Los Negrales, Spain. The Fifth edition of Forge, the Claretian Renewal Encounter, which began on March 31, ended on June 14 with the Sending Forth Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, the Superior General. The Class of Forge 05/19 consisted of 15 Claretians of 8 nationalities, belonging to 11 Major Organisms.
The 75 days of living the Forge encounter was a deep and enriching experience for each participant. Three core experiences marked each phase of the encounter: a nine-day Spiritual Exercises at Villa Santa Monica at Becerril de la Sierra, pilgrimage to the Holy Land (a few of them who could not obtain visa for Israel undertook a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima), and pilgrimage to the holy places of Father Claret and Brother Martyrs in Cataluña and Fontfroide. The most touching and inspiring of these for the entire group was the visit to the Claretian holy places. As several of them testified:
“Our knowledge of Claret had not been very great. But now we know how truly great, fervent, and on-fire missionary he indeed was!”
The final weeks of Forge were marked by inputs and sessions by various Claretian scholars such as Cristo Rey (pastoral and ecological conversions), Gonzalo Fernandeź (Charismatic spirituality of the congregation & personal conversion), and Father Superior General (final recollection as well as a briefing on protection of minors in our ministries). Father General also met with all participants who had requested personal meetings.
The intensive and fruitful experience has made the participants request the Forge Team to consider hosting the encounter twice a year for the English-speaking Claretians so as to help as many as possible to have such experience. The group also thanked the Congregation for accompanying them in prayers during the 75 days. The Class of Forge 05/19 has written a letter to the Congregation in the style of a poem, which is posted here.