Brother Charles De Foucauld

North American Jesus Caritas Communities
August 28th, 2014

Lay Fraternity Update

August 28, 2014

Dear Community Representatives,

Wanted to bring you up to date on several matters which will require some attention in the coming months. First though I want to acknowledge and express thanks on behalf of all of us to Ciro and the Quebec fraternities for the wonderful regional meeting which they sponsored, organized, animated Many of you were there but for those who were not I offer a small summary and note that the text of the two talks given by our presenter Fr Andre Beauchamps are available on the regional website at and the Montreal website at
1.The regional meeting of the North American Lay Fraternities of Charles de Foucauld was held in Montreal on June 27-29 at the Maison de Priere Notre Dame retreat house in Longueuil, Quebec. Representatives from the fraternities of Brooklyn, Mt Vernon, Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia from the US were present, the fraternities of Montreal and Longueuil were our hosts. There were over 40 people present for the weekend, close to 70 for the closing Liturgy. Ciro and his committee did a fantastic job welcoming everyone and keeping the weekend flowing.
Friday evening began with a welcome from our hosts, a video presentation with music on the history of the family of Bro Charles in Quebec in general and of the Lay Fraternity in particular. Each fraternity was invited to give a brief description of their group and some of the strengths and challenges that the group is living at the present moment. On Saturday Fr Andre Beauchamp was our presenter and he gave 2 very interesting talks on the meeting theme “Light in the Deserts of the World”. We began the morning with a very moving video of images related to Fr Andre’s theme. We met in small groups to respond to the theme after each talk and then a third time for review of life before ending the day with Eucharistic Adoration led by the Little Sisters of Montreal. The small group sharing forged bonds of openness and even friendship between members of different fraternities, languages and cultures. The evening was left free, some people went to visit Montreal where there was a jazz festival as well as summer fireworks scheduled. Others used the time for to rest and reflect.
Sunday morning we were joined by folks from les Amis du Charles de Foucauld (“ the Friends of Charles de Foucauld”) which is an organization consisting of the different parts of the spiritual family in Quebec: Little Sisters of Jesus, Jesus Caritas Priests Fraternity, Little Bothers of the Cross, the Lay Fraternity ; and they meet regularly throughout the year. We had business meeting to discuss the Intercontinental Assembly scheduled for February,2015 in Venezuela, guidelines for choosing delegates, finances, the selection of a new Co-responsable for the Region at the annual community representatives meeting at Tabor House later this year (Nov 22, 2014), an update on the Regional website and an agenda of proposed improvements to the website. The Sunday Eucharist was concelebrated by Fr Guy Boulie and Fr Jean Pierre Langlois of Montreal and Fr Lennie Tighe and Fr Sammy Taylor from the US. We finished the program with a communal meal which was enjoyed by all. Special thanks to Ciro and all his co-workers, Nadine and the work on the videos, Giles Robineault for the simultaneous French to English translation, Yvonne from Longueuil and Alain from Montreal who shared Master of Ceremonies and all of the local members who made the travelers all feel so welcome, so much a part of Nazareth.
2. In preparing for the Inter-Continental Encounter in Venezuela, the organizing committee has invited us to reflect on the following questions in our fraternities in order to provide input for the gathering.
Question #1:
In what context do we live Nazareth? At the personal, family, work, professional, community levels?
Question #2:
How do we work from our everyday experience, family, social, political and Nazarene, for the change of structure?
Question #3:
What is the participation of the laity in the institutional church?
Question #4;
What kind of church do we wish to construct?
Question #5:
What do we propose for a spirituality which is more human and fraternal?

I quote from the letter of Luis and Adriana who are the American representatives on the International Team:
“We ask you to prepare a written presentation with photos of your country and of the realities lived by your fraternity: where they are and what their context is in order know one another better, share and put together a continental pamphlet or bulletin.
We would be grateful if all this information, along with any worries, suggestions or doubts be sent by mail as soon as possible so that we might incorporate them and/or resolve them and be able to organize things peacefully. If possible, try to find out how many people from each country will participate and write us. We hope we have been clear. We will try to clarify any doubts… Adriana and Luis

Here are some extracts from previous letters which might help to conserve a continuity in the climate, text and context of our upcoming Continental Assembly:
We said in a letter: “We hope to go ahead together in building up towards this Assembly by maintaining and stimulating “like a grain of wheat” and following the example of Brother Charles who invites us to be Nazareans in every aspect of our lives. ‘The Lord Jesus, the night he was betrayed TOOK BREAD, GAVE THANKS, BROKE IT and said do this IN MEMORY OF ME….always proclaim it, proclaim his Life and death until HE returns”…Well we want each meeting to announce, proclaim, make memory and make fraternal and Eucharistic HISTORY”.

In another letter: “We want to make the Assembly a place of COMMUNION; Common union among the fraternities of the continent. It is with this in mind that we are attempting to establish a communication concrete among those in charge of each region and country so that union in the same faith, in the same project of animation-participation and commitment to the Assembly might part from what is territorial and human.”
Yet another: “WE do not try to build structures but to let ourselves be helped to discover the presence of Jesus in the daily life of our Nazareth, as lay people, working with others, in cooperatives, self-governing operations, political, parochial, social settings. Let us try to promote and affirm among young people the dream of living and building fraternity”.

With the contributions of the fraternities of Brazil and Venezuela, we have just made some progress regarding the theme and axis we will be reflecting upon. We hope that other countries will also be able to prepare this encounter and contribute their viewpoints so that this might be a group project. Here are some of the questions that these two fraternities pose to all of us:
What is our contribution to a more human and fraternal spirituality? The contribution of lay people in the Church and in society regarding 3 problematic realities where we are all implicated: the family, insecurity and violence and political polarization.
As to participation: Try to have at least one delegate from each country assist. Each country should make moves to obtain funds or build up a national account to assure that expenses are covered. It should be clear and well understood that every delegate or responsible who participates in the Assembly has the duty to be able to transmit what he experienced at the Assembly and to thus animate the life of his region.”

So we are asking for each fraternity to reflect on the questions, to pray with them for awhile and then submit their responses prior to the
Nov 22 Community Representatives Meeting a t Tabor, Tarrytown, NY.

3. We need to select delegates to attend. At the International Assembly in 2012 countries were allotted a number of delegates. There is no limit for this Assembly. Janet Curley who had been to the International Assembly in Arusha in 2006 as well as Chile in 2009 spoke in Montreal encouraging members to consider going to the Encounter, that for her they were very enriching in terms of living the life of the Fraternity, seeing and sharing with others. We have had discussions at Tabor about selection of delegates and some have been concerned about “elitism” in determining who goes. WE invite all who have been actively involved in fraternity to consider going. Of course considerations of family obligations, work, health as well as expense all need to be factored in. Let’s pray on it. We hope to have names finalized by November. Stella from Mt Vernon has volunteered to go and as she knows so many of the Latin American fraternities already, we’re pleased she’s willing to go. We’d like to see 2 delegates from each country (Canada, US) go if possible.

4. Finally the matter of a replacement Co-responsible for Frank, mandate from 2014 to 2018. We want this to be a very open, fraternal and transparent process. Again the candidate should have at least 3 to 6 years of lived experience in an active fraternity. Anyone who has served as a responsible certainly would be qualified. Not everyone is available but if you have any willingness to serve in this capacity please make your availability and interest known.

Thanks for reading a very long message. Hope you have enjoyed the rest of the summer and hope you’ve been able to have some days of rest and rejuvenation.

United in prayer,

Ciro and Frank