Talk given by Dr João Sales Luis, President of the Foundation in Lisbon, at the Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Foundation – 3/21/2024.  Translated from the Portuguese.

Good afternoon, hoping everyone is well. Today we celebrate the Foundation’s thirty-first anniversary and, therefore, it is a day of great joy. I remember that the date chosen for the anniversary was March 16, 1993 because that was the date of the first Minutes of the Foundation whose President was our dear Sister Aileen. But being the weekend, we postponed it a little and decided to do it today after a big birthday for our dear Kikita. I would like to start with a special word for our Sisters, namely Sister Bridget, our administrator and Sister Miriam, present here today. Let me tell you an example of the extraordinary support given to the Foundation very recently. We want to increase the capacity of the CNS day-care centre and we faced many difficulties in obtaining a positive opinion from Social Security. The provision of space from the Congregation to the Foundation was very important for the decision we needed. And the Congregation’s decision was taken in record time, demonstrating great trust and support for the Foundation.

Of course, we never forget our founders: Sister Inês and Sister Michelle who we know are accompanying us in Heaven, and Sisters Aileen, Alicia and Teresa. I ask for a big round of applause for all the Sisters.

A word of great thanks to our Dominican Chaplain Friar José Nunes and a greeting to Father Leonardo of the Shalom community.

The Board of Directors approved the 2023 accounts this afternoon. It is very important once again to have accurate, transparent accounts, audited by Billy and external auditors, without any reservations. And it also approved the 2023 Activity Report, which this year is a very attractive presentation. It is very important that we do our work well every day, but it is equally essential to know what our colleagues do and together to better understand the mission of our Foundation.

Following the interactive message of the Way of the Cross that we attended and the Mass of Thanksgiving thanking God for so many good things, I would like to reinforce the proposal made by our dear Pope Francis on the topic of Synodality in the Church.

It has now been 2 years since, in a spirit of participation, we sent our document to the Synod secretariat with our contribution to the first phase that took place last October. We were once again invited to intervene with a view to the second and final phase of the Synod to be held in October 2024.  On March 10th I sent you this information resulting from synodal work with the participation of all the centres and Frei José Nunes entitled “How to be a Church in Mission”.

I bring together 5 topics from this text and would like the synodal reflection to continue:

  1. Community with Dominican spirituality

The Foundation now has a quarterly newsletter, with the participation of all centres, Friar José Nunes and the Dominican Sisters. The themes always relate to education, family and social projects in an environment of Dominican spirituality. The meeting between families resulting from the 11 am Sunday mass at the Igreja do Bom Sucesso is a testimony to the creation of a Christian community full of life.

  1. Women’s access to the Diaconate

Recognizing that there is a serious problem of vocations for the ministerial exercise of the sacraments, liturgy of the word, and leadership of charitable action, women’s access to the diaconate with the possibility of married priests would help.

  1. Importance of a chaplain with the profile of Frei José Nunes.

Schools have a determining role in education for inclusion and Catholic Schools must, on the one hand, keep their doors open to all who seek them and, on the other, reach out to others, especially those who need help. or are discriminated against. However, the guidance of a Priest/Religious like Friar José Nunes undoubtedly brings these communities peace of mind and security on the path to follow.

  1. “Familias com Alma “

The social project, Families with Soul, which the Foundation develops, intervenes directly with people who are in vulnerable situations, namely at risk of poverty or social exclusion, enhancing their capabilities, through actions that boost and favour their personal growth and life project. But equally important is the meeting between the caregiver and our most fragile brother in Christ. I can’t resist reminding you that everyone can also help by signing up for the Walk/Run that will take place on April 21st.

  1. Involvement of Young People in the Christian experience

Listen to young people, giving them the right to citizenship; Understand their culture and use their language; Participate in their “causes”, from music to sport; Witnessing a religion of joy (which is Christianity) and not of boredom; Propose and frame volunteer service experiences, for example via young Dominicans.

 

Finally, I would like to remember the moments of prayer and reflection that are very important on this journey:

Every Tuesday in person and online from 2pm to 2.30pm led by Carla Correia at CSF.

Every month worship of the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour guided by Ana Gaivão.

I ask for your prayer and your care for all collaborators and families who are sick or fragile and for Peace in many places in the world where brutal environments of genocide of God’s children exist, namely in Ukraine and Gaza.

Wishes for a Happy and Holy Easter