Colmenar Viejo, Spain. Without setting aside the existence of problems, forty missionaries from the Province of Santiago celebrated with joy the fraternity and the signs of missionary vitality during the second week of October 2019 at Colmenar Viejo in Madrid. The timetable of the meeting was very similar to the thirteen editions held since 2006, the year of the birth of the Province. Year after year, the Superiors of the thirty-three communities of Santiago hold a meeting with the Provincial Government and some members of the Board of Directors at the beginning of the pastoral year.
Those gathered noted the limitations of the Province, the incorporation of very few new Spanish brothers and an average age of around 75 years. But they also celebrated with gratitude the life and missionary dedication of the 230 Claretians of the Province who serves the Gospel in sixty apostolic positions in Spain, France, Switzerland, Russia and some of them are at the service of other Organisms of the Congregation and of the General Government.
The Extraordinary Missionary Month, very present in the assembly, is a good framework to start this course, in which Santiago opens a new phase in its process of reviewing positions. One of the Eucharist celebration was presided by Fr. Rayappa Nathaniel, CMF, of the community of Segovia, who was ordained at the beginning of this year. Concelebrating with him was Fr. José Blanco, who, like five other Claretians of Santiago, celebrates his golden anniversary of priestly ordination this year. Those gathered thanked the Lord for the fifty Brothers of the Province who reside in the care services communities, the generosity of a good group of young Claretians from other parts of the world who have agreed to be missionaries in Europe, and the work of Frs. Jesus A. Centeno, Miguel Á. Velasco and Teodoro Bahillo, who have been relieved of their duties as members of the Provincial Government. Some initiatives that the Province is determined to develop (such as the revision of the Ministry with Young Adults or the plan to have a new Provincial Parish Plan for parishes) resonated strongly in the hall where they are gathered and each community also gave account of their own plans and projects.
As usual, those gathered happily celebrated the presence of the other brothers from the missions of Paris, Zürich, St. Petersburg and Murmansk (Russia). Together with serene and well prepared moments of prayer, the meeting went very well with moments of work and reflection, with moments of fraternal living. The participants made it clear that the Claretians of Santiago know that without their lay partners, they would do little good, nevertheless, many revealed great satisfaction with their vocation received: in our fragility we are filled with joy to have been called to be Missionaries, they said.