Spain. The Spanish consecrated life has celebrated in the middle of the month one of its most important meetings: the XIV General Assembly of the Spanish Conference of Religious Men and Women (CONFER). Within the referential framework chosen by the Conference for the triennium (‘God’s presences and resonances in the peripheries and frontiers of life’), this year’s motto has been: “Religious life today: witness of God’s presence here and now.” The encounter has gathered more than four hundred persons –most of them Major Superiors Men and Women- with a great and qualified Claretian presence. One of the speakers of the central day was Antonio Bellella, Director of the Centre of Claretian Spirituality of Vic (CESC) and member of the Province of Santiago. In a panel dedicated to evoke the progress of consecrated life in the last four decades, Fr. Bellella was tasked with the study of the European case, sharing the table with the Brazilian theologian Barbara Bucker; the African Henrierre Kasomo, General Consultant of the Company of Mary, and Fr. Joseph Narlaly, General Superior of the Trinitarians, an Indian national. The intervention of Fr. Bellella was very much praised and applauded.
A few hours earlier, Fr. Teodoro Bahillo, also a Claretian of Santiago and Canon Law Professor in the Pontifical Universities of Comillas and Salamanca, had an intervention before the Assembly. He advised the executive bodies of CONFER in his reflection on the role of the Conference in this moment of the social and ecclesial life.
Present in the Assembly were the Major Superiors of the Claretian Provinces of Betica, Catalonia and Santiago: Juan José García, Maxim Muñoz and Manuel A. Tamargo. Precisely the Provincial Superior of Santiago was elected during the meeting Vocal of the National Board of Directors of CONFER. In addition, the Missionary Sisters of the Claretian Institution and the two Provinces of the Claretian Missionary Sisters as well as Frs. Carlos Barbarin and Ángel de la Parte participated also in the Assembly, representing the Boards of Directors of Confer-Barbastro and Confer-Madrid. As is traditional, Claretian Publications and its director, Fr. Fernando Prado, were also present at the encounter.
During the Assembly, the General Secretariat informed that, the past school year, two teams of permanent reflection started: one of interdisciplinary character, of which Fr. Pedro Belderrain is a member, and the other for ‘listening and discernment’, whose aim is “to listen attentively to the new signs that are already being present among us as religious life of the future.” Fr. Juan Carlos Martos has joined this second team. Fr. Juan Carlos and Fr. Antonio Sánchez Orantos, together with two religious Sisters, are responsible for the Workshop of the School of formation of companions in the Vocational Youth Ministry that CONFER offers during this school year.
The Assembly has allowed visualizing once more the intense participation of the Claretian Missionaries in the joint activities of the Spanish consecrated life. The abundant presence of the senior officers of CONFER (National and Regional-Centre) in the inauguration of the school year of the Theological Institute of Religious Life of Madrid was another sample of that good relationship that exists also in many dioceses and ecclesiastical regions.