Colmenar Viejo, Spain. After a 3-year hiatus forced on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the English edition of Forge, the Claretian Renewal Encounter, began on October 9, 2022, at Colmenar Viejo, Madrid. This 6th English edition of Forge was auspiciously launched at the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Anthony Obikonu Igbokwe, CMF, prefect of formation and spirituality of the host province of Santiago, and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Adolfo Lamata Muyo, CMF, the provincial superior, the Forge cohort, members of the Colmenar community, and a few other brother Claretians from neighboring communities.
In his homily based on the gospel passage regarding the leper cured of leprosy who alone returned to thank Jesus in person, Fr. Anthony invited the participants to be grateful in faith and faithful in gratitude. Father Provincial welcomed the participants to the Province of Santiago and wished them that the Forge be a graced time of charismatic renewal. On behalf of the cohort, Paulson Veliyannoor, CMF, the coordinator, thanked the Province of Santiago for its fraternal and logistical support for the Forge.
The current Forge cohort consists of 19 members drawn from 15 Major Organisms (Bangalore, Cameroun, St. Charles Lwanga, Chennai, East Asia, Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, Kolkata, Korea, West Nigeria, Northeast India, Peru, Poland, St. Joseph Vaz, St. Thomas, and USA-Canada) and representing citizens from nine countries (Cameroon, Canada, India, Ivory Coast, Korea, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, and Sri Lanka). Frs. Paulson Veliyannoor and Félix Kouame Ketoglo, CMFF, are the facilitators for the current edition.
The Forge, born in Colmenar three decades ago, has returned to its birthplace due to the “new normal” brought on by the pandemic. The current edition, as always, unfolds within the three-pronged nuclei of Forge – Patris Mei, Caritas Christi, and Spiritus Domini – but enriched by the insights and invitations of the last two general chapters that have invited us to embrace the three processes of transformation and God’s Dream for the Congregation. The three phases are preceded by a week of intense experience of Quid Prodest. Each phase is marked by a core experience: 9-day spiritual exercises on spiritual infirmities and their cure at the 12th-century monastery of Buenafuente (Patris Mei), walking the footsteps of the apostles and the early Church in Rome (Caritas Christi), and walking the footsteps of Father Claret and Brother Martyrs in Spain-France (Spiritus Domini). The Forge encounter ends on December 20th, with a concluding retreat, an experiential audit, and a “Missionary Sending-Forth” Eucharist.
During the Forge, the cohort is praying for each Major Organism daily. And they count on the prayerful accompaniment of their brethren in the Congregation in this pilgrimage of the soul.