April 24, 2020
In my capacity as the Pontifical Commissary mandated by the Holy See to head the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus during this special moment of its existence, I write this document in view of giving clarifications in the light of the Roman Decree issued to the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus in June 2018. It has come to our attention that some of the interpretations being given to the Decree don’t reflect the mind of the Church about the Decree itself and the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus.
The Holy See, through the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), following earlier events in the Institute and particularly those from the Institute’s last General Chapter of 2014, and after inquiry through an Apostolic Visitation to the Institute (for the period 2015-2018) by the same Dicastery, issued a Decree which called for internal reforms and a re-organization of the life of the members and of the Institute. At the same time, a Pontifical Commissariat was instituted over the Institute.
The Commissariat, at the onset of its mandate in the Institute, sent out written notifications in November 2018 to the ordinaries of the different Dioceses here in Africa and also overseas where the Apostles of Jesus serve in missions, to friends of the Institute and our other development partners, of the actual state of affairs in the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus consequent to the Decree from Rome. However, it seems that the notification did not reach all our possible contacts. Moreover, some media houses or individuals also reported the issuance of the Roman Decree to the Institute without paying attention to its finer details, thus giving rise to a somewhat incorrect interpretation of the same. For example, one finds on the net such titles like: https://www.pmldaily.com/news/2018/08/vatican-suspends-apostles-of-jesus-congregation-activities.html (retrieved 23/04/2020), which other articles later on continue to reference to. Therefore, for clarity purposes, the Pontifical Commissary and the Commissariat thinks it relevant to hereby pronounce the following in the light of the said Decree:
The Decree explicitly uses the term: “… to rehabilitate,” and not to “close or suspend” the operations of the Institute. A careful reading of the Decree will show that there are specific areas underlined in what the Holy See intends for the Institute. For instance, focus and attention is given to governance, administration of temporal goods, religious discipline and life in common, and the re-establishment of the formation program for initial and on-going formation of members.
The same Decree established the office of the Pontifical Commissary to spearhead these reforms, whereby he and his assistants take charge of running the affairs of the Institute for a time that the Holy See itself will determine, without in any way alluding to any “closure or suspension of the activities of the Institute.” I am glad to assert here that the members of the Institute, priests and brothers, to date are still actively ministering in their different missions and in their religious communities here in Africa – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa and Botswana; in Europe – Italy, Germany, and England; in the USA, Cuba, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The Commissariat is carrying out its mandate also in close collaboration not only with the ordinaries where the members of the Institute are present world over, in terms of regular updates of the progresses being made in fulfilling the directives of the Decree, etc., but also with the CICLSAL in Rome. Note for instance, that within this time, the Roman Dicastery permitted the sacred ordination to the priesthood of 14 Deacons of the Institute who were awaiting their priestly ordination on August 19, 2019, and later 16 members in perpetual profession were ordained deacons on March 19, 2020 together with the ordination of five priests. The 14 Deacons may become priests sometime later this year. This attests to the hope of a continued life in the Institute through the new members ordained for the missions.
Therefore, we believe and reiterate that this period is for the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus a time of special grace from God, willed by the Church, to enable it grow stronger and build a sense of identity with its Charism for a renewed life of witness to the gospel by its members as consecrated persons and servants of the Church. We greatly appreciate the support being offered by the local churches where the members of the Institute serve and of the universal church in achieving these noble objectives stipulated in the directives of the Holy See. We pray that partners in mission and all people of good will may come to know and appreciate that this on-going rehabilitation process is with the hope of ushering new life into the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus now and in the future. Therefore, your collaboration with the Institute is welcomed and highly appreciated, be it spiritual, moral or material within the various units of the Institute (i.e., Vice Province, Regions, Delegations, and communities).
Rest assured of our commitment as the Commissariat, with the good will of the members of the Apostles of Jesus, to work together towards accomplishing obediently the will of God for the Institute. We remain united in prayer, and may the Risen Lord bestow on us all his peace, joy and fraternal charity at this Eastertide!
Feel always welcome to contact the office of the Pontifical Commissary for any further point of interest with regards to the Apostles of Jesus.
Given at the General Curia of the Religious Missionary Institute of the Apostles of Jesus in Karen – Nairobi, Kenya on the twenty fourth day of April in the year of the Lord two thousand and twenty.
Fr. Raphael p’Mony Wokorach, MCCJ | PONTIFICAL COMMISSARY
Sr. Eugenia Campara, FSP | SECRETARY– PONTIFICAL COMMISSARIAT