The word “confraternity” instantly conjures up images of institutions steeped in history.
Much has been written about the origins, history and significance of confraternities down the centuries.
Confraternities are one of the earliest, if not the first form of religious association.
Our Confraternity is devoted to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Confraternity was undoubtedly already present in the Parish of San Giorgio in Moneglia in the year 1693, as evidenced by a grant of spiritual benefits bestowed by Pietro Ottoboni, Cardinal Deacon of the Titular Church of San Lorenzo in Damascus, to the Brothers of that Confraternity. The grant, written on finely decorated parchment paper, is stored in the Parish archives.
The Confraternity was established and governed in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and is completely dependent upon Ecclesiastical Authority; it has a statute and a name, and its members wear distinctive clothing.
The uniform, which members wear in certain functions and circumstances, consists of a white coat, blue belt and blue cape.
The main aims of the Confraternity are:
the greater glory of God
spiritual benefits for members
collaboration with the parish on matters of liturgical and organizational relevance
achievement of a more perfect Christian life among Members, through religious education, sacramental life, and the celebration of Masses in suffrage of the deceased.
It is essential to look to the future with the undertaking to bear witness always to the principles of faith, charity and love.
Two great Popes encouraged Confraternities, especially in Italy’s Liguria region, with these words:
Pope John XXIII, on 25 April 1960 during the Pilgrimage of Confraternities to Rome:
"Your presence here is a source of deep and fatherly encouragement. Well done, beloved children, for your demonstration of loyalty to long-standing institutions of prayer and mutual edification: by raising your heads high and taking to the streets – albeit always with a humble and discreetly modest bearing – with the symbol of Redemption, and the insignia of your ancient brotherhoods, you reiterate the great message of the life and resurrection to a world at times inattentive and off course.
All that is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory that will overcome the world, our faith!" Continue on the path which has been assigned by your constitutions, stay true to the spirit of them, striving to blend into society like the leaven in dough: and above all keep forever in your hearts the joy of being born of God, of calling yourselves His children, so that your serenity and your example brings new strength to the praiseworthy Associations to which you belong."
Pope John Paul II, 1 April 1984, in the homily of the Jubilee Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican:
"Today the urgency of evangelization demands that also Confraternities participate more intensely and more directly in the work that the Church carries out to bring light, Redemption, and the grace of Christ to the people of our time, by means of initiatives designed to promote the religious, ecclesial and pastoral growth of their members, as well as in favour of the different social classes in which it is possible to introduce the leaven of the Gospel.
To achieve this apostolic objective, use can and must be made of the impressive artistic heritage accumulated by Confraternities in their oratories and churches: the clothing, emblems, statues, crucifixes (such as those brought here today by the glorious "Casacce" of Genoa and the Liguria region), which the confraternities bring to religious functions and processions; the impact that events staged by confraternities can have not only in the realm of religious practices, but also in the "folklore" inspired by the Christian tradition: everything can and must serve the apostolate of the Church, especially from the liturgical and catechetical standpoint.
I am pleased, as the Bishop of Rome, to be able to join with you, on this Sunday of Lent, to worship Christ, who is our Light."