Institute-of-the-Incarnate-Word-Gospel-Proclamation

Lent, Holy Week, the Paschal Mystery…and our anniversaries!  This is part of our annual March experience of fasting, thanksgiving, and prayer in our Religious Family.

Cross-of-Matara

On the Feast of St Joseph, March 19, 2016 we celebrate the 28th anniversary of our foundation as the Institute of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (SSVM).  In 1988 Fr. Carlos Buela, IVE founded us in San Rafael (Mendoza) in Argentina as the female branch of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word.

St-Joseph-2015

Not only does our anniversary fall during Lent every year, but also the anniversary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) usually does as well.  Fr. Buela had founded the priests of the IVE four years earlier on March 25, 1984.

Fr.Buela.banner

Not only is this date the Solemnity of the Annunciation (like every March 25th), but in 1984 the day also marked the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by St John Paul II in communion with all the bishops of the world.  That day was a powerful act of trust in Mary according to her request at Fatima and in keeping with the instructions passed on by Servant of God Sor Lucia.

Institute-of-the-Incarnate-Word-March-25-1984-consacration-of-the-world-to-Immaculate-Heart-of-Mary-JPII

March 25, 1984 – St John Paul II consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in communion with all the bishops

Considering the influence of St John Paul II on our charism and constitutions, we have always noted how the foundation of our Religious Family took place at the foot of Mary through the hands of St John Paul II.

March 25th Falling on Good Friday

This year, we celebrate a quiet Feast of St Joseph on the eve of Palm Sunday (“Passion Sunday”) and the beginning of Holy Week.

Religious-Family-of-the-Incarnate-Word-gathered-at-the-altar

Celebrating the Feast of St Joseph at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, our 28th Anniversary

Even more striking, the celebration of the Annunciation is transferred in the Church’s calendar to Monday April 4 this year on account of March 25, 2016 falling on Good Friday this year. (USCCB 2016 Ordo PDF.)  This year is the last time it will happen for nearly 150 years.  Past and present years include: 1701, 1712, 1785, 1796, 1853, 1864, 1842,1910, 1921, 1932, 2005, 2016, 2157, 2168, 2214, 2225, and 2236.

Throughout much of the medieval period such years were jubilee years!  This special honor came from the early Church when there was a tradition that Our Lord did in fact die on March 25th, the same day that the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary (held by Tertullian and St Augustine among others).  For them, the double resonance of the Incarnation in Nazareth in the womb of the Virgin Mary and the fulfillment of the sacrifice at Calvary were evident, and an early tradition aligned the events as a sign of Christ’s perfection in “running His course.”

Giovanni di Paolo (early 15th century) Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC accession 1939.1.223

Giovanni di Paolo (early 15th century) Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC accession 1939.1.223

The mission of Christ to take on flesh so as to “lay it down freely” was the whole reason for the Incarnate Word.  So too may it be for us, and in a particular way for the priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word who seek to imitate the sacrifice of Christ in their consecrated lives at the foot of the altar.

A blessed Triduum to all!