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With the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, as our Guardian, with all the Angels and Saints as our protectors, and with the special invocation of Saint Jerome, whom we select as our patron Saint and spiritual Father, for he was with all his heart devoted to the Holy Father, a strong defender of the Catholic Faith, the greatest exponent of Holy Scripture, by his writings and by the example of his life an outstanding leader in the spiritual life, and an eminent author of ecclesiastical Latin, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, 1989, we founded the association which we have wished to call the Family of Saint Jerome.
[ I ]   THE PURPOSE OF THIS ASSOCIATION.
All faithful Roman Catholics may become members of this association who agree to dedicate themselves to the following ends:
[ 1 ]   Sincere love for the Holy Father and a devoted obedience to His Supreme Magisterium;
[ 2 ]   Intense commitment to the spiritual life, striving to union with God according to the teaching and the example of so many Saints;
[ 3 ]   Diligent study and use of the Latin language, the living language of the Roman Catholic Church, in order to arrive at a sound command of the language in reading, thinking, speaking and writing.
[ II. ]   MEANS FOR OBTAINING THESE ENDS.
[ 1 ]   Spiritual union with the Holy Father.
All members of the Familia Sancti Hieronymi
[ a ]   should faithfully read the documents issued by the Holy Father, to the best of their ability;
[ b ]   should be well informed about the activities of the Holy Father;
[ c ]   should never forget to pray daily for the Holy Father.
[ 2 ]   The commitment to the spiritual life.
Besides the Holy Mass, Holy Communion and frequent sacramental confession of their sins, the following spiritual exercises are also highly recommended to the members of the Familia Sancti Hieronymi:
[ a ]   spiritual reading or “lectio divina”, that is, a sufficient time every day for reading Holy Scripture or the works of the Saints, in a spirit of meditation and contemplation, prayerfully and without haste, so that the meaning of these texts may gradually become part of us;
[ b ]   mental prayer, that is, the turning of our heart to God whenever and wherever possible; which prayer should not only precede our spiritual reading but also flow out of it and remain throughout the whole day;
[ c ]   among other forms of prayer the Holy Rosary holds the highest place; in this prayer we meditate together with the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God on all the essential mysteries of our faith. Each member should also make an effort to recite daily the Liturgy of the Hours, or at least a part of it, such as Laudes, Vesperae, or Completorium.
[ 3 ]   Study and use of the Latin language.
In order to attain an easy command of the Latin language in thinking and speaking, in reading and writing, every member of the Family of Saint Jerome should be faithful to the daily practice of Latin and should never become discouraged in learning, knowing the proverb, “Little droplets will gradually wear away a rock” (GUTTA CAVAT LAPIDEM).
These daily exercises would extend to the following:
[ a ]   To those who have only a limited knowledge of Latin, or no knowledge at all, the study of our “Course in the Living Latin Language” is recommended, or other manuals for beginners, and the use of Latin cassettes (those with Roman pronunciation) in order to obtain contact with the living, spoken Latin language from the very beginning.
[ b ]   As much as possible, all members of the Familia Sancti Hieronymi should read the Encyclicals and Apostolic Letters of the Holy Father, the documents of the II Vatican Council, and other official documents of the Church in Latin.
[ c ]   For the “lecio divina” they should use the Latin Bible, and read in the original Latin text the works of the Church Fathers and the Saints who taught the spiritual life and true theology during and after the Middle Ages – among them first of all St. Thomas Aquinas.
[ d ]   The Holy Rosary, the Liturgia Horarum, and other prayers should be said in Latin. Occasions for participating in the Holy Mass celebrated in Latin should never be omitted. Indeed the members of the Family of Saint Jerome might request that there be more Masses celebrated in Latin, so long as this is done in a spirit of peace and without causing quarrels and discord.
[ e ]   From the very beginning every member should try to acquire the habit of thinking in Latin and expressing himself in this language as much as he can.
[ III. ]   THE ORGANIZATION OF THE FAMILY OF SAINT JEROME.
Because the Family of Saint Jerome is open to all Roman Catholics, of both sexes, of every age, of all professions and vocations, and in all nations throughout the world, it is appropriate that its organization be amply adapted to these different circumstances of life.
[ 1 ]   The Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi.
[ a ]   The Family of St. Jerome in its entirety encompasses small groups of a certain number of members who have a common place where they can meet. These groups and their meeting place are called
CENACULA SANCTI HIERONYMI
[ b ]   These Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi, which might be quite different according to local conditions and other circumstances, are separated into three classifications: ORDINARIA, SCHOLASTICA, and MONASTICA. These three classifications together, formed as if in concentric circles, build up the whole Family of Saint Jerome.
[ 2 ]   The Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi Ordinaria.
[ a ]   Those members of the Family of Saint Jerome living in the same vicinity should strive to meet at certain times in a suitable place to pray and speak together in Latin, to the extent that they can; where they are able, they should also participate in the Holy Mass celebrated in Latin (cfr. Cap III, par. 3, litt. [d].). These groups of members in a given locality are called
CENACULA SANCTI HIERONYMI ORDINARIA.
[ b ]   Although it is desirable that every member belong to such a CENACULUM ORDINARIUM so as to meet with other members, no one will be excluded who lives so distant from other members that he cannot come together with others in a Cenaculum.
[ c ]   Those who live in such circumstances as mentioned in [b] may also become members of the Family of Saint Jerome, provided that they observe faithfully all the obligations otherwise required of the members, as described in Articles I and II. These isolated members should also try, in whatever way they can, to maintain contact with the wider Family of Saint Jerome.
[ 3 ]   The Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi Scholastica.
[ a ]   It is to be hoped that with the grace of God and in accordance with different local conditions there will be established Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi Scholastica, i.e., Cenacula where certain agreed upon activities pertaining to the ends of the association may be carried out by the work of the members, such as courses in spoken Latin, editions of books or papers in Latin, Latin cassettes, and other things of this kind.[ b ]   The whole Family of St. Jerome should hold the Cenacula Scholastica in high esteem, and the Cenacula Ordinaria should try to be as helpful to them as they can.
[ 4 ]   The Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi Monastica.
[ a ]   The spiritual center of the whole Family of Saint Jerome are those members who – attracted by God’s calling – live in a religious community and dedicate themselves completely to prayer and holy studies. These communities are called
CENACULA SANCTI HIERONYMI MONASTICA.
[ b ]   The members of those communities will use the Latin language not only in prayer and holy studies, but also in their daily work and conversation.
[ c ]   Those communities will follow the special rules appropriate to them, according to the canons of the Code of Canon Law.
[ IV. ]   CONCERNING THE SEAT, THE GOVERNMENT, THE RECEPTION OF MEMBERS AND PROPERTY OF THE FAMILIA SANCTI HIERONYMI.
[ 1 ]   The Seat.
[ a ]   The “Seat” of thee whole association called “Familia Sancti Hieronymi” is, unless and until a change may be made in the future, the place where this association was founded, i.e., Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A.
[ b ]   The Consilium Generale has the competence to transfer the Seat of the association elsewhere.
[ c ]   It is also within the competence of the Consilium Generale to consider the question of erecting regional seats in addition to the Central Seat and to determine their function.
[ 2 ]   The Government.
[ a ]   The Praeses Generalis paternally heads the whole Family of Saint Jerome. He is assisted by two advisors. Acting together these three form the Consilium Generale. The Consilium Generale has the right to admit other members to assist in its functions.
[ b ]   All matters that concern the entire Family of St. Jerome are within the care of the Consilium Generale. The Consilium Generale may delegate certain matters to others.
[ c ]   If one of the members of the Consilium Generale resigns for just reasons, or dies, the other members of the Consilium Generale shall elect a substitute.
[ d ]   Within each Cenaculum Sancti Hieronymi all matters that concern the members should be decided in a spirit of concord and collegiality, as in any true family.
[ e ]   The Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi Monastica will be governed by the pertinent corresponding canons of the Code of Canon Law and by the statutes of each particular Cenaculum S. H. Monasticum, approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
[ 3 ]   The Admission of Members, and their promise of fidelity.
[ a ]   Norms for membership are stated In Article I., par. 1 – 3 of this Constitution.
[ b ]   The candidate commences to be a member of the Family of Saint Jerome the day his rescript of admission is issued by the Consilium Generale.
[ c ]   The new member, asking for admission, promises with the help of God to be faithful to the threefold purpose of the Family of Saint Jerome. This promise should be renewed frequently in the heart of every member.
[ d ]   Every member of the Family of Saint Jerome, after having adhered faithfully to the threefold purpose of this association for a triennium, should renew his promise solemnly in a Cenaculum Sancti Hieronymi in the presence of other members.
[ e ]   The formula of the promise will be the following:
“With the Help of God I promise to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to Saint Jerome, our patron Saint,
first of all: a sincere love of the Holy Father and a devoted obedience to His Supreme Magisterium;
secondly; an intense commitment to the spiritual life, striving to union with God, according to the teaching and the example of so many saints;
finally: the constant study and use of Latin, the living language of the Roman Catholic Church.”
[ f ]   Membership in the Family of St. Jerome ceases:
by a declaration of withdrawal of a member;
upon receipt of a notice of dismissal issued by the Consilium Generale for just cause.
[ 4 ]   The Possession and Administration of Property.
[ a ]   The Family of Saint Jerome as a whole has the right to acquire, possess and administer property. The Consilium Generale, representing the entire Family of Saint Jerome, administers these properties for the common good of the whole association.
[ b ]   The single Cenacula Sancti Hieronymi also have the right to acquire, to possess, and to administer property; the manner of administration shall be decided by each cenaculum.
[ c ]   If the Family of Saint Jerome should dissolve, its existing property shall be transferred to a religious Order chosen by the Consilium Generale at the time of dissolution.
[ 5 ]   Further Regulations.
The Consilium Generale may promulgate such further norms and regulations as it deems appropriate.
Given in Clearwater, Florida, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 1989.
(This Constitution was approved in accordance with canon 322 of the Code of Canon Law by Bishop John C. Favalora of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, per rescript dated December 5, 1990.)
It should be understood by what is said in Article III (2) (b) and (c) of this Constitution that all persons of the Catholic faith may be members of the Family of St. Jerome if they consent to the three ends of this Family; that is, if they
Profess a sincere love and filial obedience to the Supreme Pontiff;
Faithfully cultivate the spiritual life, which leads to intimate union with God, following the example of the saints;
Value the Latin language for its great importance as the living language of the Church.
It is therefore not required of each the members
That they dedicate each day to intense Latin exercises so that they will soon know the language well. It is enough that they value the language highly as the Church’s own and, insofar as it is possible without inconvenience, that they desire to learn at least some things in the language, such as certain texts of the Holy Mass and certain liturgical chants.
Nor is it required of the members
That they undertake any special activity to which they feel they are not equal.
Nor is it required (as was previously stated in Article III n. 2 let. b of this Constitution)
That single members come together at appointed times, or that they belong to a certain cenaculum in a given location, if they are unable. It is enough that, in whatever way they can, they maintain a bond and union – especially spiritual – with the whole Family of St. Jerome and that they observe those matters set forth in Articles I and II of the Constitution in light of AMENDMENT II.
Those matters which are set forth in Article II, numbers 1, 2, and especially 3 (about the study and use of the Latin language) should not be understood in the sense of a burdensome list which would impose on the members the performance of everything enumerated therein.
Except as concerns those means for cultivating the spiritual life which obligates all men and women of the Catholic faith (the holy sacrifice of the Mass, sacramental confession, holy communion, the duty of praying and other things of this kind), the enumeration of means for attaining the three ends of this Family should be understood as giving examples from which members may select those things which accord with those ends and which are suitable to the members themselves.
With regard to the learning of the Latin language, we have explained in AMENDMENT I that no one agreeing to the purposes of the Family of St. Jerome will be excluded from membership.
Moreover, those who by patient and persevering study are able to come to a greater or even perfect use of the Latin language, let them not omit these studies, and let them faithfully dedicate at least a short time each day to them. Moreover, priests who are members of our Family should be mindful of canon 249 of the new Code of Canon Law which prescribes that they be well-versed in the Latin language.
Those who desire to become members of the Family of St. Jerome with a sincere heart, but due to some reason could not yet complete every prerequisite so as to become members, may be accepted as “associate members” by the Consilium Generale.”
These “associate members” strive to complete faithfully those things that are in their power according to the norms and spirit of the whole Family of St. Jerome; while others that they cannot, or cannot yet do, they will commend to the Lord’s mercy.
If however prior impediments would be removed, there is nothing to prevent such associate members to become full members of the Family of Saint Jerome in accordance with chapter IV, par. 3, of this Constitution. What if any associate members wishes, it should be requested from the Consilium Generale by requesting a full admission.