Heralds of the Gospel

The Heralds of the Gospel is an International Association of Christ’s Faithful of Pontifical Right, the first to be erected by the Holy See in the third millennium, on the occasion of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 2001.

Made up mainly of young people, this Association is present in 80 countries. Its consecrated members practice celibacy, dedicating themselves wholly to apostolate, living in houses destined specifically for young men and women. Their daily life alternates between recollection, study, and prayer, along with evangelizing activities in dioceses and parishes, with special emphasis given to the formation of youth.

Although they do not profess vows and while remaining in the lay state — with the exception of some who have embarked on the priesthood — the Heralds of the Gospel seek to practice the evangelical counsels, in all their fascinating purity.

It is their practice to live in community (masculine or feminine), in a setting of fraternal charity and discipline. Their houses foster a deep life of prayer and study, in accordance with the wise directive of Saint John Paul II:

“The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever-clearer discovery of one’s vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one’s mission.” (Christifidelis Laici, 58).

The founder of the Heralds of the Gospel is  Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias.

AIM

The opening articles of its Statutes outlines the vocation of the Heralds of the Gospel: This Association […] was born with the aim of being an instrument of sanctity in the Church, helping its members respond generously to the call of the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity, aiding and fostering an intimate unity between practical life and faith. […]. Furthermore, the Association aims at conscious and responsible active participation of its members in the salvific mission of the Church through apostolate, to which there are destined by the Lord, in virtue of Baptism and Confirmation. In this way, they should act in favor of evangelization, sanctification, and the Christian advancement of temporal realities.

SPIRITUALITY

The spirituality of the Heralds of the Gospel is anchored on three essential points: the Eucharist, Mary, and the Pope as defined in its statutes.

“The spirituality has as its mainstay, adoration of the Eucharistic Jesus—of inestimable value in the life of the Church, to build it up as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, body and spouse of Christ. (EE 25, 61); filial Marian piety, imitating the ever Virgin Mary, and learning to contemplate the face of Jesus in her (NMI 59), and devotion to the Papacy, visible foundation of unity of faith. (LG 18).”

These points are vibrantly represented in the emblem distinguishing the Association.

CHARISM

Its charism leads it to seek to act with perfection in search of pulchritude in all the acts of daily life, even while in private, and is expressed in the sublime commandment of Jesus Christ: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

For the Herald of the Gospel, this calling to perfection should not remain restricted to interior acts, but should be exteriorized in all activities, in order to better reflect God. This is to say that the Heralds should clothe all of his daily actions in ceremonial, both in the intimacy of private life and in public; in works of evangelization, in interacting with his brethren, in participation in the Liturgy, in musical and theatrical presentations, and in all other circumstances.

This search for perfection signifies not only embracing and practicing virtue, but also doing so with pulchritude, with beauty, which can be an important element to sanctification.

With good reason, Paul VI emphasized this important teaching of the Second Vatican Council in his Message to Artists:

“This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration!”


EVANGELIZATION

THROUGH CULTURE AND ART

Seeing culture and art as efficacious instruments of evangelization, the Heralds execute a broad range of vocal and instrumental music.

They have formed numerous choirs, orchestras and musical ensembles, to bring their message of faith and hope to contemporary society.

The important role of art has been recently emphasized by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI—himself a great appreciator of music—on various occasions, as, for example, in his closing words during the concert offered by the President of the Italian Republic, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the pontificate, 24/04/2008.

There is a mysterious and deep kinship between music and hope, between song and eternal life: not for nothing does the Christian tradition portray the Blessed in the act of singing in a choir, in ecstasy and enraptured by the beauty of God. But authentic art, like prayer, is not foreign to everyday reality although it requires us to “water” it and make it germinate if it is to bring forth the fruit of goodness and peace.”

COMPANIONS

The “Companions” form another category of members, who “while identifying with the spirit of the Association—as laid out in its statutes—are unable to commit fully to its objectives due to their priestly commitments, or because of belonging to some institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life, or due to their matrimonial or professional duties. ”

Therefore, as married or single lay people living in the world, priests, deacons, religious, lay people of consecrated life or members of other associations or ecclesiastical movements, the Companions of the Heralds of the Gospel, besides observing the precepts and duties proper to their state in life, make an effort to live in conformity with the charism and spirituality of the Association, dedicating their free time to it and committing themselves to fulfill certain obligations.

The powerful witness offered by the manner of living of the members of Heralds of the Gospel has attracted numerous persons, to not only desire to be the passive recipients of the good example and other graces granted by Divine Providence through their ministry, but has led them to desire to become an active part of this ministry, each according to their respective profession and condition in life, by sharing in the particular spirituality and charism of the association and becoming harbingers of the Good News.

Out of this desire expressed by so many individuals in different cities and countries the new institution of “Companions” arose within Heralds of the Gospel in which they are able to participate in its evangelizing efforts.

According to the Statutes of the Heralds of the Gospel, these Companions are those who, “while they identify themselves with the spirit of the Association, due to their priestly duties, or because they belong to an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, or due to their professional or family obligations, cannot give themselves fully to the work of the Association” (Statute 9).

Therefore, as married or single lay people living in the world, priests, deacons, religious, lay people of consecrated life or members of other associations or ecclesiastical movements, the Companions of the Heralds of the Gospel, besides observing the precepts and duties proper to their state in life, make an effort to live in conformity with the charism and spirituality of the Association, dedicating their free time to it and committing themselves to fulfill certain obligations.

The Heralds of the Gospel are at the service of the Church. They proclaim the Gospel to all social classes, they work in parishes, homes and schools.  They act in the most diverse social and cultural milieux, among professionals, among the working class, in the world of sports, in world of television and radio, in hospitals, in nursing homes, in slums, in prisons, in any place where they can bring consolation, encouragement and hope.

In as much as his obligations in life allow, a Companion also takes part in these activities, under the direction of those designated by the appropriate superior.

They desire to apply to their daily life — in their family circles, during social activities and in the workplace — the spirit and teaching of the Heralds of the Gospel, being witnesses of Christ to their neighbor by both word and example.

At the same time, like any herald of the Gospel, they know that all their efforts will be useless, if their hearts are not intimately united to Jesus and Mary, for the interior life is the soul of the apostolate.

To give witness to beauty, the splendour of virtue and of truth; to be a symbol of the infinite greatness and goodness of God, transmitting a note of solemnity and pulchritude, in all their manifestations, is the ideal of the Heralds of the Gospel.

It is in accordance with this charism that the Heralds of the Gospel — those who lead an entirely dedicated life, as well as the Companions — seek the perfection of charity in all things: “If I have not charity I account for nothing…if I have not charity, I am nothing… the greatest [of the three theological virtues] is charity” (1 Cor 13:2-3,13). They desire to attain sanctity itself.

As Saint John Paul II alerted, sanctity “is a duty which concerns not only certain Christians: ‘All the Christian faithful, of whatever state or rank, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity’”(Lumen Gentium 40, Novo Millennio Inuente 30).

“The whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction…. the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ‘training in holiness’… This training must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance, as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church” (Novo Millennio Inuente, 31).

“As the Council itself explained,” Saint John Paul continues, “this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few ‘uncommon heroes’ of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual” (Novo Millennio Inuente, 31).

As any herald of the Gospel, the Companions participate in the special graces that God sends the Association. The Holy Father has granted them plenary indulgences in articulo mortis, on the day one is received into the Association, and on the feasts of the Chair of Peter (February 22nd), Our Lady of Good Counsel (April 26th) and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

They are grouped into Sodalities, organized in function of their parishes, or the proximity of a house of the Heralds of the Gospel.

To become a Companion, the candidate begins by making the preparation for the Consecration to Jesus Christ the Incarnate Wisdom, through the hands of Mary, according to the aforementioned method of St. Louis de Montfort. They are admitted afterwards, upon pronouncing the formula of the Consecration, during a ceremony in which they receive the Companion cloak, the insignia or pin by which they are identified, and Prayer Book.

The Prayer Book contains the prayers which Christians should pray at different times of the day, for example, upon awakening, before retiring, before and after meals, at the time of the Angelic Salutation, (Angelus), along with other prayers to increase the life of piety, obtain the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, and to please God