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It is not fair

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					                         It is not fair

                                               Trinity Sunday 2003
                   Fr. Justin Vocationary, Florham Park, NJ – USA
To all Vocationist Fathers and Brothers

My Beloved confrere,
               May God the Holy Spirit unite us more with the Son
to the Father!

Introduction

The kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a man who
went out early in the morning to hire some men to work in his
vineyard. He agreed to pay them the regular wage, a silver coin for
the day, and send them to work in his vineyard. He went again to
the market place at nine o‟ clock and saw men standing there doing
nothing, so he told them: „you also go and work in the vineyard
and I will pay you a fair wage‟. So they went. Then at twelve o‟
clock and then again at three o‟ clock he did the same thing. It was
nearly five o‟ clock when he went to the marketplace and saw
other men standing there. „Why are wasting the whole day here
doing nothing?‟ he asked them. „No one has hired us‟ they
answered. „Well then you go and work in my vineyard‟ he told
them.

When evening came, the owner told his foreman: “Call the
workers and pay them their wages, starting with those who were
hired last and ending with those who were hired first”. The men
who had begun to work at five o‟ clock were paid a silver coin
each. So when the men who were the first to be hired came to be
paid, they thought they would get more; but they too were given a
silver coin each. They took their money and started grumbling
against the employer: „these men who were hired last worked only
on hour‟, they said, „while we put up with the whole day‟s work in
the hot sun, yet you paid them the same as you paid us!‟

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“Listen, friend”, the owner answered one of them, „I have not
cheated you. After all, you agreed to do one day‟s work for a silver
coin. Now take your pay and go home. I want to give this man who
was hired last as much as I gave you. Don‟t I have the right to do
as I wish my own money? Or are you jealous because I am
generous? (Mt 20: 1-16).

The fact that a good deed, even if not deserved was done to a third
party does not constitute an injustice or unfairness toward us.

Justice and Injustice

What is just and what is unjust? „Just‟ is that action that gives to
God what is God‟s and to men what belongs to them, what is due
to them in force of a right. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar‟s and to
God what is God‟s (Mt 22:21).

„Unjust‟ is whatever deprives God or an individual of what is due
to him. Injustice is not to render to Caesar what is Caesar‟s.
Justice can be – and often is called the principle of equality; justice
however does not mean to treat everyone the same way, to give
everyone the same reward. Justice requires that everyone be given
what he is entitled to, what he deserves, what he needs. Justice
does nor eliminate, but respects the individuality, the uniqueness of
each human being.

Wrong question

In Philosophical questions (who do not recall the famous
syllogism?) the worst defeat for the proponent of the question was
when the respondent would deny his premise or the “major”.

Often in condemning someone or something we exclaim: “it is not
fair!” If we ask the wrong question, we will come up with the
wrong answer; we build our syllogism on the wrong premise.

Rather than asking ourselves whether an act, a disposition of the
superior is fair or unfair, we should ask ourseleves whether that
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specific action, that obedience or initiative may help us to be
saints, or how can we see it in the light of the Gospel or of the
vows we have professed. If we ask the wrong question, we come
up with the wrong answer.

While justice requires the minimum, charity, upon which religious
life is founded, requires the maximum. Justice is the foundation,
the basis of our spiritual life; upon it we build the edifice of
charity.

When we experience a certain rebellion, we should seriously ask
ourselves a question that might come more or less spontaneously
is: Is my dissatisfaction, my internal rebellion, my condemnation
motivated by the desire to do more and better for the glory of God
and the well-being of the souls or rather by my selfishness, by my
laziness and by the desire to be left alone?

Let us then be careful, my dear confrere, about the question you
ask yourself. A wrong question will lead you to a wrong
conclusion.


It is not fair!

Those who know me, know well that the worst of me comes out
whenever I am accused of unfairness. This accusation is made only
to excuse one‟s laziness or incorrespondence. I would like to ask
you with the Lord: “Are my ways unfair, or rather are your ways
unfair?”

It is good to keep in mind that often the expression „it is not fair‟ is
simply used to mean „it is not practical, it is not pleasant, it is not
convenient, it may not be opportune‟.

I compiled a list of the accusations of unfairness that I hear from
other confreres. This list is far from being complete. Some
accusations have been slightly alerted to harmonize them with
similar complaints.
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When we insist on seeing the duties, obligations and opportunities
of religious life in terms of justice, we place ourselves on the
wrong track; thus we will never reach our destination and probably
will cause some crashes in which we are not only ones to suffer.
For us, consecrated people, justice is the starting point, not our
ultimate goal. Justice is the foundation upon which we build the
castle of charity!

Several „It is not fair!‟ quotes from the Old and New
Testament

“The Lord is just and loves justice” (Ps 11:15). I will list some of
the real or perceived injustices or complaints of the Old and New
Testament simply because they help us to understand that there is
nothing new under the sun, and also because they can help us to
see how often the Lord comes to the defense of the accused ones.

It is not fair:

That man be alone (Gn 2: 18).
That the just dies on account of the sinners (Gn 18: 22-26).
That the just should die for the faults of the unjust(Gn Ibid).
That the sinner may convert and live (Ez 18: 21 – 30).
That the holy man may turn sinner and die (Ez Ibid).
Give the children‟s food to the dogs (Mk 7:28).
To pluck ears of grain on the Sabbath (Mk 2:25).
To eat with sinners and tax collectors (Mc 2:16).
That you come to me to be baptized (cfr. Mt 3:14)
To harvest where one has not sown.
To set up tricks (?) for the Lord (cfr. Mt 22: 15-22).
To give to everyone the same reward (Mt 20: 1-16).
To accept an invitation and then fail to attend (Mt 24: 1-14).
To eat without first washing your hands (Mc 7:3).
To participate at a banquet without a nuptial dress (Mt 22: 11-14).
To aspire for the first place (Mk 10: 35).
To live with your brother‟s wife (Mk 6: 18)
To heal on the Sabbath (Lc 6, 6-11).
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That you stay here sleeping peacefully, while we are sinking (Lc 8:
22-25)
That an unfruitful tree takes up space (Lk 13: 6-9)

God is just and loves justice, but not whatever seems just is really
just; not whatever looks unjust is really unjust. There is the danger
of stretching the idea of justice and of injustice, as I have
purposely done in the above quotations from the Bible.

It is good to recall the admonition of our Lord: “Unless your
justice surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter
the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5;20). Let us make ours the forth
beatitude: „Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, they
shall be satisfied‟ (Mt 5:6).

The „it is not fair‟ of the Vocationists

Every Christian, every human being must practice, promote and
defend justice. A world, a country, an institution without justice
cannot be blessed and cannot prosper. It is proper and fair to raise
our voice against injustice.

Often the Vocationists raise their voices to protect against true or
perceived injustices. While I urge you to faithfully and loyally
defend justice at any rate, I also warn you not to stretch the concept
of justice to fit your pleasure or your comfort. Do not consider
your own “I”, your own pleasure and comfort, the meter or
criterion of justice.

Here is the partial list of the crisis or complaints against real or
perceived injustices in the Congregation. To each complaints,
follows in italilcs, some kind of explanation.

1. “It is not fair that our superior pay no attention to the needs
of the confreres”.

Fair complaint. The supeiors should always procure the well-being
of their dependants. The dependants can and must help the
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superiors to fulfill this duty by manifesting to them their needs. The
superiors have also the obligation to help their subjects to discern
true needs from fictious needs, as for example, the need of living in
a certain area.

2. “It is not fair that a confrere be assigned to a specific
ministry without previous consultation”.

The dialogue, the consultation with an individual religious, before
transferring or assigning to a new mission is advisable, prudent,
opportune, but it is not required for the validity of the obedience. It
remains always true that after the consultation the superior must
provide for the needs of Congregation or of the specific ministry;
consequently he cannot always grant the request or the desire of
the individual. You cannot think of closing a residence of
abandoning a ministry because nobody is willing to do it. To
consult or to listen to an individual does not mean that he tells the
superior what he wants and that the superior must then obey him.

3. “It is not fair that the same people have to work all the time”

He who has the spirit of laboriosity and appreciates the value of
work, is always working, works well and joyfully. It is easy to ask
such a confrere to do something. The confreres affected by laziness
or apathy do not overcome easily such a sickness. The problem is
not on the part of those who work, but on the part of those who do
not do their share of work or service.

4. “It is not fair that obedience and re-assignments always be
imposed on the same people”.
Obedience must always be an act of love and generosity. He who
obeys willingly loves his vocation and remains faithful to his vows.
He who does not want to obey is spiritually ill. To the one who has
more, more will be given. To the one who is richer in merits of
obedience, more opportunities will be given him. No superior
wants to be a torturer. I believe that there is a tendency not to ask
a sacrifice from the person who is deemed incapable of such an
act. There is no injustice on the part of the one who obeys or on the
                                   6
part of the one who commands. Injustice is on the part of the ones
who willingly and irresponsibly place themselves in a state of
apathy and indifference.

5. “It is not fair that second class confreres are always
assigned in situations and places more remote from Naples and
Rome, while first class confreres are always assigned to the
most prestigious positions.”

I do not believe in the first and second class division. I believe
however that some are more generous than others, more gifted
than others, more virtuous than others. About places, I would point
out that the seven members of the central government of the
Congregation come from seven different areas, from seven
different voting groups. The importance of a position does not
depend on its geographical location.

6. “It is not fair that only Italians occupy the positions of
greatest responsibility within the Congregation.”

This is basically the same complaint as in number 5. The great
majority of our confreres are still Italians. The Vocationist Fathers
and Brothers form other countries are still very young. (Even
though Italian by birth, I am American citizen and Fr. Ademire is a
Brazilian). The Vocationists are all brothers, members of the same
family; they all have the same duties, the same rights and the same
opportunities; the place of birth is of no importance. Parochialism,
nationalism have been overcome by globalization.

7. “It is not fair that while some confreres are treated with
great consideration, others are neglected or mortified”.

I believe that any parent honestly believes and sustains that all
children are treated equally. Even though all children are equal,
those who are sick ( and in religious life, „sick‟ are all those who
are lukewarm, indifferent, virtuous) receive more care and
attention in view of helping their healing process. Healthy
confreres are treated as healthy and the sick ones are treated as
                                   7
healthy and the sick ones are treated as sick. (Spiritually speaking
are you healthy or sick?).

8. “It is not fair to value our confreres positively or negatively
only on the basis of their financial contribution.”

Absolutely correct. Especially when we underline ‘Only’. The real
heroes, the martyrs of our Congregation are our Vocation
Directors, Formators and Educators, who live in dire poverty,
undergo demanding sacrifices, an naturally are not able to
contribute much financially. Several vocation educators contribute
more than some pastors and teachers. How can we not admire the
confreres of our Italian Novitiate hose in Altavilla, who are
making serious effort to sustain the Novitiate without contribution
from the general treasurer. I repeat what I have said elsewhere:
He who loves, does and give, he who does not love, does not do
and does not give.

9. “It is not fair the some are granted permissions, while other
are denied.”

I am not aware that this happened in the last three years, and I do
not know prior to that. I am imperative that we overcome the idea
that all the Vocationists are like sausages: all the same length,
same thickness, same weight, same ingredients. Let us not destroy
the individuality and uniqueness or our confreres. Once again, I
repeat, not all have the same taste, the same needs, the same
inclinations or attractions, the same ability to utilize an experience
for the common good.

10. “It is not fair that often the communication of our superior
deal with financial matters (money)”.

We are not of the world, but we are still in the world. We still need
housing, food, clothes, medicine, educations and transportation.
More than one confrere has complained that Father General
during the Canonical Visitation asks questions about the spiritual
life of the individuals. We must avoid excesses at all times. “Ista
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oportet facere et illa not omittere”. We should not underestimate
the ability of the world and of money to enslave us.

The Congregation does not belong to the superiors; as
administrators of the superiors must give an account of their
administration, of what comes in and what goes out. I believe that
the superior (not only the superior general) has a duty to conduct
an open and transparent administration. It is hoped that the
knowledge of the needs of the Congregation and of the generosity
of the confreres may be an invitation to generosity and imitation.

11. “It is not fair that only some have the opportunity to
participate in the community celebrations in Pianura, while
others cannot attend.”

 Having lived for so many years outside of Italy, I am familiar with
this kind of suffering. I hope and pray that those who can take
advantage of the opportunity to enjoy such family celebrations.
Those who live far away from Pianura can and should celebrate
the same feast days wherever they are. From time to time they may
also plan some vacations to coincide with our community‟s
celebrations. I dare to say with Fr. Justin: “In good things take
example from the undersigned”.

12. “It is not fair that I am constantly being asked to be more
generous toward the congregation, while others, who have the
possibility of giving prefer to give very little.”

Fr. Justin teaches us and urges to pray: „Always more, always
better‟. I believe that this principle may also be applied to
financial productivity. We must overcome the tendency to count
money in the pockets of others. Lack of generosity on the part of
some should not kill my generosity. The talent (read „position‟,
„assignment‟) is taken away from the one who buries it and does
not produce anything for his matter!



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13. “It is not fair that pastors be constantly asked to nag their
parishioners and solicit more financial contributions from
them for the needs of the Congregation.”

To „ask‟ does not equal to „force‟. Many persons are eager to
contribute to a noble cause and they need inspirations and
guidance. According to the agreement with every diocese, it is
asked that in every parish staffed by the Vocationist, be taken two
yearly collections, one for the missions and the other for the
Vocationary. From the generous response of the people it does not
look like people are nagged by the these collections; maybe some
stingy, narrow minded pastors (thank God, fortunately very few)
are disturbed by such activities.

 14. “It is not fair that some can choose the confreres to live
with, while other are not given such an opportunity and must
live with the more difficult people we have in congregation.”

It was and it remains my dream to create “happy marriages”. Up
to this date I have not succeeded, My idea of happy marriage was
not and it is not that one could chose the confreres to live with; the
superiors should study the various personalities or characters of
the individuals before putting them together. But, what should we
do with those confreres who by nature are difficult or problematic
and make life difficult if not impossible for others?

Ask yourself: Am I one of those difficult consecrated persons that
make life difficult or impossible for others? If you have been such
in the past, make sure not to continue being a problem person any
longer.

15. “That reassignment (or my new assignment) is not fair.”

A new assignment may not be pleasant, may not be prudent, may
not be the best etc. but a reassignment can never be unfair. To be
unfair it should deprive a religious of some right, of something that
belongs to him etc…Whenever a religious is given a new
assignment or mission he knows that it is a temporary assignment,
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a temporary service. According to the law of justice whoever give
us a position, assignment of mission can also take it away or
change it.

16. “It is not fair that prayer life is left solely to the will of the
individual.”

Our life must be a life of prayer. More than anything else we
should be concerned with prayer and the organization of our life of
prayer. Personal prayer and community prayer must abound in the
life of every religious. Community prayers must be regular, and as
far as possible must conform itself to the prescriptions expressed in
our Directory. Let us not forget that the program of life of every
community must be approved by the major superior. Private
prayer must meet the needs and attraction of the individual. In the
organization of personal prayer each individual may consult his
spiritual director.

17. “It is not fair the Family Council does not meet regularly.
(It is not fair that the local superior does not consult or inform
the rest of the community, or that he behaves as of he were the
owner of the Community). It is not fair that the members of
the community be kept in the dark about the financial status of
the community.”

The superior is the one responsible, the coordinator, not the owner
nor the tyrant of the community. How can a superior expect the
obedience of his confreres when he himself does not obey to the
dispositions of the Constitutions and of the major superiors? The
Family Council must meet regularly every month, often I advise
some communities, to do weekly, in order to have greater sharing
and more involvements. It should happen that the “I” of the
superior should decrease, so that “we” of the community may
increase. Is it possible that the lack of generosity of some confreres
may be the cause of the secrecy of the superiors?



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18. “It is not fair to improvise vocation educators and
formators.”

In the Society of Divine Vocations this should be impossible Each
and everyone of us is a vocation educator and formator by
profession and charisma. All our religious and priestly formation is
ordained to make of us true Vocationists!

It would be proper and convenient that after a long period of
service in other ministries, before returning to vocation ministry an
individual be given the opportunity to review or update his
immediate preparation. We try to do this. But, if unexpectedly a
vocation educator gets sick or becomes unable to carry on his
service, or one who was getting ready for such a service at the last
moment fails us, what should we do? Should we close the novitiate
or send home the students in formation? Certainly not! Be ready,
because, you never know when the Congregation may need your
services as a vocation educator.

19. “It is not fair that reconstruction work is done without
informing the other members of the community.”

It applies here too, what has been said in number 17. I must only
add that there are specific dispositions that no transformation
work can be done without the express written permission of the
major superiors. Even what is good, beautiful or necessary must be
done the proper way.

20. “It is not fair that in some of our residences the whole
community is seen in function of the parish.”

Every excess is dangerous. A religious community can never be
seen only in function of a parish, not even if the main service of the
community is the pastoral care of a parish. Even within the parish
service a religious community must retain its identity and its
nature.


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21. “It is not fair that it is always the same people to render
certain services.”

It is very easy to ask those confreres who have the spirit of
laboriosity and generosity to render certain extraordinary
services. How do you shake the indolence or laziness of some
people? These types of people will never have time to do anything
and at the last moment they disappoint you. I have had my share of
disappointments trying to give an opportunity to lazy people or
people that know only how to talk or brag.

22. “It is not fair that some confreres are not given any specific
assignment within a community.”

The main duty of each and everyone of us is to become a saint and
to sanctify others being witnesses of the eschatological truths. To
do this one does not need an assignment or a function. For those
who want to serve, it is not necessary to have a title; they find the
way to be of service. Unfortunately, as many Italians, some
Vocationists are not looking for an opportunity to be of service, but
they seek a position. Honestly,, I believe that the problem is the
opposite: everyone of us has two, three or more services to render!

23. “It is not fair that the superiors do not respect the decisions
of the educators.”

This is a strange case! If a major superior does not respect the
ability of a confrere, how can he entrust to him the very important
mission of educating our students? As I have said of the local
superior, I say of the educator: he is not the owner nor the tyrant
of the students.

The educator accompanies and foster s the growth of the students
and then gives his evaluation and recommendation together with
the other members of the formation team. The major superior with
his council has the right and the duty of admitting or dismissing.


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The educator, or better the formation team recommends, advices,
suggests and the major superior decides according to Canon Law
and the Constitutions.

I want to take advantage of this opportunity to express once again
all my esteem, affection and gratitude toward all our vocation
educators and formators. I also want to remind those who want to
create confusion or divisions that the educators form, evaluate and
recommend, and to the major superiors is given the task of
admitting or dismissing.

To have power of life or death upon a vocation is something that
should make us tremble rather than exult. And what to say,, when
two or three members of the same formation team express
contrasting or diverging evaluations and recommendations about
the same person? In the view of this perceived injustice toward the
student‟s vocation, the poor major superior in such a case cannot
diverge from any of them!

Before cutting from the roots, I prefer to water, manure, clean and
trim. Before cutting from the roots, I want to make sure that I have
really tried everything. I am sure that Fr. Justin did the same thing.

I like to consider myself, in my service as Father General, as the
first educator of the Congregation!

The list of the perceived injustices could be much longer. Thinking
of these complaints I am reminded of the story of the old man, the
young boy and the donkey: it is not fair that the boy mounts the
donkey while the old man walks; it is not fair that old man mounts
the donkey and the young boy walks; it is not fair that the boy and
old man both mount the donkey; it is not fair that the old man and
the boy walk while the donkey does not carry anything; and finally
it not fair that the boy and the old man carry the donkey! I am
consoled by the thought that our mission is to serve and not please.

The Injustice

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The congregation, as inspired by God, as established by Fr. Justin
and as approved by the Church, is not and cannot be a structure of
sin or of injustice. It is and must be saint and sanctifier, and as
such, it must be built on solid foundations of justice. The Building
raised on these foundations must not be a house of justice but of
generosity, love and holiness.

If in the Congregation there are some injustices these are the result
of some of our abuses or neglect.

True injustice is that caused by each and everyone of us who
proclaims to be Vocationist without being such in the reality of his
life, or without even trying to be such.

We have been founded and we exist so that we may be the servants
of the saints, the servants of the Church, the servants of the Divine
Vocations. When we fail to accomplish this mission, we try to
justify our failure by complaining about non-existing injustices.

I repeat: it applies to us the admonition of our Lord: “If your
justice does not surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you
will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5, 20)

If we immerse ourselves truly in the life of the Blessed Trinity, our
vision of justice will be rendered more precious by the vision of
love and generosity. Instead of thinking about our personal good or
comfort, we would be thinking about and we would be inventing
new ways to serve and to give of ourselves. We would not think of
our perceived injustices, of our overlooked rights, we would rather
be thankful for all the opportunities that the Lord offers us for our
purification, for our sanctification and for the sanctification of our
neighbor.
Conclusion

Concluding I invite you wholeheartedly to mediate on article 457
of the Ascension:


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1. Consider a special grace of the Lord (and then thank him, for
example, using the Canticle of the Blessed Mother) the fact that we
are object of complaints, or unfair criticism, however, we will
never give any cause for it. And will eliminate any cause if there
be such.

2. Likewise, we consider it a special grace, the fact that we are not
understood, helped, favored or protected in our own initiatives and
good deeds; we also consider it as a special grace of God when we
see that our good intentions are misinterpreted, prohibited,
contrasted, fought.

3. Likewise, we consider as a special grace of the Lord, the fact we
are deprived of every esteem, support and human means; that we
are left, abandoned, betrayed by our friends, by those who have
been helped by us, by our relatives; likewise, we consider as a
special favor of the Lord isolation and solitude.

4. Acknowledge our fault for all the bad things that happen around
us, in our environment, in our society, attributing it to our lack of
prayer, to our lack of cooperation with grace etc.

5. Consider yourself unworthy of enjoying any favor of the Lord,
while asking for the same, consider yourself unworthy of enjoying
peace of conscience, while doing everything in your power to
obtain it; unworthy of avoiding purgatory, etc.

6. Loving accept death with all its surrounding pains, humiliations,
renewing the act of acceptance of death at the end of every day, at
the end of every major happening, in every danger in life (as for
example, during storms, public calamities, sicknesses, etc…)

7. Effectively condemn to death whatever is faulty, too human, or
simply material, in all affections, relations, occupations, in
everything.”

May the Blessed Trinity grant you the joy of living a life of
generous donation (offering) to God and to the brothers and to be
                                16
every more a bond of love and union in imitation of the Divine
Persons. How beautiful is Fr. Justin‟s idea indicating that I am a
gift of one divine person to the other. At the conculsion of his
priestly prayer, Jesus says to the apostles, “You are my Fathers‟
gift to me.” I am a gift only when I am donated or donate myself to
another.

With every best wish I greet you, embrace you and bless you.

                                                   Sincerely yours,
                                       Fr. Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V.

P. S.

1. I am writing from the United States where I am since May 27 on
a canonical visitation and for medical reasons as well. On June 2, I
underwent cataracts surgery in my left eye. Thank God the
procedure has been successful. In a few days I should also have
biopsy done.

2. Pray for our two novices, Babu and Rijo, who will take their
first vows on June 29, and for Fr. Ezio Antunes, who has been
appointed full time Vocation Director for the United States.

3. From May 2 to May 12 with Fr. Alfonso Limone, I visited our
communities in India. There, 4 postulants were admitted to the
novitiate; seven novices were admitted to the first vows and twenty
temporary professed brothers renewed their vows. India is a
growing community.

4. The second dormitory in our Mulayam Divine Union
Vocationary is not completed yet. We have made arrangements to
have it completed by the end of the year.

5. We are taking three professed brothers from India to Italy; one
who has already completed his theological studies, comes to attend
a course for educators and the other two for their philosophy and
theology.
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6. From May 13 to May 22 with Fr. Alfonso I visited also our
communities in the Philippines, where five postulants were
admitted to the novitiate and three temporary professed brothers
renewed their vows.

7. Our confreres from India and the Philippines send their
greetings, express their gratitude while also expressing their desire
to receive your news and possibly some visit from you.

8. During the month of April, Fr. Alfonso Limone visited our
communities in Nigeria. On May 27 Fr. Ademir Martini had also
gone to visit the Nigerian communities. Since the construction
work for our new Fr. Justin Vocationary has started, our frequent
presence is required.

9. The US Delegation has made another great act of sacrifice, love
and generosity giving and extraordinary sacrifice of $200, 000. 00
to pay for the construction of the one of the 8 buildings of Fr.
Justin Vocationary in Ibadan. The US delegation has requested that
one of the buildings be dedicated to, and designated as “Fr. Mario
Muccittelli Hall.” When will I receive the happy surprise of your
generous donation for this project?

10. On July 5, our confreres Giovanni Catone and Paolo Greco will
be ordained deacons in Pianura: Congratulations to them. Unite
yourself to them in prayer.

11. During the months of July and August we have scheduled
several vocation camps both in Sicily and in Italy. How many
participants will you send?

12. From June 23 to June 28 there will be our second yearly retreat
for the Vocationists in Italy. The participation in the yearly
spiritual exercise to be done with the community, is not an option,
it is an obligation!


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13. From April 5 to April 12 with Fr. Nicola Carandente I visited
Colombia. By next March, our Province of Brazil, will open a new
mission in Medellin. We have received permission from the
archbishop and we have also rented a house belonging to the
Dominican Sisters of the Assumption. Thank the Lord and pray for
this new mission.

14. Through our confreres Fr. Lorenzo Gomez and through Fr.
Edgar da Cunha we have received the donation of a piece of land
near the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador. We hope to open a new
Vocationist mission in Ecuador between 2006 or 2007.

During my trip from Rome to Newark, I wrote the following letter
to a dear confrere. I believe that the content of this letter may be
useful to you for your meditation, for your renewed commitment to
your vocation apostolate and to live as an authentic Vocationist.
Consider it as addressed to you personally.

                  Re: Disconnected thoughts….
               Heart to heart between father and son.

My Beloved Confrere,

It is May 27, 36th anniversary of my priestly Ordination. How
many thoughts, how many memories, how many reasons to thank
the Lord, and how many reason to humble myself and beg for
forgiveness!

I am flying form Rome to Newark, place of my ordination, During
the long mediation that occupies my time, in a strange but constant
way, three people keep coming to my mind: Fr. Galasso, you and I.
Why?

Fr. Galasso participated at my priestly ordination, he was then the
superior general; he used to write his pastoral letters to us from the
various skies that he was crossing; from 1968 to 1970 he received
with humility and nobility several letters of complaints, accusation
and condemnations from me for several things I did not deem fair.
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I have always admired Fr. Galosso, and even more Fr. Castiglione
for their ability to withstand, understand and accept accusations.
They have accepted and tolerated with great understanding,
patience and love accusations that were generously coming from
me and from others.

And you? How do you enter between Fr. Galasso and myself?
Now I am in Fr. Galasso‟s place and you are in the place I was
then. You suffer what I suffered. Your feelings, your sufferings,
your disappointments and complaints used to be mine.
I re-live my feelings of them and now I suffer with you, for you
and more than you because now I add your pains and
disappointments to mine and the cross becomes ever more of fire
and heavy.

As you, maybe more than you, I have love and love the
Congregation. As you, and maybe more than you, I make mine Fr.
Justin‟s longing, love, care and anxiety for vocations. As you, and
maybe more than you, I suffer because I am unable to do all I
would like to do in the vocation field.

As you, in 1969 I thought that Vocations were not our business; I
felt terribly alone and abandoned; I was tortured by the thought
that we were betraying the spirit of our foundation, that we were
reducing ourselves to be just like diocesan priests; I felt that I was
at the train station and it was impelled to decide whether to remain
on the train I was or to get on to another train… or continue on the
same old pattern made of trial and errors and of provisory
solutions…what to do?

I opened my soul to Fr. Roland Foley, T.O.R. May God bless him!
After listening to me with patience and love, he asked me why I
had become a Vocationist and if I still believed in our charisma. I
told him that I had entered the Vocationary, at age 12, wanting to
become a priest, but then later, notwithstanding the invitations and
pressure to pass to the seminary and notwithstanding some
difficulties I had experienced in the Congregation, my decision to

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be a Vocationist was free, conscious and determined. I was
fascinated by the person of Fr. Justin and by our charisma.

Fr. Roland asked me again; Do you still believe in the charisma of
the Congregation and are still fascinated by Fr. Justin? At my
positive and unequivocal answer, the good priest simply smiled at
me, and added: “start doing something for your charisma and your
founder, without waiting that others do it.” He continued to explain
to me the philosophy of the Christophes: “It is better to light
candle, than to curse the dark.” I started to do something without
expecting others to do it; I did not do too much, but something was
done. Thank God.

You have started to do something: maybe you did not do too much
yet; maybe your work is not appreciated; others do not facilitate
your work, do not cooperate with it, but it is a beginning! There is
an Italian poetic expression “a little flickering is followed by a
great flame.” Every beginning is only a flickering. When some of
our American students used to complain that so many things has
not been done yet, seriously and yet maliciously, I used to say: If
we had done everything before your coming, there would have
been nothing for you to do; we would have deprived you of the
opportunity to do so many wonderful, great things that need to be
realized.

You will never know how much I love and esteem you.
Unfortuately my human formation in the family, in the
Congregation, in the school and in the military have made me a
man, who in order to be such, cannot and should not express his
feelings, his emotions, tears, passion and love. This formation has
somehow suppressed but not killed the boy in me. While
outwardly I present the image of a serious, detached, cold person,
internally I melt on account of my emotions, affection, tenderness
and understanding. Even this is a cross for me.

From the years of my youth, I have always appreciated, often re-
read and meditated the chapter on Tears in Spiritus Orationis; now
I live internally in myself.
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If you want to understand how I feel, kindly read this chapter in
Spirit of Prayer. Often thinking of you I have also lived and
repeated: “Darkened that false sun that I was following…” You
were and are for me a little sun. I have placed in you all my trust
and hope.

In your disappointment and bitterness you can at least vent
blaming and condemning me…Whom can I blame?

As a good theologian you know that the Church is holy and
remains holy, notwithstanding our sins and the presence of many
other sinners among its members. Likewise, our beloved
Congregation remains holy, precious, inspired and wanted by God.
Notwithstanding our misery and our lack of total correspondence.
When I hear you say unpleasant things about me, I feel bad; but
when I hear you being bitter or negative toward our religious
family, I cry bitter tears, I feel completely demoralized, I am
destroyed inside.

Sometimes I have the feeling that you think of our confrees as if
they were sausages: same length, same thickness, same weight,
same ingredients, same color, same taste…The reality is that God
had fun making each one of us unique in the world; this uniqueness
cannot be ignored and act as if it did not exist.

Each one of us is different, unique, unclonable. Your reasoning
about justice and injustice are based on wrong premises. I hope to
talk about some of these things in my pastoral letter for Trinity
Sunday, because I believe some of these things to be of common
interest.

Now, my brother, I ask you to think about your calling, your
charisma and the opportunity the Lord has granted you to do
something in the vocation field. Try to do your very best and pray
to the all powerful Lord for my conversion and for the healings
needed in the Congregation, healings from our physical,
psychological, emotional, mental and spiritual sickness. Even self
                                 22
inflicted sicknesses are real and cause pain. Amongst us there are
many sicknesses and of various kinds. Each one of us carries his
own baggage, that regardless of how big and heavy it may be, it
remains invisible to others. Often I console myself with the verses
of Metastasio “If we could read on the front of every person its
internal agonies, Oh! How many of those who are object of envy,
would be object of compassion.”

Responding to one of my own kind letters in 1970, Fr. Galasso
simply wrote: “He who judges us is the Lord!” I fear the judgment
of the Lord. I know I can never be found just in his presence. I
have decided to avoid the judgment of the Lord (Is it a folly?) by
taking him at his word: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.”
This is the reason why I often remain silent and do not respond
when I am accused. Do not expect that I pass judgment on you or
on anybody else.

“Darkened that false sun…” used to sing Fr. Justin: darkened sun
is not only the person who betrays the Congregation by cutting the
bonds and getting on another train.

Darkened sun is also the one who remains a Vocationist only in
name. Many years ago, Mons. Moscati, archbishop of Salerno,
used to say: Many Christian Democrats, are Christian as Scipio
was African.” I hope, pray and wish that neither you nor I may be
Vocationist in the same way!

My dear brother, I do not see you as a darkened sun, but as a
raising sun. With the poet Dante I tell you: “follow the sun…you
were made to pursue virtue and knowledge.”

Instead of cursing the darkness of night, let us lighten our little
candle in the darkness that surrounds us. You are and must be that
“flickering” that is followed by a “great light.”

It is easy to give up and quit; anyone can do that. Only the one who
perseveres to the end receives the prize, will conquer the
award…Help me to navigate against the flow of the currents; help
                                  23
me to channel the various currents and to offer to our confreres and
to the whole world heroic examples of fidelity to our vocation and
to our charism, that may inspire that conversion of hearts that you
and I desire.

The plane is getting closer to the other world and so are we!
Courageously, let go on in the Lord‟s name. Mussolini used to say:
“He who halts, is lost.” Do not halt!

May Fr. Justin sustain and protect us in the hard journey ahead of
us. With brotherly love and profound esteem I greet you, embrace
you and bless you.

                                                      Yours truly,
                                       Fr. Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V.




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