“Put out into the deep and cast your nets for a catch “(Lk 5:4). In 1990, a group of young adults, military and civilian, originating from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, joined the work of evangelization then being carried out by Antonio Rabelo Dilben Fleming at the Military Academy of Agulhas Negras in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, at the invitation of the then Chaplain AMAN, Duílio Fr Anthony Antonini. This marked the beginning of the Community «Mar a Dentro» by Founder Antonio Dilben. Thus, by the grace and will of God, the work of Evangelization also embraced immediately the families of the first members.
In the beginning, Mar a Dentro was founded as a Alliance Community, and two years later, the Life Community Mar a Dentro (that in portoghese means “into the sea”) was formed, composed exclusively of celibate men and women in the service of the Church of Christ. Today, the Alliance Community Mar a Dentro, made up of members who have not chosen celibacy, together with the Life Community, form a single family dedicated to evangelization and formation according to the charisma of «Mar a Dentro».
We are born with the desire to share the faith, to constitute an evangelizing community that can contribute to the union of the most diverse expressions of the Church and to make the beauty of Christ’s Church shine among all peoples. We saw that the Lord had given us a specific charisma, a gift, a vocation to be lived in the Church and for the Church.
We have seen that Evangelization and Formation are an incentive which pushes us into the experience of the charisma, they are like a binomial leading us to the spirituality of missionary disciples, an expression used years later in the Aparecida Document. Answering to the call of Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi which calls us to evangelism, saying that “there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel” and that “The purpose of evangelization is precisely this interior change”, we realized that the Lord had called us to be educators of new men and new women to a new world. Our call is found in Luke 5, 4, the Miraculous Fishing, and there we understand that He is telling us to go “Into the Sea”, “Duc in Altum”, to fish-evangelize and catechize-educate (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 64c) so that men and women become new and renewed by the Blood of the Lamb of God. So we have walked in these 20 years in the Foundation, in a constant quest for everlasting loyalty and listening to God’s call.
When in Lk 5:4, Peter responds to Jesus: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything”, we understand that he is saying: “with all my wisdom, my tecnique, my gifts, I could get nothing”. He acknowledges that he is dependent on the Lord and he wants to be obedient to the will of the Master. However when he completes the sentence: “But at your word I will lower the nets”, he sees the miracle happen: the Miraculous fishing; and he finds peace, the fruit of obedience. Here is our charisma: to move forward «Mar a Dentro» as disciples and ministers of Obedience and Peace.
In obedience, we find the peace that comes not from accomplishing something by our own will, but which is the fruit of love for God and the certainty of obeying the will of Him who sent us to do so (Rule of Life, 150a). This love leads us to the ocean of mercy of Christ’s heart, and impels us, in accordance with our charisma, to go out to meet others, especially those most in need of a real and constant proclamation of the Good News (Rule of Life, 13).
We are convinced that the Lord is the One who propels us, who puts us in motion. So it is not with technique, or personal capacity, or our own will that we carry out our mission, but with listening and trusting obedience to His will, manifested in the Word of God and the Church Magisterium. This listening, this constant search to understand the Will of God, can only reach its goal if we seek to cultivate in us the same feelings of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5), we must imitate Him: He is Obedience, He is Peace! (cf. Eph 2:14)
The Charisma «Mar a Dentro» therefore wants to contribute to building the Body of Christ and the Church’s mission in the world. It exists for the Church, and it stands in faithful submission to enrich the Church with their novelty. In our «Mar a Dentro» Charisma, which due to its origin is wide and open, we note three services that stand out most in our missions: training, intercession and welcoming.
Our mission is to introduce and prepare young men and women for a new world, giving God a new humanity renewed by the action of the Holy Spirit in the body, soul and spirit. With this desire, we are dedicated in all our activities to providing a solid formation , which according to the Aparecida Document must be integral, kerygmatic, permanent and aware of the various dimensions, respectful of the processes accompanying the disciples, and above all, it must be missionary (279-285). We understand that receiving men and women, shaping and interceding for them, and transforming them into new men and women for a New World, is the result of obedience and peace.
With this concern, the «EFETA» School (St Teresa of Avila School of Education and Spirituality) was born, in which we promote Christian education through various courses such as: Human-affective Training, Life and Spirituality of the Saints, Discipleship, Biblical-Theological Studies, Liturgy, Social Doctrine of the Church. The purpose of this training school is the maturing of the whole person, in a continuous conformity with Jesus Christ. Through lectures and practical, dynamic group work, retreats and personal guidance, we lead a path of encounter with God, in the light of faith and doctrine of the Church, making participants aware of their responsibility as authentic disciples and missionaries before the Church and Society.
The CEFA – Center for Spirituality, Training and Counseling – John XXIII is in São José do Rio Preto, is a project that stems from the awareness of the Comunidade Católica Mar a Dentro (Catholic Community «Into the Sea»), that man is not limited only to physical and spiritual components. With the aid of scientific knowledge about the human psyche, with various techniques, and an understanding of the importance of spiritual assistance, we believe the individual will have an experience that stimulates his ability to accept the inherent difficulties of life, to mature with these and find meaning and balance through a life of union with God, with himself and with others. Other activities are conducted in this centre such as: Art Workshops, sessions for counseling and prayer as well as daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration.
Communion and Life Project
Another social project we carry out is the Communion and Life Project, which consists of various activities and events that make real and concrete the Lord’s command to «love one another». Aided by the project EmpreMDe, Entrepreneurs «Mar a Dentro», Communion and Life is currently promoting visits to needy families in the city of Iturama/MG , and in Belém, the capital of Pará/PA (North of Brazil) . These visits include religious and human formation as well as the social promotion of the same families with welfare bazaars (charity sales), distribution of food, clothing and footwear, training courses, counseling and support for families; work with children and also participation in third-party projects, school tutoring for students in public schools.
In our Houses, we work together with the pastoral ministry in collaboration with the parish, preparing people as special ministers for the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism, as teams for the liturgy and liturgical music, preparation of catechumens, Training Courses for lay people; prayer groups, sharing and reflection groups and outreach programs on the radio.
With special zeal for beauty in the liturgy, we produce and package sacred furnishings, stoles, chasubles, mitres, and other liturgical items, to be sold at the Via Apia Liturgical Vestments in Iturama, MG. These items are sold at low prices so as to permit parishes to be equipped with beautiful, elegant furnishings.
The Community «Mar a Dentro» is organized into two branches: Life Community and Alliance Community. The Life Community is formed exclusively of celibates, lay people and clergy, who are dedicated to the mission in every home community. The Alliance Community is made up of lay people who participate in the Charisma «Mar a Dentro», who sanctify the world through their work, family life and everyday life.
The members of the Life Community profess vows of obedience, poverty and chastity in celibacy, while the members of the Alliance make promises that are renewed annually.
Today, the Community is governed by the Founder and General Moderator who is assisted by the Vice General Moderator, the General Counsel, as well as four Auxiliary Moderators, one for each forms expression of the community: the clergy, the consecrated men, the consecrated women, and the lay people of the Alliance Community.
Each Mission House of the Life Community is governed by a local superior and assisted by a local teacher and a treasurer. In the missions where both the Life Community and the Alliance Community are present, the Local Coordinator of the Alliance will report to the Local Superior of the Life Community.