Have you tied cords to the Pleiades, or loosened the bonds of Orion? (Job 38:31)

Sep 9, 2022 | Nairobi 2022

The fifth day was the beginning of a new stage in this encounter; the liturgy was animated by the brothers of ECLA, who accompanied us through the diversity of European languages and cultures.

After the breakfast, the initial prayer of the morning session (based on Lk 14:28-33) gave us a clear hint of the road ahead for this day: the art of planning and of discerning the cost.

We started with a presentation by our brother Henri Omonisaye, congregation vicar, of the General Government journey toward the 2022-2027 Action Plan. They met in Vic, ground zero of the congregation, for two weeks at the end of October 2021 and starting with prayer and reflection and a process of team building and teamwork, they gave birth to this Action Plan they are now presenting to the major superiors. Together with the 26th General Chapter insights, a few commitments (11) -born in the reflection-building together process of Vic, were added to the plan for a total of 171 actions.

Henry continued by sharing a new Congregational cosmovision, a paradigm change, a new geometry, a Copernican revolution! The organigram of the congregation was updated into a “constellation-like” one that articulates more clearly the 3 principles of good and effective government: subordination, subsidiarity and complementarity; a move from a linear thinking approach to a more systemic one, less static and more dynamic. In the dialogue that followed, Matthew Vattamatam “confessed” that the General Government doesn’t have everything clear, we go one step at a time… or like Deng Xiaoping said, we are crossing the river by feeling the stones.

The rest of the morning and the afternoon were dedicated to the third process of transformation “Men who adore God in Spirit” as this rootedness in the divine source is the key for a witnessing and audacious mission and community life.

Carlos Sanchez, Prefect of Spirituality, made a thorough presentation of the work ahead and the prefecture’s main pillars and tools to be used during the sexennium. He defined the Prefecture’s main task as animating our faith’s rootedness in Jesus Christ in dialogue with the Church and at the service of the world. The pillars for this animation are:

  • emphasizing the culture of discernment,
  • the personal project,
  • accompanying the situations of crisis
  • and promoting a holistic conversion that brings us closer to the poor.

The morning ended with 45 minutes of sharing the echoes aroused by the presentation in small groups.

After an initial prayer for the sick and deceased, the afternoon was dedicated to Formation, the other pole of this 3rd process of transformation. The General Prefect of Formation, Joseph Mbungu-Mutu, started by asking those present “how can we form missionaries that are rooted and audacious, and with a sense of congregation as a family?” Then he proceeded to propose an answer to this question with his presentation.

An important work of the prefecture will be accompanying the updating of the Major Organisms’ formation plans in line with the vision presented in the new General Plan of Formation (2020). Three words define this new formation vision: integral, personalized, and intercultural. There is still much room for progress in our claretian formation processes:

  • There is a need for greater interdisciplinarity in formation, ability to cope and attend to the multifaceted reality of the human being;
  • there is also a need to pay closer attention to the specific vocation we are called as claretians, in particular brotherhood.
  • Finally, as a congregation, we still have to achieve a “Claretian ongoing formation culture” that becomes an inalienable second nature to each and every one of us, missionaries.

Keeping up the programs for “formation of formators” at the general and conference levels is an indispensable tool to engage all the wheels and cranks that allow the Claretian constellation to turn, spin and go forth.

After the presentation, we had another 45 minutes to share the impressions and echoes of the presentation in small groups.

The day ended with the evening prayer and the walks in the garden after dinner; sadly, clouds in the sky hid the constellations from our view.

Francisco Carin, CMF, chronicler of the day

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