Today, the practice of association is gaining more and more interest among the lay faithful. John Paul II affirmed that "the Church of the 21st century will be a Church of the laity, or it will simply not be." The laity, committed to the Church and integrated through a model that brings true conviction, are the “right arm” for a society of apostolic life like ours.
Eudists have welcomed the commitment of laity consciously and with a spirit of responsibility. We recognize the important role of the lay faithful in the apostolic mission, and the valuable and innovative contributions that come from their varied backgrounds of work and education, their enthusiasm, and experience.
We have brought them into the work of our various apostolates. Our desire is to build new ways of evangelization and service to the Church together.
This experience of audaciously building links between the laity and Eudist life is illuminated by our Constitutions and the legacy of St. John Eudes, who always worked with the help of the lay faithful, where he also found some of his closest friends.
We, the Eudist friends, associates and collaborators are men and women, youth and adults, who discover ourselves to be loved by God the Father, redeemed by Jesus Christ, and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. We recognize a call from God to not conform ourselves to what the world offers, instead, we find within the CJM an opportunity and a way to:
- advance in faith as Christian Catholics, by actively participating in the "school of sanctity" proposed by St. John Eudes;
- to have a solid spirituality which empowers our condition as persons living in the world and ignites in our being a fire that is never extinguished;
- to share fraternally with others, being mutually strengthened as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, all of which contributes to our integral development, gives meaning to our lives, and propels our mission to build the kingdom of God in the realities in which we live.
We are linked to the CJM through the local communities in one of three ways:
- as friends of the Eudists, with fraternal ties that bring us to share, in all liberty, times of celebration, spirituality and mission;
- as Eudist associates, by an official engagement, with responsibilities and commitments spelled out in the Constitutions and the Statutes of the Associates. This impart to us a specific identity and character, and allows us to be members of the same family, for which we are all co-responsible, and in which we share, according to our condition in life, a spirituality, fraternity, and mission with the Eudists.
- as collaborators with the Eudists, through voluntary service or labor in the houses or apostolates of the Eudist provinces.
Without leaving behind who we are, without setting aside our own family and professional life, we participate in:
- times of formation, through meetings and courses, both in-person and virtual;
- in spiritual encounters, retreats and times of prayer;
- in missions, evangelization, and apostolate;
- in celebratory gatherings of community life;
- in projects to guarantee the sustainability of the apostolates.
In different Eudist Provinces, the laity which are committed and inspired by the Eudist spirituality carry out our project of Christian life with particular emphases, and in various communal and ecclesial fields:
- in works of mercy and commitment to social justice, equality and peace; in service to the poor, carrying out projects and programs to promote the integral development of persons and communities;
- with explicitly evangelistic action, in the announce of the kerygma, seeking the renewal of faith and Christian life, with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is done principally in the context laid out by the Aparecida document: through personal witness and in modern communications media;
- in parochial ministry, in the various services of parish life, both in Eudist parishes and in dioceses where there are no Eudist priests, wherever we happen to be, but always in a Eudist spirit;
- in the formation of good laborers for the Gospel, through activities of spiritual, biblical, theological and pastoral education;
- in support of Eudist priestly vocations;
- in fraternal accompaniment of Eudist priests.
"Life is given to us in order that we might love, serve and adore." (Rafael Garcia Herreros, eudist)
The incorporated Eudists in each province establish times of participation, missions, retreats, prayer groups, and apostolates. They invite the laity, according to their particular contexts, to share in the fraternity, spirituality, and mission of the local Eudist communities.
Through these three categories of lay affiliation (friends, associates and collaborators,) community is built in flexible structures. It is motivated and inspired to be a school of sanctity, committed to making Jesus live and reign in us and in the world.
The laity who work in the different fields of apostolate and labor with the Eudists are recognized and valued as an important part of the family. We are carriers of the Eudist apostolate and way of life, and feel called to serve the Church through this spirituality. We are strengthened in our common labor from the vantage point of faith. This is what makes us unique: the collaborators of the different Eudist apostolates accept and honor the charism and spirituality, and from our formation in it, we receive a “Eudist” vision of Christian life.
Although not an apostolic movement, we have our own meetings and times for organization, planning, and reinforcement of our work and way of living. In this way, we translate the Eudist charism into the world of the laity for the 21st century. We are "together for the mission" in the works of mercy, helping form good laborers for the Gospel, in order to love God and do His will with a generous heart and a willing spirit, dedicated to serve Christ and His Church, holy and righteous in His sight, all the days of our lives.
"Come, and together let us give the rest of our lives in the service of our Master!" (St. John Eudes)