On May 17-19, 2024, ninety members of the Militia of the Immaculata of Italy gathered at the Seraphicum college in Rome for their annual national formation meeting. They met to discuss their experiences in evangelizing across the various regions, with the goal of improving the quality of their message as they evangelize, and thus, with the essential help of the Immaculate Conception, make the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ever more attractive.

It was a great joy for the participants to meet with one another and show their determination to evangelize through the charism of St. Maximilian M. KOLBE, who always regarded our Mother Mary as an indispensable instrument for reaching her Son Jesus.
The meeting began with the recitation of Evening Prayer and Eucharistic adoration. It was a time of deep spirituality and intensive prayer that revealed the unity of heart among the militia members, something which truly showed the quality of their relationship with God.
On Saturday, May 18, the day started with Morning Prayer and Mass. Immediately afterwards, Friar Emanuele RIMOLI gave a two-part reflection on: “How to Talk about Martyrdom Again.” He highlighted St. Francis as a promoter of great innovations in the Church. He mentioned how St. Maximilian drew his spirituality from the Church and Franciscanism. Regarding Mary, he pointed out that “the Immaculate Conception is beauty that knows no decay.” He went on to explain that in knowing the Merciful One, in whom we believe, we are comforted by the conviction that the Lord never changes His mind about us. However, the witness that a Christian bears is important, as shown by St. Maximilian’s own witness of martyrdom. Everything comes to us through God’s Love. His love belongs to us by nature, along with its demands. It is not enough for a Christian to behave well if he does not attend Sunday Mass (before the pandemic, only 12% of Catholics did) and if he does not know the Scriptures. In such a case, his witness is not credible.
The meeting continued with the militia members reflecting together in three groups. The results of their reflection were then submitted to Friar Emanuel, who emphasized how much God loves us even amid our difficulties and sins. Christ takes hold of our sins and transforms them into life. This was witnessed when he descended into hell in order to set souls free to experience the joy of paradise. This was all done out of love for everyone. As Christ loves us, so we too are called to love our brothers and sisters. Our love must have the flavor of the Gospel, otherwise it is idolatry. We must live our humanity as Jesus did.
On Sunday, May 19, the day began with Morning Prayer followed by a reflection on the ways and means of consecrating oneself to the Immaculata. The attentiveness of the participants, and the harmonious atmosphere that surrounded them, showed that the meeting was more than a melting pot of different experiences; it was also a fundamental leaven for increasing the activities of the M.I.
The meeting concluded with Mass presided over by the Delegate of the Minister General for the Assistance of the M.I., Friar Gilson NUNES.

Angelo TORRE