The more a priest lives the spirit of the Movement, the more he commits himself enthusiastically to the initiatives of the Church and makes them his own. Sometimes though, the Movement develops within the life of the Church with an activity proper to itself, which is that of bringing the priests and the faithful together in gatherings of prayer and fraternal sharing called “Cenacles.”
“I recommend to you to gather together often in your cenacles, in order to give me a great force of prayer, with which I may be able to intervene before my Son Jesus, that He may quickly obtain for you from the Father the gift of a new and second Pentecost for the Church and for all humanity.”
(310b, May 26, 1985)
The Structure of the Cenacles
The structure of the cenacles is quite simple.
In imitation of the disciples who were united with Mary in the Cenacle of Jerusalem, we also find ourselves praying together with Mary, living the consecration and having fraternity.
TO PRAY WITH MARY
The cenacles must, above all, be gatherings of prayer.
But this prayer must be made together with Mary. It is for this reason that one of the characteristics that is common to all the cenacles is the recitation of the holy rosary. Through it we invite Our Lady to join us in our prayer; we pray together with her, while she herself unveils to our souls the mystery of the life of Jesus.
“Your entire rosary, which you recite in the Cenacle in accordance with the urgent request of your Mother, is like an immense chain of love and salvation with which you are able to encircle persons and situations, and even to influence all the events of your time. Continue to recite it, and multiply your cenacles of prayer...”
(October 7, 1979)
TO LIVE THE CONSECRATION
During the cenacles, we should help each other to live the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the way we should do it: by accustoming ourselves to Our Lady’s way of seeing, feeling, loving, praying and working. The pause for meditation which is made during the cenacles must serve this purpose. There are other times and places for general discussions which are likewise indispensable for all. Usually this space of time is given over to a communal meditation from the blue book. It is not therefore within the spirit of the Cenacle to spend this time listening to learned conferences or cultural updatings. Otherwise we would run the risk of getting away from that atmosphere of simplicity and of familiarity which makes our gatherings so fruitful.
TO CREATE FRATERNITY
Lastly, in the cenacles we are all called to take part in the experience of a true fraternity. Is this not perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences which always occurs in every Cenacle? The more we pray and allow time for the action of Our Lady, the more we experience as well an increase of mutual love among ourselves.
“Why do I want them to come together in cenacles with me?...To love each other and to live in true brotherhood in the company of their Mother. It is necessary today that my priests know each other, that they help each other, that they truly love one another, that they be as brothers brought together by their Mother. There is today too much loneliness, too much abandonment for my priests!... I do not want them to be alone: they must help each other, love each other, they must feel as – and really be – brothers.” (January 17, 1974)
To the danger of loneliness, today particularly felt and dangerous for priests, here is the remedy offered by Our Lady: the Cenacle, where we gather together with her to get to know, love and help each other as brothers.
Regional, Diocesan and Family Cenacles
Regional and diocesan cenacles always develop in union with the bishop of the place who either takes part personally or, at times, gives his assent and blessing.
These cenacles offer an enviable opportunity of experiencing, in a concrete way, prayer offered together and genuine fraternity, and are a great help to all in overcoming doubts and difficulties in order to continue with courage along the difficult road of consecration.
From among those priests who have taken on the task of bringing their confreres together, directors of the Movement have been selected at the national, regional, and diocesan level. From the directors of each country, very comforting accounts have been received. In these we find assurance that the cenacles have continued to develop increasingly and with a certain fruitfulness for their local churches.
Family cenacles are today particularly providential, in view of the serious break-up of family life. In these, one or more families of the Movement gather together in the same house. The rosary is recited. There is a meditation on the life of consecration. Also there is fraternal sharing during which mutual problems and difficulties are discussed. There is always, made as a group, the renewal of the act of entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It has already become evident that Christian families have been helped by these family cenacles to live today as true communities of faith, prayer and love.
“I look with love on the families consecrated to me. [...] I see to the care of your spiritual life. I seek to bring the souls of those who compose the family to live always in the grace of God. [...] I strengthen more and more unity within families. I bring them to a greater and reciprocal understanding [...] I look after the children; I lead them to walk along the road of the realization of a plan of God [...] I see also to the material good of the families consecrated to me. [...] If you all walk along the road which I have traced out for you, your families will be the first buds of my triumph.” (cf. #358 - July 23, 1987)
Finding or Starting a Cenacle
To find out if there is a Cenacle in your area, contact the regional director closest to you, or the National Headquarters in your country.
Only two or three people are needed to form a cenacle. Follow the format as indicated in the cenacle guide. The cenacle can be held in a house or oratory, in a chapel or in a church if the priest accepts and you are a faithful parishioner.
The best method is to meet on a fixed date (e.g. the 1st Saturday of the month, or the 3rd Sunday, etc.). Regularity is important. It can be monthly (as it is for most cenacles), weekly or according to any other schedule.
It is good to notify the local or national director for help and assistance. He can send you a cenacle guide and the book of messages and inform you when there are regional and national cenacles.
It is especially important that, in a cenacle, there are no messages other than those from the Blue Book.