LIVING AND SERVING UNDER THE LIGHT OF THE CHARISM OF
ST. GASPAR BERTONI
Who we are:
We are a group of men and women, married or single, who have decided to live our Christian lives under the light of the Charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni, the founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ, known as Stigmatine Congregation.
Our group assists the Stigmatine Fathers and Brothers in praying for vocations and in various lay ministries.
Most of our members are in the state of Massachusetts, but we can count also on remote members, in other states, who are lay Stigmatines likewise.
Since our group was formed (see our History below for more details), in 1998, we have counted with great Spiritual Directors, like the much-missed Fr. Bob Mascchiochi, CSS, Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS, Fr. Gregory Hoppough, CSS and Fr. Peter Pakpoom, CSS.
We also reflect on the letters kindly prepared and sent out monthly by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS to all the lay Stigmatines around the world.
Our rules and guidelines
Every Lay Stigmatine is committed to:
- Attend the monthly formation days for Lay Associate Stigmatines
- Attend the Community feast day celebrations
- Attend the annual retreat for Lay Associate Stigmatines
- Renew the PROMISE annually
- Assist the Stigmatine priests
- Support the charism of the Stigmatine Community in the American Province
- Assist at the Retreat House and other buildings on the Waltham campus
- Ministry in our local parishes
- Ministry in our local community
Admission of new members:
When one decides to become a Lay Stigmatine, he/she is accepted as a candidate for a period of a year. At the conclusion of the year, on one of the Stigmatine feast days, the candidate takes the following Promise at the altar in the presence of the Stigmatine Father Provincial and the entire Stigmatine Community:
called by the love of God to live in faith and charity,
in union with my baptismal consecration and
to witness in the world to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
promise the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ
to commit myself to live for one year
the Gospel plan of the Lay Stigmatine Associate, that is:
- To be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ;
- To work for the coming of the reign of God, especially for youth, priests, married couples and the lowly ones in society;
- To deepen my understanding of, and witness to the spirit of St. Gaspar Bertoni;
- To collaborate in service to the local Church.
In so doing, I open myself to the power of the Holy Spirit, that I may be faithful to this dedication of my life. May the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, and Saint Gaspar Bertoni and our Stigmatine Confreres assist and guide me.”
After taking the Promise, one signs a document of membership on the altar. The newly inducted Lay Stigmatine is presented with a cross, which he/she will wear whenever there are meetings and Feast Days.
Each member is asked to find a Spiritual Director, preferably one of the Stigmatine Fathers.
The Spiritual Development is an ongoing process. We have a formation meeting on the morning of the first Saturday, every month. The presenter is one of the Stigmatine Fathers, on regular basis the Spiritual Director of our group, and we reflect on the letter from Fr. Henchey to the Stigmatine Laity for each month [presented here in the section of Formation, under Library].
The members in Waltham also gather on the Stigmatine Feast days, when, after the afternoon Mass, we are invited to a dinner with all the Stigmatine community. And also every Friday afternoon we usually participate in a holy hour with the Stigmatine community.
Lay Stigmatines are asked to find a ministry, something along the lines of the spirituality of the Founder St. Gaspar. Some Lay Stigmatines bring communion to the sick in nursing homes, participate in programs at retreat houses, work with mentally disabled persons, married couples, help the Stigmatines in their websites, etc.
How our group was created:
It was the year 1998. The American Stigmatine Province of the Holy Spouses decided to establish a group of dedicated lay people to assist them in praying for vocations and assisting them in various lay ministries. Father Bob Masciocchi, CSS was appointed to this ministry, and this group was called the Lay Associate Stigmatines.
Six months of discernment were provided to those who answered this call. Those who decided to go on to becoming Lay Associate Stigmatines then attended a year of formation in 2000.
On Jan. 23, 2001, feast of the Holly Espousals Mary and Joseph, Patrons of the Stigmatine Congregation, the first Lay Associate Stigmatines made their ‘promises’ at a Mass celebrated in the Stigmatine Retreat House (in Waltham, MA) by Fr. Gregory Hoppough, then Superior Provincial, who welcomed these first Lay Associate Stigmatines. This original group was composed of 9 ladies.
Our meetings are always on the campus of the Province of the Holy Spouses, in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.
Stigmatine Laity formation meetings in the Province of the Holy Spouses, USA: