STATUTES OF THE PRIESTS’ UNION

DEFINITION:

The Priests’ Union of the Friends of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a private clerical association (cf. CJC. Can. 299, 302, 321ff) comprised of bishops, priests and deacons from the diocesan or religious clergy who join together to realize their vocation within the Church, while living and propagating the message of God Infinite Love and offering to the world a witness of communion and humble service.

SPIRIT AND PURPOSE

1. The Priests’ Union is characterized not so much by the works it requires as by the spirit it proposes. Its ends are:

a) To deepen and spread the knowledge of God as Infinite Love (cf. 1 Jn. 4:16), which manifests itself most of all through the humanity of Christ, whose heart, meek and humble (cf. Mt 11:29), is the source of priestly virtues;

b) To propose a spirituality founded on faith in God as Love and on confident and total abandonment to His will;

c) To help priests to grow in the knowledge of the grace of the ordained priesthood: i.e. to feel loved by the Lord with a love of special predilection (“You are my friends” {Jn 15:14}; “I have called you friends,” {Jn 15:15}), which should lead them to be sowers of the love of Christ, and to live and preach charity as the basic truth of the Faith and the greatest and all-embracing commandment;

d) To promote communion among priests, founded on the unity among all of them in the heart of Christ and manifested in faithful unity with the Pope and the bishops, particularly with their own bishop;

e) To animate their spiritual life and pastoral work according to the spirit of mercy.

2. The Priests’ Union is not an end in itself, but is meant to foster the unity of the priesthood and the universality of its mission in the Church and in the world.

MEMBERS

3. The Priests’ Union accepts as members individual bishops, priests and deacons, whether diocesan or religious, who intend to live the spirit of the Association and cooperate in spreading it.

The joining of priestly groups and associations to the Union is also provided for.

4. The following are welcome to The Priests’ Union:

a)Those who accept to live the spirit of the Association;

b) Those who make the “Act of Adoration and Donation to God Infinite Love,” which contains and expresses the spirit of the Association;

c) Those who register with the Central Council, if possible, through a member or a group of the Association.

5. Every member of the Priests’ Union receives the magazine of the Work of Infinite Love.

6. Should a member want to leave the Association, he notifies his particular group or the Central Council directly. In the first case, the one in charge of his group passes on the notification to the Central Council.

DUTIES

7. The spirit of the Priests’ Union permeates the life of the associates. Membership in the Association does not add or subtract anything from the grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders, or from one’s own vocation and mission in the Church, but it does underline fundamental obligations and helps to fulfill them. They are:

a) Meditation on the central message of Christianity that, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16), and “God so loved the world (Jn 3:16), drawn particularly from the New Testament writings and the writings of the Fathers, from the Magisterium of the Church and from the writings of the Servant of God Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche;

b) Exercise of charity and mercy in all forms, in every place and occasion of life, particularly in pastoral activities and in personal contact with the faithful and those far from the Church;

c) A style of trustful abandonment to God and to His will, especially as manifested in the decisions of superiors and the trials that are not lacking in the exercise of the ministry;

d) Union with the bishop and confreres in the one priesthood; a union that is manifested above all in openness of heart specifically in the various forms of fraternity and cooperation: i.e. frequent meetings, visits to sick confreres, generous help for those in difficulty, prayer in common, active and peaceful participation in the initiatives of the bishop and the Pope, and humble and cheerful service to the local and the universal Church.

ORGANIZATION

8. The Priests’ Union is directed by a President, who is assisted by the Central Council and the Secretary General. It has its headquarters at Bethany of the Sacred Heart, Vische (TO), Italy.

9. The President of the Priests’ Union is the bishop of Ivrea, Italy, who can be assisted by a bishop delegated by him, after hearing the Central Council.

10. The Bishop President, after ample consultation with the members of the Priests’ Union, appoints the Central Council composed of seven members, who are chosen according to the dual criterion of their being representative of the membership and their ability to attend the meetings of the Council.

11. The Central Council’s term of office is five years. It maintains contact with the members, determines the lines of operation and formation within the Association and promotes the major initiatives for the spread and deepening of the spirit of the Work of Infinite Love.

12. The meetings of the General Council are ordinarily chaired by the Bishop President or his delegate.

13. From time to time the General Council can invite to its meetings some confreres from various parts of the world, as representatives of the members of their countries.

14. The Secretary General is appointed by the Bishop President at the proposal of the Central Council.

The Secretary’s term of office is five years, and he may be re-appointed.

15. The Secretary General:

a) Carries out the decisions of the Central Council;

b) Maintains the archives;

c) Takes care of the correspondence;

d) Handles the day-to-day administration.

Periodically he informs the Bishop President and the Central Council of everything.

16. While the Priests’ Union requires the interior and personal allegiance of its members, it tends to unite them in groups, so that its service for the advancement of communion in the priesthood may be more effective.

Depending on the local situation, members are broken down into zonal, inter-zonal, diocesan, regional and national groups.

17. Periodic meetings of the groups are useful for their service to the priesthood, but they are not to substitute for meetings of the diocesan presbytery, which the members of the Priests’ union will participate in as a priority.

The group meetings have the purpose of:

a) Bringing the members together in prayer for adoration of Infinite Love present in the Blessed Sacrament;

b) Recalling the lines of the Work’s spirituality through a deepened study of the Magisterium of the Church and the writings of Mother Louise Margaret;

c) Helping the confreres to live more intensely the apostolate of love and mercy, and to promote priestly fraternity.

18. Every group, at its institution, informs the Central Council and elects one of its members as the one in charge, who will set up the meetings and remain in contact with the confreres and the Central Council.

The diocesan bishop shall be invited to the more important meetings.

RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER BRANCHES OF THE WORK

19. In the spirit of the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, “That all may be one,” the Priests’ Union promotes the animation and coordination of the various branches of the Work of Infinite Love: i.e. Bethany of the Sacred Heart, the Missionaries of Infinite Love, and the Friends of Bethany.

The members of the Priests’ Union have the personal responsibility to maintain the unity of spirit in all of the Work by stimulating dialogue and fraternal cooperation between the various branches, and to promote greater fruitfulness in vocations and in the apostolate.

20. In order to keep alive the charism of Mother Louise Margaret, to make known the message of God Love, and to foster communion within the Work and the Church the magazine, “Betania Ut sint unum,” is published.

The editorship of the magazine is entrusted to one member of the Priests’ Union, with the cooperation of representatives from all the branches of the Work of Infinite Love.

Vische (Turin), October 1, 1994

MOST REVEREND LUIGI BETTAZZI

Bishop of Ivrea
President of the Priests’ Union


With the present DECREE I approve the Statutes, which carry today’s date, of the Priests’ Union of the Friends of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Union has its seat at Vische in the diocese of Ivrea. As for its extension into other dioceses, it shall refer to their respective bishops.

I wish every good to, and invoke the blessings of God Infinite Love upon, the priests of the Priests’ Union and upon its communities.

Ivrea, October 1, 1994

+ LUIGI BETTAZZI, BISHOP


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