The Community of John XXIII
The Catholic reform movement has been exemplary in its theology and focused action for change in doctrine, structure and social justice. Its guiding light has been, of course, the Gospel message and life of Jesus Christ but also the contemporary influence of Vatican II and John XXIII. This reform movement has been searching more recently for ways to bring a greater ecumenical presence into its membership and a more intensive testimony to its spiritual commitments. Recent developments in the Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) have addressed the ecumenical issue of membership. The present proposal for an ecumenical community of John XXIII seeks to intensify this ecumenical influence but, more pointedly, to emphasize the spirituality which gives people life in areas no other reform initiatives reach.
One of the great glories of Catholicism, indeed one of its most creative contributions, has been the formation of formal religious communities. These religious communities seek a new way of forging bonds built on faith and mission by a common life, common prayer and common witness.
The Community of John XXIII will be sponsored by CORPUS (from the Roman Catholic tradition) and by the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (from the Old Catholic tradition of Christianity). By working together, these two sponsoring organizations will show that the spiritual yearning we have in common transcends doctrinal and structural divisions.
The Community of John XXIII will be open to any and all Christians who subscribe to its Charter and its way of life. Its Charter is simply stated in its three goals: a common life, common prayer and common witness.
GOALS AND MISSION
The Community of John XXIII is committed to realize a common life, common prayer and common witness by taking into account the mobility, diversity, and secular values of contemporary life.
A common life among the members of this Community will be fostered by a public witness of commitment to three vows: frugality (poverty), solidarity (obedience), and fidelity (chastity).
The common life will be fostered by an annual meeting or chapter bringing together members for communal reflection on goals, mission and strategy. Regional meetings will also be made available to satisfy this requirement for meeting.
Common life will be directed by a Spiritual Mentor, chosen by members to organize, lead, and challenge the Community.
Common life will include accountability by means of an annual report by the Spiritual Mentor and Community to the sponsoring organizations (CORPUS and ECC). This common life will be developed on a model of consensus voting on all initiatives. It will include financial contributions, negotiated individually with invested members, to support the community mission.
2. Common Prayer
The prayer of the Community will be based on the biblical readings of the Ecumenical Lectionary throughout the Liturgical Year. Each month these readings will be electronically posted and members will be urged to make them part of their meditation and prayer.
Occasionally, retreats and pilgrimages will enrich the common prayer of the Community.
3. Common Witness
Common witness will begin with an Investiture Ceremony of commitment to the vows, chapter meetings, direction of the Spiritual Mentor, accountability, consensus voting, financial support, common prayer, and apostolic work. All these items have already been addressed with the exception of apostolic work.
Apostolic work and ministry will be defined in a dialogue between the Spiritual Mentor or Community and the individual member. It will be expressed in writing and in public proclamation at Chapter or in newsletter communication. This apostolic work may include service in pastoral and sacramental assignments and certification by the Community of the apostolic mission of its individual member.
The purpose of the Community of John XXIII is the spiritual development and apostolic work of its members. It focuses its energy on the inner life of prayer and contemplation, seeking to challenge the minds and hearts of its members to a fuller living out of the Gospel message. It strives to do this by blending traditional and contemporary experiences with religious life. Its intent is discipleship with Christ and public commitment to common life, common prayer and common witness as a means to make this discipleship central.