NACAR Board Messages

NACAR Board Messages

Each month, the NACAR Board President or another member of the NACAR Board of Directors sends a brief message to all members of NACAR. You may read those messages here.

Increasing GraphHave you thought of yourself recently as God’s answer to prayer? NACAR knows you are and the 2015 – 16 CARA survey confirms it. It reports that the number of associates has doubled since the initial survey of 2000 – 2002. You are one way God is responding to our prayers for vocations. Apparently God is very serious about raising up women and men, calling them to deeper relationship with God’s self, connecting them to various religious institutes and asking them to leaven the world with the spirit, spirituality and charisms of these institutes that is alive in their hearts.

As a new Board member, I realize even more how much NACAR wants to honor the uniqueness of each group and at the same time resource, support and facilitate God’s dream and desire in calling this way of life into being at this time in our history. We have the CARA survey to serve as a compass guiding us in to an unknown future. We have the resource manual as a compilation of the best wisdom to provide a firm foundation as associates become more and more responsible for the future of associate life. We have a Board and its committees willing to facilitate the sharing of your wisdom, your questions and your challenges as we live together Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow.

Jesus walking on water and helping PeterMuch like the disciples and Jesus, your initial attraction and journey with your congregation has grown into more than you dared to dream ask or imagine. Like them, you are ordinary people filled with grace for the life of the world. NACAR wants to partner with you in this great adventure. May we respond with the faith-filled abandon of Mother Janet Stuart:

“You must let Him tempt you to walk on water and in your heart you must sing, for you belong to God.”

CARA Special Report Cover PageWow!! I never suspected the many uses of the CARA Report!! I knew it was full of useful information; I believed it was a tool for moving the Associate-Religious relationship forward but I did not know how very important it could be in developing a vision and uniting leadership in congregations within themselves; unifying Associates to Associates; Associates to Religious and congregation to congregation.

I have had the privilege of studying and presenting the CARA Report document, commissioned by NACAR to three different gatherings. Each was to a different group of membership and to a different level of leadership.

Advent WreathAnother Advent! With this year’s “coming” we are faced with so many challenges to our sense of values and our pursuit of ideals.

In November, at the Consistory creating new Cardinals, Pope Francis chose to put forth as a dynamic symbol the time that Jesus brought his apostles down off the mountain of their election into the plain, where the people were gathered (Lk 6:27-36). Pope Francis said "Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus never stops 'coming down from the mountain'. He constantly desires to enter the crossroads of our history to proclaim the Gospel of Mercy. Jesus continues to call us and to send us to the 'plain' where our people dwell.”

Those who are engaged in the Associate-Religious relationship fully represent the people on the plain. Our memberships, whether as religious or associates, have drawn on the gifts and energies of old, young, and in-between to witness to the gospel values we espouse throughout our community and family circles.

“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Meister Eckhart

New Year FireworksEach January there is a start of something new and the magic of beginnings as the new year is ushered in with celebration and cheers. It’s a time to exuberantly make new year’s resolutions and anticipate that life will continue to unfold with new promise.

Thus it is the time for the NACAR Board first to thank you for your personal and financial support in our twenty year history. And second, to pledge that we are determined to fulfill the 2017 NACAR theme Associate Call: Alive Today, Co-Creating God’s Dream for Tomorrow. It is evident from the CARA Study that the work of the Holy Spirit is in the persistent growing presence of associates in mission with the religious congregations.

But as with all new year’s resolutions, there must be the action steps to implement the ideas. With your assistance and participation in sending us your insights, reflective thinking, scholarly research as well as analysis with photos of your local/regional activities and events, NACAR will continue to be your voice. We will be able to reflect and respond to the needs of the evolving associate movement in co-creating God’s dream for tomorrow. NACAR will be the common voice to articulate the associate-religious relationship over the time and space of this new year. Suddenly we know “it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Cross of peopleNovember – a time to remember and pray for our deceased loved ones and for all who have gone before us.

We at NACAR have spent 2016 looking back, recognizing, and celebrating many who have shepherded the associate-religious relationship over the past several decades. We have been blessed.

With the release of the CARA research reports this summer, we celebrate the present while listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for our future. The associate-religious relationship is personally meaningful as well as gift to the Church. Let us all be open to how the Holy Spirit calls us forth to be light for the world through our associate-religious relationships.

As you study the CARA reports and how it frames your future plans, please share what your Calls to Action are with NACAR. We hope that the folder Study Guide  will bring associate communities to a new awareness of the gift and the calling, of community, of empowerment, and of leadership for creating a future for which ‘we could not ask or imagine.'