Homily – Feast of Saint John Paul II

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on October 23, 2015
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Homily of the Holy Mass of the Holy Mass in the feast of St. John Paul II, 22nd october 2015, in the altar of the Chair of St. Peter at St. Peter’s basilica


In the day in which Pope Francis canonized John Paul II, he associated him with the family. “St. John Paul II – he said – was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family.”[1]

In the context of the celebration of the Synod on Family, I would like to speak a bit about some ideas that our dear St. John Paul II had precisely about the family.

In the book Gift and Mystery, John Paul II speaks of the profound influence that his family had on him during his childhood. He speaks about his own family as his “first seminary”:

“The preparation for the priesthood, received in the seminary, was in a certain way preceded by that which was offered to me with the life and example of my parents in the family”.

He presents deeper detail about his relationship with his father, whom he considered as his most influential religious educator, by his teaching and example[2]:

“My gratitude goes especially to my father, who became a widower at a young age. […] After her death [of his mother] and upon the death of my brother, I was left alone with my father, a deeply religious man. I daily observed his life, which was austere […] after he remained a widower; his life became a constant prayer. Sometimes I would wake up at night and find my father on his knees, just as I always saw him on his knees in the parish church. Between us there was no talk of vocation to the priesthood, but his example was for me in some way the first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary” (Gift and Mystery).

This witness upon the young Karol Wojtyla is highly suggestive. Who could have said to his Father that his son would one day be nothing less than St. John Paul II, the Great Pope, a man of such transcendental influence upon the Church and the world?

The following text from the exhortation Familiaris Consortio, seems to manifest what the Holy Father had himself experienced in time of his childhood and youth:

“By virtue of their ministry of educating, parents are, through the witness of their lives, the first heralds of the Gospel for their children. Furthermore, by praying with their children, by reading the word of God with them and by introducing them deeply through Christian initiation into the Body of Christ – both the Eucharistic and the ecclesial Body – they become fully parents, in that they are begetters not only of bodily life but also of the life that through the Spirit’s renewal flows from the Cross and Resurrection of Christ” (FC 39).

St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the family as a “type of spiritual womb” (S. Th. II-II, q. 10, a. 12). Explaining that normally, it is in the heart of the family where divine dispositions are received and Christian values are absorbed.  This is where these values are acquired, as if by osmosis, by means of the good examples that are observed, even more so than what is heard, as John Paul II expressed related to his own father.

In Familiaris Consortio the Holy Father even says that the Christian family not only forms children of God but that it is the first and most excellent seminary:

“The family must educate the children for life in such a way that each one may fully perform his or her role according to the vocation received from God. Indeed, the family that is open to transcendent values […]  and is aware of its daily sharing in the mystery of the glorious Cross of Christ, becomes the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration” (FC 53).

These are weighty and highly relevant words. In the middle of the crass materialism in which we are living in today’s society, where the existence of God is often denied and opposed to in a systematic way, families have a role similar to a “greenhouse,” in which plants are protected from the cold. Following the Council, John Paul II called the family “the domestic Church,”[3] where virtues are learned and the negative influences of the world are neutralized.

In this spiritual uterus, “All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons”… where there is an “educational exchange between parents and children, in which each gives and receives. By means of love, respect and obedience towards their parents” (FC n. 21).

This reality, which we experienced in our own families, can be verified as well in the religious family. Just as St. Thomas spoke of the family as a spiritual uterus, this image can be applied analogically to one’s own Congregation, to our Religious Family:

In the name of Christ, we desire to be a religious family:

  • In which its members are willing to live radically the demands of the Incarnation, the Cross, the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper;
  • Where the humbleness of Nazarethand Calvary can be lived;
  • Where one can enter into the secrets of Tabor and Gethsemane;
  • Where the paternity of the Father is experienced, as well as the brotherhood of the Son, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit;

so that we can love each other as sons of the same Father, brothers of the same Son and temples of the same Holy Spirit, that we may form one heart and soul (Acts 4:32).  (Const. n. 20).

The Congregation, our dear religious family: is she not our mother, who gave birth to our spiritual life?

It is where God has called us, summoning us in a particular way from many corners of the world, with a common mission to fulfill.

It is where where we receive all the supernatural means for our spiritual growth. The Congregation, as a true Mother, nourishes us through grace and instructs us in our spiritual life. She is the mother that formed us, where we learned about the bi-millennium Magisterium of the Church, St. Thomas and the doctors and saints of every age.

Where, through a proper style of life, according to our charism, we support and encourage one another in the journey towards holiness (Cf. Const. n. 92).

From our brothers and sisters we constantly receive – as if by osmosis – the good examples and stimulation to practice virtue in the following of our call and the fulfillment of our mission.

This reality creates unmeasurably profound ties; just as “Who is my Mother and who are my brothers?”, the Lord asks, “The one who does the will of my Father, who is in Heaven, this is my brother, my sister and my mother” (Mt 12, 59). This is what forms us as “one heart and one soul” (At 4, 32).

Therefore, it is from theological motives, and not accidental or folkloric motives, that we have such a deep love for our religious family.

This reflection makes me think of our fathers and sisters in the Middle East, who continue to be in the midst of a prolonged and bloody war, surrounded by numerous dangers, who ask to stay for the sole reason of accompanying the people of their mission.

I think of the fathers and sisters who are dedicated to works of charity, caring for Christ in the poor and sick. In particular, our sisters who attend lepers under extremely difficulty circumstances.

I think of our missionary fathers and sisters in the jungles of Guyana, Papua New Guinea and Africa.

I think of those that mission in the steppes of Russia, and among the Muslims in Central Asia.

I think of those who work in the freezing climates of the North, and in the plateaus of the South.

I continuously think about those who are preparing to mission in the great nation of China.

I think of those serving Christ in the poor and marginalized of the great modern cities.

I think of those that endeavor to announce Christ among the agnostic and hostile Christophobic world.

I think of our contemplative monks and sisters, hidden in the cloisters, who daily offer themselves and their prayers for us, making a continuous oblation of their lives.

I think of our seminarians and in our sisters in our houses of formation who dream of their future missions. I think of our novices and minor seminarians as well as in the aspirants.

I think of our Religious brothers, who humbly serve others in a hidden way.

I think of those religious who are sick, who draw down the grace of God. I think of the elderly, the disabled and the orphaned in our homes.

I think of all the deceased members of our Religious Family who while they intercede for us they await us in heaven…

I think of our families. It has been said and with good reason that the strength of our religious family in a certain sense comes from the families of our religious, by means of their fidelity to God, by their example of prayer for and commitment to the Church and our Institutes.

This is our mother, our dear family, to whom we all belong and in which we desire to die, because she has born us and will lead us to our celestial homeland!

This is the mother that we love because besides the Scriptures warn us: “those who insult their mother are accursed by the Lord” (Sir 3, 16).

Today let us make our own the prayer of the martyrs of Barbastro (Spain):

I will shout at the top of my lungs, and in our passionate cries deduce, dear Congregation, the love that we have for you, as we carry you in our memories even to these sorrow regions void of Christ (…) Beloved Congregation! Your children, missionaries throughout the world, greet you from their exile and offer you their sorrowful anguish as an expiatory holocaust for our deficiencies and in witness to our faithful, generous and everlasting love. Long live the Congregation! And when it is our time to leave, we will say: Goodbye, beloved Institute. We are going to heaven to pray for you. Goodbye! Goodbye!

The Pope of the family, St. John Paul II, is the Father of our religious family. Let us especially ask him today to intercede for our religious family. Let us ask him to intercede for all of our families. “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Mother of the Church, also be Mother of the ‘domestic Church’” (FC 86)

[1] Pope Francis: homily of the canonization of John Paul II 27-IV-14.

[2] cf. George Weigel, Witness to Hope, 1999, pp. 31-32.

[3] Cf. Familiaris Consortio n. 21; Lumen Gentium n. 11.

Letter on the occasion of the Family Synod

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on October 06, 2015
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Visits to the IVE mission in Papua New Guinea and Australia

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on September 27, 2014
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By the grace of God, between last August 25 and September 17, I was able to visit our priests in Vanimo (Papua New Guinea) after a brief stay in the city of Sydney, in Australia.

Currently the Vanimo community comprises of three priests, Fr. Tomás Ravaioli, Fr. Maximiliano Navarro and Fr. Martín Prado. As you know, the priests are in charge of the parish of Baro, near the town of Vanimo, which includes several communities (Wutung, Yako, Waramo, Baro, etc.) and two elementary schools (Baro and Simola). This parish is adjacent to the coast and extends from the boundary of the parish of Lido (near the diocesan seminary and the city of Vanimo) to the border with Indonesia, covering a length of about 50 kilometers.

Primeras comuniones en Yako

The communities there are along the coast, in a truly stunning setting, with the sea in front all along the parish boundary; about 30 meters from the shore there is a road, behind which there is a very thick forest of tall trees. Not without reason, the Papuans call their country “the last paradise”. To illustrate, I relate just the following: on the day I arrived, from the room I was staying I could see four dolphins passing by very close to the shore; on another day, along with the other priests, we saw an eagle ascending to great heights and then quickly swooping down to the level of the treetops. I also met “Aussie”, the Wallaby (a small kangaroo) that Fr. Maximiliano has as a pet.

During my brief stay I was able to participate in two first Communion celebrations, and I concelebrated Mass in several communities and in the two schools. I had the joy to observe the high regard that the people have for our priests. Both children and adults, seniors and families, show an obvious affection for them. The Institute has been working for several years in the parish of Baro, and over the years the parish has been transformed to almost one big family. Many people, in fact, consider themselves part of our religious family. I have met Papuan young people and children who had names such as Augustine, Luján, Manuela, and other Spanish names which were chosen by the people as a sign of affection for our missionaries.

Another aspect that struck me is the appreciation and the gift that the people of Papua New Guinea have for music: all of them sing and they do so with an enthusiasm that is contagious. Their generosity is also remarkable.

In the city of Port Moresby, I was able to meet with the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Michael W. Banach, and with the Bishop of Vanimo, His Excellency Cesare Bonivento, PIME.

I was also able to visit the Servants of the Lord in their two communities, who very kindly invited me to celebrate the Holy Mass for them on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

I have returned much edified by the testimony of the religious life of our priests, and also by their pastoral work. As we know from the chronicles that come to us from there, they face great challenges, but they also have many good projects that by the grace of God are being gradually implemented. Our priests show a great enthusiasm for the adventure of missionary work in this frontier of the Church. While there, I could not stop thinking about the attractiveness of this mission, which makes a demand absolutely of the whole of the missionary.

I thank our priests in Baro for their charity towards me during my visit, and I congratulate them for all the good done in this mission, which is so dear to our Institute.

Finally, I went to Australia on a visit aimed at exploring the possibility of establishing a foundation there, when God permits it, just as it was recommended in the General Chapter of 2007. On this subject I will write later in greater detail.

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Visits to Ecuador and Argentina

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on September 27, 2014
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From June 30 until July 31, I had the grace to visit the provinces of Ecuador and Argentina.

  1. Ecuador

For quite some time I had had the intention of visiting the priests of the Institute in Ecuador, who had kindly invited me several times to their province. For various reasons, until recently, I had not been able to make this trip. Now, by the grace of God, I was able to be with them for nearly two weeks, visiting all of our communities.

I arrived in Guayaquil, where I could see the truly exponential growth of San Pío de Pietrelcina school, located in Guasmo, which now has 300 students, and has made huge improvements in its buildings. Moreover, the parish of San Luis Rey, also in Guasmo, is not only carrying on full-fledged work in the improvement of the church building, but also has a very active pastoral life, with various kinds of associations: groups of Bible study, university students, altar servers, etc.

In the parish of Zamora Huayco in the Diocese of Loja, I again found a large growth in both the rectory and in the pastoral life. I also visited our dear El Gualel mission, where also significant improvements to the parish church are being made.

con el obispo de Loja, Mons. Alfredo J. Espinoza Mateus, SDB

In addition to the visits, I had the great joy of knowing the novices -to two of whom I imposed the cassocks- and the minor seminarians of the Institute. And I met with all the priests in the province in the town of Malacatos near Loja, where the novitiate building is located.

I had the privilege of meeting with the archbishop of Guayaquil, His Excellency Antonio Arregui Yarza and the bishop of Loja, His Excellency Alfredo Espinoza J. Mateus, SDB. We also visited the bishop of Babahoyo, His Excellency Marcos Pérez Caicedo.

In Ecuador, there is also the presence of convents and apostolates of the sisters, who are working very well, whom I was able to visit as well.

Our priests are working superbly in this beloved province, with great enthusiasm and many projects. I perceived an excellent relation of charity in their priestly fraternity and a very good relationship with the bishops with whom we work, as well as with the people of our parishes.

  1. Argentina

By the grace of God, after visiting the priests in Ecuador, I was able to go to Argentina; there, among other things, I wanted to participate in the ordination of the then Deacon Tomás Bonello, at the hands of His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who traveled to Argentina from the United States just for this event. The ceremony took place on July 26 in San Miguel Cathedral, Diocese of San Miguel (Buenos Aires).

In the city of San Rafael (Mendoza), I visited our seminary and some other houses: the Minor Seminary, the Monastery in Los Coroneles, the houses of charity of Saint Martin of Tours, San Juan Bosco and San Pío de Pietrelcina , the high school, and the parish of San Maximiliano Kolbe. It is very rewarding to see the growth of the work of the Institute in San Rafael.

Also there I visited the contemplative monastery of the sisters and the Santa Catalina juniorate.

On July 30, I visited the Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina, His Excellency Tscherrig Paul Emil, who was kind enough to meet me for about an hour at the Nunciature in Buenos Aires.

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Thank you very much for everything!

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on June 09, 2014
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8th May 2014, Solemnity of Our Lady of Luján

Your Eminence,

We are very grateful that you wanted to celebrate with us this holy Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lujan, the patroness of our Institutes as declared by the Holy See. It is an occasion that is very dear to all of us. She was precisely the one whom Father Buela, when he was still a seminarian, used to ask for the grace to be able to guide many vocations in his priestly life. Today, this is reality and we, her sons and daughters do not want to let this feast pass without manifesting our acknowledgment and gratitude. In addition, this year this feast coincides with both the recent canonization of John Paul II, “Father” of our religious family, and with the celebration of our 10th anniversary since the ecclesiastical approval of our Institutes.

Our constitutions (# 119-121) indicate that the priest, above all, should be a father, because when he is ordained he is granted the wonderful mission of generating children. The constitutions also state that this spiritual paternity should be achieved through the cross, prayer, apostolic zeal, and preaching. For each and all of these reasons, Pope John Paul II has been and continues to be a true father to our small religious family.

In effect, this great Pope has brought us to life through his preaching. Our founder was inspired in his magisterium in order to forge our specific purpose and charism. Our Constitutions contain more than a thousand quotations of his magisterium, making him the most cited author after the Second Vatican Council, so that our religious nourish their souls with his teachings, both for their personal lives and for the apostolic works of the Institute. Certainly there is no doubt that John Paul II is our father, since he generated us with his doctrine.

He has generated us through his prayer, which he constantly raised to heaven during the days of his pilgrimage in this world, through which he has given us such beautiful example, as well as through the prayers that, we trust, he must be offering, now more than ever, on our behalf in heaven.

Lastly, He has generated us through his prodigious and indefatigable apostolic zeal, which in our case, through the eternal and unfathomable designs of God’s Providence, many times was tied up to the mystery of the cross.

Your Eminence, you know perhaps better than anyone, of the personal care that his Holiness Saint John Paul II had for our small group. It will always be an honor for us that a Saint Pope, has worked in such a singular way for our small religious family in its beginnings, thus leaving him somehow forever associated to us. The paternity of our beloved Pope has truly manifested itself as a participation of the Paternity of God, and has become for us a visible image of God our Father.

Most Reverend Eminence, as we remember and appreciate the gestures and actions of his holiness Saint John Paul II, we are led to express our appreciation to you, who have been closely linked to our approval by the explicit request of Pope John Paul II.

We thank God for giving us today the opportunity of thanking you in public. Many thanks for everything, your Eminence! Our religious family will always remember how much you have done for us. We always pray especially for you, when we pray for our spiritual and material benefactors. Thank you very much for everything!

We also are very grateful to his Excellency Bishop Lino Fumagalli for being with us at this feast which is so important to us. It is a source of joy to have you with us on this day that is dedicated to our Patroness. Thank you very much your Excellency.

We also want to acknowledge our gratitude to his Excellency Bishop Andrea M. Erba, who approved our Institutes. He wanted to be here with us today but unfortunately he was unable to come. Without any doubts he joins us in his prayer.


Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE

General Superior 

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A Star on the Path

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on June 09, 2014
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Homily of Cardinal Angelo Sodano,

Dean of the College of Cardinals,

In the Holy Mass celebrated for the Institute of the Incarnate Word

On the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Lujan

(Thursday, May 8, 2014, Montefiascone, Viterbo, Italy)




Brothers and sisters in the Lord, my first words wish to express a cordial greeting to all of you united in this beautiful cathedral of Montefiascone on the feast of Our Lady of Lujan.


First of all, I want to greet the pastor and bishop of this beloved community, Bishop Lino Fumagalli, together with his collaborating priests.


A fraternal greeting arrives to all of you, dear brothers  and sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, who today celebrate the feast of the holy Patroness of your worthy Institute, and desire to entrust yourselves to the maternal protection of Mary on the tenth anniversary of the canonical elevation of your religious family, which took place on a day precisely like today, the 8th of May in 2004.


Truly the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been a star that has guided the path of your Institute during these years, and therefore, it is right that in this feast so proper to the nation of Argentina, we give thanks to the Lord together for the gifts He has granted to us through the intercession of His Most Holy Mother.


Today in Italy Mary is also celebrated under the characteristic title of Our Lady of Pompeii, and of Our Lady of the Victories.


The titles change with how we want to honor her whom the Lord has given us as a Mother, but in reality, she is always the same. It is the reality of Mary present in the life of the Church, and therefore, in the life of every Christian who venerates her as Mother.


1)   Our Lady of Lujan

For you, dear religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, the title of Our Lady of Lujan is very beloved.  It is a title that reminds you of the mysterious presence of Mary in the history of your nation.  Every Marian shrine is linked to some extraordinary event, an apparition, or a miraculous intervention of Mary.  In Saint Mary Major in Rome, the exceptional case of “the snow in August” is remembered, which marked the place where the Mother of Jesus wanted to be honored.  In Loreto, the extraordinary arrival of the Holy House of Nazareth is remembered.  In Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe we remember the diverse apparitions of Mary.  In the case of Lujan we remember the extraordinary act of the oxen that were pulling the cart with the image of Mary that came from Brazil.  In Lujan they halted their course without wanting to continue, indicating Mary’s choice to the faithful in this way.


The largest Shrine in honor of Mary then arose in this place, a center of Marian piety for all of Argentina.  Among the hundreds of churches and chapels dedicated to the Mother of God, the Shrine of Lujan thus became a true center of Marian piety throughout the nation.  Today from Italy we want to unite ourselves to our brothers and sisters from Argentina in order to sing the glories of Mary with them and commend ourselves to her maternal protection.


Recently some theologians have questioned the reason why the number of apparitions and manifestations of Mary have increased in these last centuries.  The answer seems to be this: because religious indifference has grown, because men are tempted to forget the Christian sense of life; and Mary, as a mother, has received from God precisely this mission: that of calling her children so they return to the Lord.  The more evil increases in the world, the more the Mother wants to intervene in order to attain the salvation of her children.


In this sense, two theologians, Fathers Roggio and Perrella, have recently written a beautiful book, “Apparizioni e Mariofanie” (“Apparitions and Mariofanies”) with the publisher San Paul (Milan, 2012).  “When evil grows in the world-conclude these theologians-the loving presence of Mary grows in order to call her children to travel the road of good.”


2)   The message of the feast

Brother and sisters in the Lord, even the readings at Holy Mass want to help us understand the mystery of the presence of Mary in the life of the church well!


In the first reading we have listened to the prophet Isaiah who, already more than 700 years before Christ, was speaking of the radiant hope of the coming of the Savior so as to save the people of Israel.  Under this point of view, in the course of the centuries, the Church has always associated the Redeemer with his Holy Mother, invoking her as “Our Hope” in the well known prayer “Salve Regina”.


In the second reading, the Apostle Paul has invited us to give thanks to the Father who is in heaven for all of the gifts he has given us, and among these gifts, the Church has always placed in a particular place the gift of Mary as spiritual Mother of Christians and powerful mediator of grace.


Lastly, in the Gospel, the Apostle Saint John reminds us of the testament of Jesus on the cross when he entrusted Mary to us saying, “Woman, behold your son.”  That son was not only the Apostle John.  It was each one of us who was entrusted to his Mother.  Since then every Christian has always entrusted himself to her with a profound spirit of faith. Thus should it be, in a particular way, for all of you, dear religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, who have always united the love of Mary to the love of Jesus.


3)   The hour of gratitude

Dear religious of the IVE, in this beautiful Marian feast, you also want to give thanks to the Lord through Mary, His Mother, for the divine assistance to your religious family, remembering the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute and the ten years of its canonical elevation.


With you many of your friends who have come today to this Cathedral raise to the Lord the song “Te Deum”.  United to you is the bishop of this beloved Diocese of Viterbo-Montefiascone, who with love has received you here.  Many priests and faithful, religious brothers and sisters who work here in the vineyard of the Lord have united themselves to you.  To them I also wanted to unite myself, who from the first years of the foundation of the Institute have always followed your path though the commission of the great Pope John Paul II, now your protector in heaven.


4)   Conclusion

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, we then celebrate this beautiful festivity of Our Lady of Lujan with great joy!  In our prayers we particularly remember Pope Francis, a great devotee of Mary, who has made pilgrimages to the feet if the Mother of God in the Shrine of Lujan so many times.  We also remember all the religious of the IVE who work to extend the Reign of God in different parts of the world.  To Holy Mary we will confide all of the esteemed religious “Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara” who work in many fields of apostolate.


We will leave here with a renewed commitment to continue faithfully serving the Lord and to keep on working for the spread of His Kingdom.  Amen.

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Letter on the occasion of the canonization of John Paul II

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on April 22, 2014
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Acilia, Rome, April 21, 2014

JP IIDear Brothers in the Incarnate Word,

On the occasion of the canonization of John Paul II, Father and Patron of our Religious Family, it seemed good to me to send you this circular letter in order to highlight an essential aspect of his sanctity in which he should be a model for each one of our religious: the perfect harmony between action and contemplation, in which contemplation takes the first place.

Over the course of his papacy, the Pope was a pilgrim in 129 countries during 104 apostolic visits, travelling 1,247,613 kilometers (775,230 miles) which is the equivalent of three trips from the earth to the moon.  The Pope left the city of Rome for 822 days during which he visited 1,022 cities and delivered 3,288 discourses.  His teachings are contained in 56 large volumes which occupy almost 4 meters (13 feet) of a library.  John Paul II gave 1,164 general audiences in addition to 1,600 meetings with heads of state.  He beatified 1,338 servants of God (of which 1,032 were martyrs) in the course of 147 ceremonies of beatification, and canonized 483 saints (of which 402 were martyrs).

However, the depth of the greatness of this Pope is not only revealed to us only or mainly by his incredible apostolic work. John Paul himself said once in regards to the attempts to tell his story, “You try to understand me from outside. But I can only be understood from inside.”[1]

To John Paul II can be applied in a paradigmatic form the definition that he himself made of the priest in one of his general audiences: “the priest should be, like Christ Himself, a man of prayer.”[2]  John Paul II was the model of a man of prayer in spite of the colossal work he carried out.  According to his own definition, one could rather say that his work was an effect that can be explained “from the inside” of the Pope. In other words, his work was mainly due to his contemplative spirit. He was a great saint and a great Pope.

In the audience mentioned above the Pope emphatically affirms that “Jesus teaches us that a fruitful exercise of the priesthood is not possible without prayer, which protects the priest from the danger of neglecting the interior life giving the primacy to action, and the temptation of being engaged to the point of losing oneself in activity.”[3]

He then continues by saying that the priests “should devote themselves to the contemplation of the Word of God.”[4] We should not be impressed by the word contemplation since “the invitation to listen to and meditate on the word of God with a contemplative spirit, and nourish the intelligence as well as the heart with the word is open to all. This favors the formation of a mentality in the priest, a way of contemplating the world with wisdom, in the perspective of the supreme end: God and His plan of salvation.”[5]

“In that lies supernatural wisdom, above all as a gift of the Holy Spirit, which permits to judge eternal things well in the light of the ultimate reasons.  Wisdom is thus converted in the principal assistance in order to think, judge, and value as Christ all things, big things as much as little things, so that the priest – as well and even more so than any other Christian- reflects in himself the light, adhesion to the Father, zeal for the apostolate, rhythm for prayer and action, and even the spiritual breath of Christ.”[6]

“If the priest is assiduous in this meditation, he will more easily remain in a state of conscious joy, which comes from the perception of the intimate personal fulfillment of the word of God that he should teach to others. In effect, as the Council says, the priests ‘seek how they may better teach others what they have learned, they will better understand “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) and the manifold wisdom of God’ (Presbyterorum ordinis, 13).”[7]

To this effect Father Castellani points out that in the root of the decadence and of the great problems of the modern world, which involves even some sectors of religious life, is found precisely a wrong understanding of the relationship between contemplation and action – or a subordination of the first to the second – which implies a certain contempt for wisdom, understood as knowledge by the last causes.[8]

In his Apostolic Letter Novo Millenio Ineunte, speaking of the great importance of respecting the primacy of grace, the Pope posits a pastoral plan that gives prayer its due space. He teaches in an incisive form that the neglect of this leads to great evils: “It is prayer which roots us in this truth. It constantly reminds us of the primacy of Christ and, in union with him, the primacy of the interior life and of holiness. When this principle is not respected, is it any wonder that pastoral plans come to nothing and leave us with a disheartening sense of frustration?”[9]

These very essential truths that the Holy Father reminds us, valid for every priest, are even more so for us religious. The Code of Canon Law, making an echo of the teachings of the Council, establishes the absolute primacy of prayer for every religious: “The first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer.”[10]  This essential necessity of prayer is indicated throughout our Constitutions, even having an entire article explicitly dedicated to this subject (#136-141).

“The primary reason for which a Christian becomes a religious is not to acquire a position in the Church, a responsibility, or a work, but to sanctify oneself,” said John Paul II said to religious. “This total consecration brings with it, as a consequence, a total availability. The Church has always proven, in the course of history, that it can count on the religious for the most delicate missions.  From all the above, it can be deduced that a religious cannot afford not being a man of prayer, a great prayer.”[11]

Thirteen days after his election, the Pope went with some of his colleagues close to Rome, in Mentorella where the shrine of The Mother of Grace is. He asked his companions as they travelled, “What is the most important thing for the Pope in his life, in his work?” They suggested to him, “Perhaps the unity of Christians, peace in the Middle East, the destruction of the Iron Curtain…?”  But he responded, “For the Pope, prayer is the most important.”[12]

This is what John Paul II taught us in his papal teaching. Moreover, it is what we learned from his personal example.

May we, through the example of John Paul II, the Great Pope and now a great Saint also!, deliver ourselves to what is first and principal, to that for which we became religious: the contemplation of the Word of God.

In the Incarnate Word and His Blessed Mother,


Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE

Superior General

Institute of the Incarnate Word



[1] George Weigel, Witness to Hope, New York, 1999, p. 7.

[2] John Paul II, General Audience, June 2, 1993.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Cf. Leonardo Castellani, Un país de Jauja, Mendoza, 1999, Pp. 43-44.

[9]Juan Pablo II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 38.

[10] Canon 663 § 1.

[11] John Paul II, Pastoral Visit to Brazil, Discourse to the Religious, July 3, 1980.

[12]Konrad Krajewski, Ricordo di Giovanni Paolo II a sei anni dalla morte, Dove sta il centro del mondo, L’Osservatore Romano, April 2, 2011, quoted by Carlos M. Buela, Juan Pablo Magno, p. 605.



Greetings – Solemnity of the Incarnation

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on April 07, 2014
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Dear Fathers, Religious Brothers and Sisters, and Faithful Friends of the Incarnate Word,


Today is a very special date for our Institute as it celebrates its first 30 years of foundation.  A few days ago, our sisters, the Servants, also celebrated their 26 years of existence.  We give thanks to God who, in his eternal designs, has desired to raise our small Religious Family up in the Church.

The ways of Divine Providence are always unfathomable. The brief history of our Institute has so often been marked with the sign of the cross.  We have not lacked difficulties, contradictions, and tests.  Nevertheless, looking back with evangelical simplicity, it is clear that God has been very present at the beginning of this work, has always accompanied it all along the way and with love of a Father, has guided and sustained it even in the midst of difficulties.  Moreover, it was precisely in the most difficult moments that the Goodness and Power of God have always radiated in the brightest way.

This is why we give thanks to God, and in thanking Him for His gifts, we cannot fail to also thank all those people who God, in his paternal solicitude, has often sent to serve us.  In this context we do not forget all of our friends and the material and spiritual benefactors of our Institute, especially those who remember us in their prayers.  We thank everyone for everything!

For us these years seem to be a long period of time, but with hindsight, our Institute is really in its beginnings.  This is, therefore, also a moment to look ahead and ask for the necessary graces to respond, increasingly better, to the call that we have received, personally and as an Institute.

The Gospel is very clear that the solidity of a house is related to the firmness of its foundations, or in other words, with the fidelity to the will of God.  In short, the only thing that really matters in our lives is that we are faithful to the divine designs on us.  We ask, in a very special way today and always, the grace to be faithful to the charism that we have received so that God will find us at the height of our calling and that we may always and only perform His holy will.

May Our Lady of Lujan, Blessed John Paul II, and all our patron saints protect and bless us in this intention.


May God bless you abundantly!


In Christ and Mary,


Father Carlos Walker, IVE

Rome, March 25, 2014

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30 years of the foundation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on March 15, 2014
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It has been some days since I had the grace to visit, accompanied by Father Emanuel Martelli, our mission in Ushetu (Tanzania), where our priests have been working since 2010 and the Servants since 2009.  We always read with much attention and not with less pleasure what the chronicles that frequently arrive from this mission tell us, but it is not the same to read about a mission than to be there and to confirm what was told in a personal way.



(More pictures HERE – Video about the IVE Mission in Tanzania HERE)

The mission in Ushetu is an extremely attractive reality for one who boasts of having a missionary vocation.  The best thing that one could have dreamed for his pastoral ministry is found in abundance there: an enormous quantity of souls obviously thirsty for God.  The parish accounts for about 100 thousand people, of whom 60 thounsand are Catholics.  The vast majority of them are young people and children (families in Tanzania normally have between 7 and 15 children).

The numbers, however, do not say everything about the mission.  As I say, what makes this special place so attractive is the openness and the enthusiasm with which the people receive the things of God.  The people of Ushetu are characterized by their constant joy, their laboriousness (wherever you gaze, you see cultivated fields), their generosity (they give from their poverty with joy), their talent and enthusiasm for music, etc.  But what catches your attention most about these people is their faith and receptivity to the missionaries.

It is hard to leave a place where the people, when told that they would have to wait for the celebration of the Mass (which resulted in an hour of waiting) because the priest had to hear confessions, responded with a true explosion of joy at knowing they would have the chance to go to confession.  Their joy made you think they were celebrating a soccer goal.  It is difficult to forget these people who prefer to confess themselves kneeling on the ground, instead of being seated comfortably in a chair, and even more so when those who do this are pregnant women, blind people, the elderly, etc.  People took off their shoes when they came close to the place of confession as a sign of reverence for the sacrament.  It is amazing to see them practicing in the choir for many interrupted hours, even in the moonlight, in order to sing well in the Mass on the following day.  Interestingly they sang and practiced a hymn whose text says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” (Isaiah 52:7).  More striking still is to hear them say and emphatically repeat, “please come back, pray with us in the language that you know, but pray with us…”

It is not that surprising that during the course of the 20th century, the number of Catholics in the African continent increased from 1.9 million to 130 million: a 6,708% increase.  The growth trend is not diminishing but continues growing by the numbers of births as well as conversions.

Our priests in Ushetu, like the Servants, are doing a truly fantastic work.  It would be fitting for me to write another circular about the work of our missionaries, but I will defer this to the chronicles and pictures that can be found on the mission’s blog.

Approaching the date of the first 30 years of the foundation of the Institute, with the background of the mission in Ushetu, many thoughts come to my mind, fundamentally of profound gratitude,  and consequently of humility, of hope, and of confidence in the inscrutable ways of Providence.  By the grace of God and the generous response of our missionaries, throughout these 30 years, the Institute has developed and expanded in a way that was never imagined in the beginning.

It is God who brought us to the very special place of Ushetu.  He also brought us to other places that, like Ushetu, have particular difficulties.  Being in Africa, one cannot help but think of some missions entrusted to us, such as Vanimo (Papua New Guinea), Santa Rosa and Charity (Guyana), the Gaza Strip and Beit Jala (Israel), Alepo (Siria), Bagdad (Iraq), King Mariut, El Fayum and Alexandría (Egypt), Anjara (Jordan), Kalmet (Albania), Skadosk (Ukraine), Greenland (Dinamarca), Reykjavík (Island), Omsk y Jabarovsk (Siberia, Russia), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Shymkent (Kazakhstan), Bagong Barrio (Philippines), Chiquitos and Oruro (Bolivia), Cotahuasi, Chuquibamba and Cabanaconde (Peru), El Guasmo and El Gualel (Ecuador), Vila Guacuri (Brazil), La Pintana (Chile), Los Juríes (Argentina), Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), and many more.  Likewise I was thinking of another type of mission in which we work and whose difficulties are perhaps less overt at first sight.  Being more subtle does not make the difficulties less real.  In these the work of the new evangelization must be carried out with all the challenges that this brings.

One of the most attractive aspects of the Church is her missionary character.  By her very nature, the Church is missionary (cf. Ad gentes 2), which is closely related with her catholic and apostolic character.

But the fact that that the mission is always so attractive does not mean that it doesn’t involve sacrifices at the same time.  On the contrary, the mission is a testimony, an authentic unbloody martyrdom, with the possibility, sometimes very real, of it turning into a bloody martyrdom.  The numbers of the martyrs, particularly of the 20th century, speak for themselves in this regard.

It is for this that we have the duty to remember and recognize those who have announced the Gospel, likewise those are doing it in this moment, according to what the Scriptures tell us, “remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider how their lives ended and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).  We should never forget that we are benefactors of the apostolic mission of the Church, of the preaching, and of the testimony of so many of her valued children.

Because of all this, goes our most sincere respect, heartfelt gratitude, and profound admiration to all of our dear missionaries who, in one way or another, have made in their lives a reality which Father Jeronimo Nadal indicates in relation to men to their Order: “It should be noted that in the Society (of Jesus) there are distinct classes of houses or dwellings.  They are: the house of probation, the college, the professed house, and the journey-and for this last the whole world becomes (our) home.

Very often we have the pleasure of hearing from our missionaries, “I am willing to go where there is a need”, and when there is a lack of missionaries for a difficult place, by the grace of God, those who offer themselves never lack.  On the contrary, in conformity with our spirituality and the search to imitate the mortifying virtues of Christ in the Incarnation (cf. Constitutions 11), for our edification, it is not necessary to wait for the offerings to arrive from the four corners of the world.  The whole world, to which the Gospel has to be preached, effectively is transformed in this way in the house of our missionaries.  Saint Luis Maria, in his ardent plea, asked precisely this: “Liberos: priests free with their liberty, detached from everything…without goods, without impediments or worries, and even without their own will…Liberos: men always available…always quick to run and to suffer all with you and for your cause, like the Apostles: Let us also go to die with Him…”

In celebrating these first 30 years of our small Institute, I take as my own the words of Blessed Paolo Manna, referring to the members of the PIME:

 “I admire, I love, I honor this Institute of ours which, more than just an Institute of missionaries, is an Institute fearless of martyrdom, not to the martyrdom of blood, that is finished with a prompt and glorious death, but many times a prolonged martyrdom, hidden, painful that damages slowly- and not always so slowly, the precious supply, generous of so many of its members.”

We will join together on the 25 of March in an action of thanks, that with “one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32), we will rise to the heavens from the four corners of the world!

We entrust in a special way all of our missionaries, our works and projects to the Mother of the Incarnate Word, under the title of Virgin of Lujan, and to Blessed John Paul II, who will soon be canonized.  May God give us the grace to live the fullness of our call.

In the Incarnate Word and His Blessed Mother,


Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE

Superior General

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Circular Letter: Prayers for some “front line” missions of the Institute

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on February 05, 2014
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Acilia, Rome, January 30, 2014

 Dear Provincials,

On Saturday, January 25th, Fr. Federico Highton sent me a brief account of his conversation with the Holy Father, after having concelebrated Holy Mass with him at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the previous Monday, the 20th of January.

During the course of the last few months, several of our missionaries have had the opportunity to concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father or to greet him. Many of you may have heard about some of these meetings and the words of praise and encouragement from the Pope, especially for those missions which he calls the “front line” of the Church.

Speaking of our missions in “the front lines”, I would like to ask your prayers in a special way for our missionaries. I mean all of them, but at this point especially those who are in Syria, Gaza, Baghdad and Egypt. Also, I ask you to pray for our priests in Ukraine where, as you know, presently there is a very tense and delicate situation that could lead to a civil war.

In addition to asking for prayers, I take the opportunity to tell you that, a few days ago, I was able to speak with the priests who carry on the mission in these difficult places, where there are wars presently. For example, until now, it had been almost impossible to contact the Fathers in Syria but now, by God’s grace, I was able to do it by other means. When they have power one can contact them, and so sometimes one needs to keep trying until we are able to establish communication (you first send them a small message and see if they respond). It is very edifying to hear some of the details of the daily lives of the priests in Syria: Adoration with the people, Rosary and the Holy Mass. All this is done by the light of a small lamp with a cable borrowed from the neighbors. Despite the cold, the lack of power and the difficulty in doing many activities, they organize various apostolates as we learn from their chronicles. Of course, they try not to go out into the street much, unless it is absolutely necessary. Fr. Rodrigo Miranda told me that in these days there has been bombing in their very neighborhood. The day-to-day situation that our priests in Gaza face is something similar, where it is known that the situation is extremely difficult. Also in Baghdad, there has recently been a great surge in violence.

Our priests are bearing witness to Christ in these places that are extremely difficult. I invite you to contact them by email or other means. Needless to say, to speak with one of us is very important for them.

I conclude with the warmest greetings in Christ and Mary, wishing you a blessed day of the religious which will be celebrated soon.

Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE

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