Lagos, Nigeria. The encounter of ACLA has lived an important experience with the presence of Cardinal Anthony Okogie of Lagos who presided over the Eucharist last Thursday. His presence made us feel our union with the Church of Africa.
At the end of the presentations of the Claretian reality, the encounter tries to discover the strengths and the challenges of the Congregation in the continent. We thank God for the vocations and for the formative response, in spite of the fact that we lack ready formators. We value the
missionary spirit and the improvement of communications, although we are concerned about the way toward self-financing and the coordination of the Organisms.
In the afternoon of the 6th Fr. Mathew Vattamattam presented the project of the Forge in the Daily Life that was discussed in the groups. Fr. General and Fr. Mathew himself answered the questions that arose from the discussion.
On the 7th we worked on the reorganization of the Congregation in Africa, starting with the words from Fr. General who, based on statistics, spoke about the consolidation of the Organisms and of the projects of the mission, of the necessary attitudes and of the strategies. The ensuing dialogue showed a consensus in the basic lines, without ignoring the difficulties.
Saturday 8th was focused on the theme of formation. Fr. Mathew Vattamattam presented the formation houses in Africa, with 125 Students of Philosophy, 43 novices and 158 students. Starting from the contributions received from the XXIV General Chapter on formation and the contents of the document “Men on Fire with Love,” we reflected on the importance of the selection of candidates and the need of good formators who would work as a team and have stability and resources.
The groups also stressed the importance of the formation in spirituality, in simplicity of life, in sacrifice, in community life and in service. Fr. General emphasized the effort made by the Congregation in the last times to endow Africa with formative centres.
On Sunday 9th we went to celebrate the Eucharist with the the parish community of Saint Augustine, in the city of Lagos, served by the Claretian Missionaries. The encounter continues developing in a good brotherly atmosphere and good communication.