Stigmatine Laity are men and women, married or single, who have decided to live their Christian lives under the light of the Charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni, founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata.
This group of dedicated lay people assists the Stigmatine priests and brothers in praying for vocations and in various lay ministries. This group is formed around a Stigmatine place or Church, with the assistance of the Stigmatine priests and brothers.
The Spiritual Development is an ongoing process. However, when one decides to become a Lay Stigmatine he/she is accepted as a candidate for a period of one year. After a year of preparation, the candidate takes the “Promise” (usually done during a Stigmatine Feast) at the altar in the presence of the Stigmatine Provincial Superior or Pastor before the entire Stigmatine Community. The Promise is as follows:
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 five for one year the Gospel plan of the Lay Stigmatine Associate, that is:
- to be a faithful disciple of Christ in the Church;
- 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 group meets every first Saturday morning of each month for a teaching on Stigmatine Spirituality, the life of the Founder (St. Gaspar Bertoni) and on Church History, Liturgy, etc. The presenter is usually our Moderator, Father Joseph Henchey, CSS or one of the other Stigmatine Fathers.
They also gather each Friday afternoon at St. Joseph Hall with the retired priests for a Holy Hour.
Lay Stigmatines are asked to find a ministry, something along the lines of the spirituality of the Founder St. Gaspar. Many Lay Stigmatines bring communion to the sick in nursing homes, participate in programs at retreat houses, work with mentally disabled persons, married couples, etc.
Follow some pictures of the Stigmatine Laity’s formation meetings, days of recollection, Mass and breaks: