Bettina Raed, Antonio Valerio SJ, Frédéric Fornos SJ
The Continental Coordinators of the Pope’s Prayer Network, and their collaborators, had a meeting in Rome (22-25 January). It was the First Formation Meeting of The Way of the Heart. The Jesuit Continental Coordinators from North America, South America, Europe, South Asia, and Asia-Oceania were present, along with their collaborators. We remembered the recently deceased Continental Coordinator for Africa, Georges Katumba. The meeting was guided by the International Director Fr. Frédéric Fornos, together with his International Assistants, Fr. Antonio Valerio and Bettina Raed, and with the collaboration of Giulia Bianchi, International Assistant, and Patrizia Mesoraca, International Secretary. Fr. Pascual Cebollada, Postulator of the Society of Jesus for the Causes of the Saints, introduced us to the life and experience of Father Arrupe and his deep love for the Heart of Jesus.
This was the first international formation meeting of The Way of the Heart. As Pope Francis told us, The Way of the Heart is the spiritual foundation of our mission and of the Process of Recreation. This spiritual journey, in light of the Apostolic Exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel", helps us to enter into a mission of compassion for the world, entering deeply into the foundation of our mission to collaborate, by the offering of our own lives, in the challenges of humanity and of the mission of the Church. This meeting helped us arrive at a deeper and more profound understanding that if, in the Pope's Prayer Network, The Way of the Heart is not lived in depth, our recreation will not be understood or incarnated, at the risk of remaining merely the shell of a good communication image.
That is why this meeting was so important for us to enter into the experience of this spiritual journey and to connect with the Heart of Jesus, with his style and his gestures, which opens us up to the needs of so many brothers and sisters in this suffering world. It helps us to incarnate in our lives the mission of compassion made concrete in the Holy Father's intentions.
It has been a good time to meet, to pray together, to enter deeply into the specific way we have of living the devotion to the Heart of Jesus as a mission of compassion for the world and to strengthen the community that is this Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.
The participants have now returned to their places to begin in some cases and continue in others with the spreading of The Way of the Heart, helping their communities and parishes to enter into this spiritual experience (for example in spaces of prayer, adoration or celebration on the first Friday of the month, or spiritual retreats, etc.). We will meet again next year to share new experiences in the mission of living, giving and accompanying The Way of the Heart to more people. Little by little, we will offer training sessions in the various continents for the leaders of the Pope’s Payer Network (which includes the EYM) who wish to take advantage of this formation path.