Since the beginning of the history of salvation, God chose people not just as individuals but as members of a community.
The international novitiate community in Paraguay, accepted the invitation from the Generalate to elaborate this novena to commemorate our founder, Claude Francis Poullart des Places. We chose to reflect on the theme of Community life: basis, strength and principle of our mission during the novena. Our points of departure are our community experiences in the novitiate, as well as experiences in our groups and provinces of origin. People coming from Brazil, Mexico, Porto Rico, Paraguay, Cape Verde, Spain and Portugal form our novitiate community. A truly Pentecostal experience!
We chose as our symbol for the novena, the bamboo plant, because it reflects very well the meaning of life in community. When its seed is planted, during the first years it does not grow up but it first strengthens its roots so that they are quite deep; only when this objective is achieved does the bamboo start spreading out upon the surface of the earth. As well as this, you will never see the bamboo alone or isolated. It is always in the company of others. The beauty, the harmony and the strength of the group (family) of the bamboos are fruits of them all and not of any one alone. Bamboos know that alone or isolated they can achieve nothing. Finally we learn from the bamboo plant, that when grown up we see numerous generations that live together: some that are being born, some that are growing up, some that feel strong and secure in themselves and others that have reached an advanced age and, bit by bit, make space for others, because they know that their work has been done. The community does not exist to eliminate differences, but to compliment them in the fraternity of its members.
The novena is divided into three parts: during the first three days, we reflect upon vocation and conversion. Then, from the fourth to the sixth day, we meditate on sharing. On the final three days, we will pray about being sent and the service that we have, as community.
We ask the intercession of our founder, Claude Francis Poullart des Places, to help us during this novena to become conscious that community life is at the heart of being Spiritan. We do not forget that the individualism or the isolation that some are tempted to live out are contrary to the spirit of Poullart de Places, as he himself lived, ate, studied and prayed with the community.
God of infinite goodness, we praise You for the gift of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit which, through Claude Poullart des Places, you gave to your Church. May the testimony and sanctity of his life be light for our lives and motivate us to live our mission with the certainty of the love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We pray for the grace of his beatification, as well as the particular grace that we pray for today, through his intercession. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Novitiate community in Paraguay