Chapter 2 - Community Life
Chapter Two - Community Life
19.--St. Vincent brought confreres together with Church approval so that, living in a new form of community life, they might undertake the evangelization of the poor. The Vincentian community is, therefore, organized to prepare its apostolic activity and to encourage and help it continually. And so, members, individually and collectively, should strive to fulfill their common mission through a wholehearted spirit of renewal in fraternal union.
20.--The Church finds the ultimate source of its life and action in the Trinity. The Congregation, within the Church, does the same.
1 Gathered in community to announce the Father's love for all, we express that same love in our own life. 2 We follow Christ who called apostles and disciples and shared a fraternal life with them to evangelize the poor. 3 Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we build up a unity among ourselves to achieve our mission, and so offer credible witness to Christ the Savior
§ 1.--Community life has been a special characteristic of the Congregation and its usual way of living from its very beginning. This was clearly the will of St. Vincent. Therefore, members should live in a house or in a legitimately constituted community according to our own law. § 2.--This fraternal life together, continually fostered by the mission, forms a community which promotes both personal and community development, and renders the work of evangelization more effective.
22.--It is the gift of ourselves and of all that we have that will truly make us present to the Community. At the same time, however, due regard should be given to personal privacy and to the furtherance by the Community of individual worth. The initiatives of members should be evaluated in the light of the purpose and spirit of the Congregation. In this way the individuality and charisms of each member come together to foster community and make the mission effective.
23.-- Each local community enjoys due autonomy so that it may truly be a place where a communal coordination of apostolate and life with the good of the Congregation at the provincial and universal levels is realized. The local community is thus a living part of the whole Congregation.
24.--We try to live our community life animated by love, particularly with the practice of "the five virtues," so that it will be a support to our apostolate and a sign to the world of the newness of evangelical life. Therefore:
1 we should strive to live in harmony to fulfill our mission, by supporting one another especially in difficulties, and by sharing our joy in simplicity of heart; 2 we should become co-responsible, helped by the necessary services of authority and together with the superior, in seeking the will of God in our life and works, thus engaging in active obedience. Moreover, we should foster mutual dialogue, and in this way overcome an excessively individualistic style of living; 3 we should pay close attention to the opinions and needs of each confrere humbly and fraternally, thereby working to overcome the difficulties involved in community life; we should use fraternal correction gently, and achieve reconciliation with one another; 4 with due care, we should try to create the conditions necessary for work, rest, prayer, and talking together, making prudent and moderate use of communication media. And having provided for the needs of our apostolate, we shall preserve some part of our house for community privacy.
25.--The Community is continually responsible for its own development, especially as we renew the principal elements of our way of living and acting. These are:
1 following Christ the Evangelizer as a community, which generates in us special bonds of love and affection; in this spirit we should, "like good friends," (CR, VIII, 2) join reverence for one another with genuine esteem; 2 the evangelization of the poor, which gives to all our work a unity that does not stifle diverse talents and gifts but directs them to the service of the mission; 3 prayer, above all in the Eucharist, which becomes the source of our spiritual, community, and apostolic life; 4 holding our goods in common, after the mind of St. Vincent, and sharing them willingly.
In this way our life becomes truly a community of friendship, work, prayer, and goods.
§ 1.--Sick, infirm, and aging confreres should have a special place in our hearts, since their presence is a blessing on our houses. Consequently, besides medical care and personal attention, we should provide for them the means to share in our daily lives and in our apostolate. § 2.--For members who have died, we should faithfully offer the suffrages prescribed in the Statutes.
27.--Each community should work at developing a community plan, according to the Constitutions, Statutes, and the provincial norms. We should use this plan as a means of directing our life and work, of fulfilling the recommendations we receive, and of examining periodically our life and activities.