Mequon, Wisconsin.  “There would be 4 or 5 people living in a single room that’s smaller than my bedroom,” he went on to observe.  John’s twin brother and classmate at MUHS, Daniel, who accompanied him on the trip, was also moved by the poverty he witnessed and was struck by the “tin-sheet houses” and “lack of plumbing”. 

In a talk before a group of seminarians Daniel commented, “I see so many good and beautiful things in your country but I also see some that could be improved.”  Both were struck with the warmth and faith of the people they met.

The boys also toured the Seminary of the Missionary Fraternity of Mary, which is in Guatemala City. “I didn’t expect it to be inside the city,” said John, who described the city as “all walls of concrete and barbed wire.” Visiting the Seminary “…was like stepping into a different universe,” explained Daniel.  “Outside, there was traffic and motorcycles, general congestion, and inside: just small white buildings interspersed among lush landscaping.”  The boys visited the chapel, the administrative offices, the gardens, the dormitories and the farm and chicken coop, which the Seminarians use to support themselves.  The twins also saw a newly-added conference room that the priests were particularly excited to show them, since it was built recently with donations from the United States.  “It was a welcoming environment,” said Daniel.  “They had mass for us, but we were late, and they still waited for us patiently in the chapel with candles lit the whole time,” John added.

           

I could see God more clearly there saying the Rosary…  

 

A memorable experience for the boys was climbing an active volcano, Mt.  Pacaya, with Fr. Jaime and some minor seminarians, teenage boys who study at the Seminary.  The volcano had erupted a few years prior, so there was a “heat vent” over which the boys all roasted marshmallows.  Hiking with the seminarians meant a lot to John and Daniel because “we got to see how much they were like us, joking around and having fun,” said John.  The boys likened the seminarians’ educational experience to their own at MUHS, an all-boys Jesuit school: “We believe in the same God.  We are so far away but believe in the same things.”  At the top of the volcano, overlooking the country-side, the boys prayed the Rosary together. “I could see God more clearly there saying the Rosary with them than sitting in my room,” said John, describing the impact of the prayer experience in the beautiful setting with their Guatemalan peers.

 

The boys were likewise inspired by the Missionary Fraternity of Mary priests they met.  “They do it all because of faith,” said John referring to the generosity of spirit that the priests exhibit in the way they care for others.  “I was struck by how motivated they were and how proud they were of their work,” added Daniel.  They met Julius, the first seminarian from Kenya to enter the Missionary Fraternity of Mary.  “He had so little but was always grateful for what he had” said John.  He was always smiling and joking, even when no one else was happy.”  Seeing the way the Missionary priests help other people “inspired me to want to help others,” said John.

The twins’ trip to Guatemala will not soon be forgotten.  “It’s an experience you keep in your mind,” Daniel said.  “It reminds you of how good you have it, and that there can be joy and happiness without an abundance of worldly goods and comforts.”

It was a welcoming environment  

 

John and Daniel had travelled to Guatemala to visit some of the Missionary Fraternity of Mary’s mission outposts and its Seminary.  In Guatemala City, the boys met Fr. Silvano, whose three mission parishes are in crime-ridden, poor neighborhoods.  “They offer clean water and give food to the poor,” said John of Fr. Silvano’s parishes, “plus the sacraments.”  Inside a city that is notorious for crime and violence, Fr. Silvano’s parish “brings people together and offers them a safe place,” said Daniel, who was most impressed with the community-building aspect of the Fraternity’s mission parishes.

The boys also toured the Seminary of the Missionary Fraternity of Mary, which is in Guatemala City. “I didn’t expect it to be inside the city,” said John, who described the city as “all walls of concrete and barbed wire.” Visiting the Seminary “…was like stepping into a different universe,” explained Daniel.  “Outside, there was traffic and motorcycles, general congestion, and inside: just small white buildings interspersed among lush landscaping.”  The boys visited the chapel, the administrative offices, the gardens, the dormitories and the farm and chicken coop, which the Seminarians use to support themselves.  The twins also saw a newly-added conference room that the priests were particularly excited to show them, since it was built recently with donations from the United States.  “It was a welcoming environment,” said Daniel.  “They had mass for us, but we were late, and they still waited for us patiently in the chapel with candles lit the whole time,” John added.

I could see God more clearly there saying the Rosary…  

A memorable experience for the boys was climbing an active volcano, Mt.  Pacaya, with Fr. Jaime and some minor seminarians, teenage boys who study at the Seminary.  The volcano had erupted a few years prior, so there was a “heat vent” over which the boys all roasted marshmallows.  Hiking with the seminarians meant a lot to John and Daniel because “we got to see how much they were like us, joking around and having fun,” said John.  The boys likened the seminarians’ educational experience to their own at MUHS, an all-boys Jesuit school: “We believe in the same God.  We are so far away but believe in the same things.”  At the top of the volcano, overlooking the country-side, the boys prayed the Rosary together. “I could see God more clearly there saying the Rosary with them than sitting in my room,” said John, describing the impact of the prayer experience in the beautiful setting with their Guatemalan peers.

The boys were likewise inspired by the Missionary Fraternity of Mary priests they met.  “They do it all because of faith,” said John referring to the generosity of spirit that the priests exhibit in the way they care for others.  “I was struck by how motivated they were and how proud they were of their work,” added Daniel.  They met Julius, the first seminarian from Kenya to enter the Missionary Fraternity of Mary.  “He had so little but was always grateful for what he had” said John.  He was always smiling and joking, even when no one else was happy.”  Seeing the way the Missionary priests help other people “inspired me to want to help others,” said John.

The twins’ trip to Guatemala will not soon be forgotten.  “It’s an experience you keep in your mind,” Daniel said.  “It reminds you of how good you have it, and that there can be joy and happiness without an abundance of worldly goods and comforts.”

Read More

Spring News

Missionary Fraternity of Mary Newsletter Spring 2017

                         Introducing   the   New General Council

                       Introducing the New General Council

Every six years Fraternity priests representing FMM missions around the world gather in Guatemala for two weeks of prayer and discernment, ending with the election of the General Council which will lead the Fraternity over the next six years.
 
The Eighth General Chapter meeting was held at the seminary complex in Guatemala City during the period of September 12th to the 30th, 2016.  This meeting provides Fraternity priests an opportunity to discern the origins of the society (i.e. where it came from) and plan for its future (i.e. where it is going), all the while remaining faithful to their founding constitution and echoing directly out of Christ’s challenge – “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  The General Chapter is a time of grace rooted in the Spirituality of Exodus thus giving credence to our founding principles – a missionary vocation which lives a fraternal life in community, serving the neediest, and going where sent.  The outcome of the meeting results in a resolution which reaffirms the society’scommitment to its beloved brothers in the ministry, solidarity particularly in missions wherein injustice, hunger, persecution, sickness and exhaustion is experienced along with cultural indifference.
 
The bulk of the General Chapter meeting concentrates on review of and refinement of its founding principles.  After long days of discussion, discernment, and reaffirmation of our founding principles, the members then proceed to elect new leadership for the next six years.  The balance of this newsletter is therefore dedicated to presenting the General Council which will guide the Missionary Fraternity of Mary during the period of October 2016 through September 2022.

                      General Moderator – Rev. Eder Erwin Escobar

                    General Moderator – Rev. Eder Erwin Escobar

From San Marcos in Guatemala, Father Eder entered the seminary at age 22.  While observing other foreign missionary priests working in Guatemala he began to question “why couldn’t I become like them?”  He became involved in the youth ministry movement in his parish, an entity which eventually became the Missionary Fraternity of Mary.  Soon he became convinced that God had called him to become a missionary priest as part of that new society which was founded in 1985.  Father Eder received his degrees in philosophy and theology at the Fraternity’s seminary in Guatemala and subsequently received a degree in Spirituality at the Pontifical Institute of the Carmelite Fathers in Rome.  He was ordained on September 29, 1990 and served in ministry in various parishes in Italy while working on his advanced degree in Spirituality.  In 2004 he was elected General Moderator of the Fraternity and served in this position until 2010 wherein he returned to Italy to serve as pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish and as mentor to young Fraternity priests studying in Rome.  In September 2016 he was re-elected as Moderator General and will be guiding the Fraternity in his second term in this position.  His greatest desire and prayer is that the young men in formation at the Fraternity love and identify with the spirituality of the Fraternity and in its missions around the world.

                                      Vicar General - Rev. Luis Carlos DeLeon

                                    Vicar General - Rev. Luis Carlos DeLeon

Fr. Luis Carlos comes from Mazatenango in southern Guatemala.  Entering the seminary at age 18 he chose to become a missionary priest because he understood that God had a goal for him to serve those most in need.  He was also strongly influenced by his pastor whom he felt gave a strong testimony to the ministry.  Ordained on September 29, 1990 after receiving his formation at Pope Paul VI Institute at the Missionary Fraternity of Mary seminary he ministered for 4 years in the Diocese of Wilmington (Delaware) among migrant workers.  After returning to Guatemala for a brief period in 1996, he was assigned to work at the Fraternity’s mission in the Diocese of La Spezia in Italy until 2011.  At the VII General Chapter meeting he was elected as Prefect of Formation and served on the General Council until September 2016.  At the VIII General Chapter meeting he was elected as Vicar General of the Society, a position which he will hold until 2022.  He would like to dedicate his future time to strengthening the formation program at the seminary to improve the spirituality of the young men in formation.

         Prefect of Formation – Rev. Enmer Ovalle Pacheco (Right)

       Prefect of Formation – Rev. Enmer Ovalle Pacheco (Right)

Fr. Enmer Ovalle is from Acatenango in Guatemala and entered the seminary at age 18.  He decided to become a missionary priest because he started to see the great needs of the church.   The youth group at his parish had a great missionary spirit and another priest in his parish encouraged him to discern his vocation.  He began his formation at the diocesan seminary of San Jose in Solola and completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the Pope Paul VI institute at the Missionary Fraternity of Mary.  Ordained to the priesthood in Venezuela on April 4, 1996 he returned to Guatemala to work in formation until 1997 and afterwards was sent to serve at the Fraternity’s mission in Venezuela.  In 2004 he was appointed as the Delegate Head of the Venezuelan mission, a position he held until September 2016 when he was elected to the General Council.  His strongest desire is to increase member commitment to the Fraternity, strengthen fraternal life of its members, and to work towards increasing vocations to the priesthood.  Having recently served in Venezuela during a period of great turmoil, he is committed to encouraging obedience and responsibility for all missionaries to go where they are sent.

                  Prefect of Finance – Rev. Silvano Otto Velasquez

                Prefect of Finance – Rev. Silvano Otto Velasquez

Born in San Marcos, Guatemala near the border with Mexico, Father Silvano entered the seminary at age 18.  He was ordained a priest on February 3, 1995 and spent the next 5 years working in formation at the seminary in Guatemala City.  In 1997 and for the next 2-1/2 years he was sent to study dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  During his studies he served as pastor in one of the parishes supported by the Monte Cassino Abbey.  Upon completion of his studies he returned to Guatemala to continue working in formation at the seminary for the next 7 years.  Most recently he served as pastor at St. Raphael Parish on the outskirts of Guatemala for 10 years in a crime ridden area in which his parishioners experienced much suffering and violence.  In September of 2016 he was elected to the General Council of the Fraternity.  His goal is to help all new members of the Fraternity to identify with its spirit of fraternal life and to work towards the future welfare of the society.

Summary

Please pray for the new council members that they may remain faithful to the call of the Lord and the founding principles of the Missionary Fraternity of Mary.  Be assured that they will always give you what they have, their prayers and full commitment to advance the gospel message and spread the Catholic faith throughout the world.

All contributions are tax deductible and are used exclusively for the work of the Fraternity in Guatemala and its missions worldwide. For more information or to mail contributions, please send to:
Missionary Fraternity of Mary, Ltd.
124 E. Freistadt Road,
P.O. Box 94, Thiensville, WI 53092