In the year 1970, Mr. Nelson Rivera during the Sunday Mass felt a very big concern because where he attended, only 25 to 40 people gathered. This made him meditate and be aware that every Sunday, he would form part of His Mission the Lord had in store for him.
In attending the Good Friday celebration in that same year, and returning to his home, he decided to view the Saint Francisco de Asis movie in which he noticed the phrase “Reconstruct my Church”. The phrase created in his conscience that the Lord wanted something special from him in which he met with different persons in this planification. After this planification, he met and received permission from the parish priest, Reverend Antonio Cuadrado, who gave him authorization to meet in a small community group. These meetings were given in different homes, reading biblical text and giving conferences referring to the social problems that trouble the community.
Later they were granted permission to give one-day retreats by Rev. Antonio Cuadrado. These consisted of passive dynamics for the purpose of bringing people to the community without losing the outlook that the calling of the Lord was to “Reconstruct His Church” (us). Before these retreats were given, they gathered to pray and meditate and the Lord enlightened them. Worrying about the situation that one-day for a retreat was not enough, they were given permission to give 3-day retreats. After obtaining a place and necessary equipment, they celebrated their First Retreat of the Church of Fatima on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of July 1973 in the city of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.
From the beginning, these retreats were set up based on strong and powerful prayer, sacrifice and offering. The workers in that first retreat were Nelson Rivera, Nelson Cruz, Angel Santiago, Carmen Pérez, Rafael Feliciano and Luis Cubero. Father Cuadrado also accompanied them with his conference on the sacraments and observing and listening to other conferences or chats. The few workers on this first retreat executed all the work needed in different areas which were: “montaje” (help out in the kitchen, help prepare meals, clean surrounding areas, bathroom, etc…) “dirigente” (take care and assist the Rector and Vice Rector, plus make sure the meals and other things and areas are ready), Rector (person in charge of the room/retreat), Vice Rector (second person in charge of the room and assisting the Rector), and the kitchen personnel (who ensure cleanliness and prepare meals during the three days).
The manifestation of the grace of God was immediately present. From the first day, they were inspired and guided by the Lord as instruments in His plan of Salvation and Evangelization. Around 4 PM on Saturday of the first retreat, with free time on their hands, they decided to send 24 men in attendance, who had very difficult situations in their life, to mediate in a nearby lot. These men were given a half hour for the meditation when something inexplicable occurred. Five to ten minutes had passed when all returned to the Sacristy crying and “humiliating themselves” on the foot of the Lord crying out for forgiveness of their sins.
In this retreat, there were no “previstos” as they are known today. They merge from Divine Inspiration. Nobody has given instructions on these “previstos” or how they were going to take place.
After the first retreat, our first meeting of class formation on the biblical words of our Lord began every Tuesday in which this John XXIII Movement was inspired to do to “Reconstruct our Church”. This was the beginning and still is to this day, the same structure, giving classes of formation to the leaders and new personnel that are willing to work in the retreats of John XXIII Movement.
The church worries about the doctrine and the formation in the mystical Body of Christ, which we are, giving as a Catholic Movement when was and is the apostolic mission of the laities through eyes of Bishop Monsignor Miguel Rodriguez of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He accepted our work in his dioceses and authorized us to continue in his parish the teaching and mission of the movement. The Bishop named Rev. Priest Antonio Salvador Romero as Spiritual Director of the Movement who agreed and applied himself to this position until he retired, being replaced by Priest Thomas Santos, actual Spiritual Director of John XXIII Movement.
The name of John XXIII Movement, retreats for Parishes, emerged from the great admiration that Mr. Nelson Rivera had always for the Good Pope and also because it was John XXIII who emphasized in the laity apostolic work inside the church.
Still today, the movement has never been advertised through radio or television, and in actuality is not, other than Dioceses of Arecibo in Puerto Rico where the calling of the Lord began in 1973. In Puerto Rico, the Movement is active in four other dioceses. Also, since 1987 it made its foundation in Lima, Peru and in other dioceses of our brother’s country. In 1993, the Movement was established in Barahona, Dominican Republic. In 1994, in Ecuador and in July 1997 in Honduras, then in August 30th in Miami. In Orlando, Florida, on October 30, 1998, this was where their first retreat was celebrated for the Grace of God and the Spiritual benefit of the residents of the United States. All these countries outside of the island of Puerto Rico where the Movement was born in the Dioceses of Arecibo have asked for it to celebrate the retreat in their country. Only the Lord is the mediator in all of us.
In 1990, our John XXIII Movement began to open Mess Halls for poor children through donations of godparents, godfathers or mothers who desire to share their bread with these human creatures of Christ. This has been another triumph for Jesus Christ, our Lord and very important for our John XXIII Movement in the second calling by the Lord to our President and Founder, Mr. Nelson Rivera, in one of his first visits to Peru. In actuality there are mess halls for the children in Peru, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Honduras. We pray to God that this work will be they key for the multiplication of more Mess Halls around these countries and others of our hemispheres.
As you have read and notice after what has been written and because of its birth, this John XXIII Movement through our Lord has been exclusive and is and will be the only work of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
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Email the parish office at Saint Clare Catholic Church