Please keep in your prayers our seminarians. They are our future.

Sub Tuum Praesidium (Prayer in honor of Mary)

Sub Tuum Praesidium

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“Christian perfection does not consist of being a priest or a brother (religious or lay
person), but in loving God and others evermore (EP 1385).  You should ask
the Lord to make you grow in love for Him and others.” (EP 119)




My dear brothers and sisters,

We are celebrating the feast of our founder St. Joseph Calasanz, and thus we make
memory of his life and vision; a vision which, inspired, guided, and
strengthened by the Holy Spirit, brought him into the ministerial holiness of
serving God in the poor children of his time in Rome. This is the pedagogical
charity of which Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke about referring to Calasanz
and to the Piarists of today’s generation.

This year we celebrate his feast in the context of a new reality: the new Piarist
Province of the United States of America and Puerto Rico. Its birth took place
symbolically in the SEPI, Miami, on June 12, Pentecost Sunday. Therefore, as in
the case of our Holy Founder, we are bathed by the Spirit from the very outset.
No wonder we can also be called “Province of the Holy Spirit.”

How are we going to be faithful to this reality? The words of Jesus to Nicodemus
hammer our ears, “Nicodemus, you must be born again; you must be born from
water and the Spirit”. Our Piarist life is about living in depth the mystery of
our baptism, in which water filled with the Spirit created something new that,
mysteriously and effectively, is still acting in us until we reach the
perfection of becoming Christ like, surrounded by children and young people,
together with the laity, and listening to the voice of the Spirit of Jesus:
“Unless you change and become like little children…” (Jn. 3, 5)

We, both consecrated religious and the laity, are in the boat of the Church, the
boat of our Piarist Family in USA and Puerto Rico, in communion with the Order
all over the world. This boat can also signify each and every one of us.

Traveling by sea or by air we at times feel the comfort of peace and repose, especially
when the plain or the boat is steady in the air, or upon the sea. But what
happens when the waves or the atmospheric conditions rebel against the vessel?
We tremble. We know the beautiful words of Calasanz inviting to find peace in
Him when things seem to be difficult, “Do not lose your inner peace. Try to
keep your heart still and united to God, having recourse to prayer whenever you
feel most perturbed, for the Lord uses to calm the tempest of the sea.” (EP

Why do I elaborate on this? Because ahead of us we have a beautiful work of art to
be done.  It is the work of the Spirit.  But the Spirit will never do anything without our permission and active
collaboration. We all are “artists” when we get deeply connected with the
Spirit, which is by its very nature “creative” and “active”. He / She always
does something new. (Is 43, 19; Eph 2, 10)

We all are actively required for the beautiful project of the new province
entrusted to us; we all are requested to come forward with his or her gifts at
the service of the great mission which comes enwrapped in the very objective of
our fusion, “to restructure in order to bring forth a new life.”

Our first chapter (Miami, June, 13-17 2011) gave us three main priorities to start
with: Vocational ministry, the work of formation, and the revitalization of our
ministry as Piarists. Thus the cards are on the table, the players are ready,
and the Spirit, who has always been with us, will continue assisting us; we are
completely assured that this is the Spirit’s work.

After having visited all the communities and works of our province, including the
formation houses in Mexico and Colombia, where we have many junior brothers and
novices, I come to the conclusion that we – religious and lay Piarists – have a
bright future of hope. We have great potentials to be explored, discovered, and
shared. Don’t be afraid! Bring them forward with generosity! God shall multiply
with his grace the goodness stored within.

Recently, on August 18, Pope Benedict XVI reminded in Madrid to a group of young
theologians that a teacher is the one who preaches not him/herself, but the
truth about Jesus, a truth that embraces not only pure knowledge and theory,
but the heart as well: knowledge and love. How well this intuition does matches
with the vision of Calasanz for a holistic understanding of education, “Piety
and Literacy”, “Evangelization through Education”! We are “cooperators with the
Truth.” (Proemium of the Constitutions of Calasanz, 3)

On his feast let us renew our deepest desire to be the best we are and the best we
can be, helping one another to make of our province a real work of art, though
at times the result may be only a caricature of what we dream. But, remember,
the artist (we all are artists) is the one who tries again and again, accepting
the defeat but never surrendering to it. We are fruit of the enduring patience
and the creative openness of our Holy Founder to the action of the Spirit.

Mary is the most perfect pattern for our journey. That’s why I end this reflection
with the words of Calasanz referred to her: “It is fitting for us to have
recourse to the help and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under
whose protection our work began.” (EP 4417)

Fort Lauderdale, FL, August 24, 2011

Fernando Negro Marco, Sch. P.