Medellín, Colombia. A Claretian Encounter was held in Medellín, Colombia, from January 15-21, 2013, called by the Prefecture of Apostolate, where 41 people from 10 organizations (32 priests, 1 brother and 4-5 Lay Claretians) from the newly formed MICLA (Misioneros Claretianos de America) came together; this is the first of five planned by the General Government with the various interprovincial conferences.
We were welcomed by the warmth of the Colombian people who, despite the running conflict they have been suffering for over 50 years, are committed to building a project of peace for their entire society. The multicultural reality of our Congregation in America was reflected by the participation of our Claretian brothers and laity from distinct nations: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Spain, U.S.A., Philippines, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
The objective of this convocation was to initiate discussion about the priorities regarding the evangelization of Claretians in Latin America and the characteristics which are to serve our lifestyle and mission within a 10 to 15 year timeframe; this with a vision towards the next General Chapter as well as the missionary projects of MICLA.
We began our meeting with the reflections from our Father General’s last Circular Letter entitled “Missionaries” and also in reviewing the conclusions of the Claretian Workshop “Theology for our Mission” that was held in Colmenar, Spain in September 2012. As a reference we always had the MCH (Misión del Claretiano Hoy) to consult with, with its validity as to the design of what it is to be and what to do as Claretians. And, of course, based on reality and these documents, we allowed ourselves to profoundly question the challenges and trends of America, socially, ecclesiastically and congregationally.
We defined, among other achievements, the missionary lifestyle that distinguishes us in this continent with four characteristics:
1. A strong spirituality, grounded in the Word of God.
2. A supportive mission for the poor and for creation.
3. A mission in Communion and Dialogue.
4. A roaming mission and a permanent revision of positions.
2. Our charism wants to respond to the urgencies and challenges of a continent that has been marked by exclusion, the marginalization of migrants, the displaced and refugees; the trafficking and smuggling of people; extraction projects and the plunder of Mother Earth by the energy industry and through excessive mining; the proliferation of genetically modified seeds; single crop farming for bio-fuel production and the militarization of our continent under the pretext of fighting against drug trafficking. These matters of urgency are what are the prophecy of our mission within the nations of Latin America, the Caribbean and North America.
We also feel great emotion over the bright face of hope for this continent, where joy lives and propositions of strength and fellowship are built from the prominence of the indigenous, the Afro-descendants and minority groups, who encourage us to keep alive the utopia of the kingdom. The admirable testimony of our brother, Peter Casaldáliga, resonates in a special way, in our prayers, reflection and dialogue.
A From our experiences over these past few days, we invite our entire Claretian family in America to continue to listen and respond to the calls of urgency in the XXI century; to be faithful and innovative when it comes time to redesign the Claretian Mission Today.
To the Congregation, we send our greeting in communion with the process of defining the priorities for evangelization by continent, that they may be resolved at the various missionary encounters in Asia, Africa and Europe during this year.
A fraternal greeting in the Heart of Mary!
Medellin, January 21st, 2013
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