The Passionist Laity
Still, as early as 1755, a group of men initiated the Confraternity of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Veroli, Italy, to keep the feast days, to grow in prayer, to perform certain devotions, particularly the Stations of the Cross, and to support each other in living the Gospel.
It was only in 1861 that the Passionists received from Pope Pius IX permission to establish the Confraternity of the Cross and Passion of our Lord in churches of the congregation and in others with the consent of the local bishop. Afterwards, the Confraternity was established in many places throughout the world where Passionists ministered, and it still is a means for many people to share in the spirituality of the Passion.
Three centuries since the death of St. Paul, the climate has changed. People from every walk of life, called by the Holy Spirit, are making a loving commitment to Jesus Crucified. They do not become religious or priests, but remain men and women living in the world. With the blessing and encouragement of the church and the Passionist community, they commit themselves to love Christ Crucified, while fulfilling the duties of their particular state in life. Where this movement of lay people and vowed Passionist religious will lead, no one knows. It is a work of the Holy Spirit.
often as a result of new situations, many Institutes have come to the
conclusion that their charism can be shared with the laity.
We may say
that, in the light of certain historical experiences such as those of
the Secular or Third Orders, a new chapter, rich in hope, has begun
in the history of relations between consecrated persons and
"We're at the beginning of a new experience provoked by the Spirit.
The important thing is to live open to the Spirit and then to share
this experience in depth. The Gospels were first of all life and only
later became a written word. This mutual collaboration, this co-participation
in the Passionist charism, a gift from God to the Church, should be
life before it's word, it should be experience before becoming structure.
The Spirit who has provoked this experience will go on suggesting the
appropriate terminology with which to express it, as well as the adequate
forms with which to keep it alive."
Congregation needs this contact in order to be heIped to
and rich insights into certain aspects of the charism' and to 'draw
from (them) directions for new activities in the apostolate.'"