Madrid, Spain. The Institute of Religious Life (ITVR) of Madrid successfully organised the 52nd National Week for Institutes of Religious Life on April 12 to 15, 2023 featuring eleven educational conferences, dialogues, a round table discussion, a concert-prayer, and daily Eucharistic celebrations.
Fr. Antonio Bellella, CMF, Director of the Institute, inaugurated the event in the Aula Magna of the CEU San Pablo University, stating that the purpose o this is to offer “a serene reflection on hope, understanding it as what it is: a theological virtue that shows its effectiveness in the everyday life that surrounds us”. Attendance at the event filled the available capacity for those present at the venue. Additionally, over two hundred religious communities in Spain and other countries followed the event via streaming.
From the presidential table on the first day, His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, also greeted the audience, congratulating the organisers of this event and emphasising the importance of Pope Francis’ latest messages to the consecrated. Claretian Cardinal Aquilino Bocos, CMF, offered fraternal words filled with affection to the participants, reminding the audience of the prayer “of an exceptional man, Cardinal Eduardo Pironio, whom we hope to see soon on the altars”.
Fr. Adolfo Lamata, CMF, Provincial of the Claretian Province of Santiago, encouraged attendees to learn the art of weaving networks of relationships in the service of hope, following the example of their founder, Saint Anthony Mary Claret. Speaking on behalf of Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, Superior General of the Claretian Missionaries and president of the Theological Institute of Religious Life, Fr. Adolfo urged participants to “become weavers and seekers of hope itineraries during these days”. Subsequently, Brother Jesús Miguel Zamora, General Secretary of the Spanish Conference of Religious (CONFER), urged the consecrated to be more than mere witnesses in society and the Church, following the example of those who preceded them.
Among the distinguished guests were Nadia Coppa, ASC, UISG (International Union Superiors General) President – for the first time in Spain -; Liliana Franco, ODN, CLAR (Latin American Conference of Religious) President; and Mariano Delgado, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). In addition, the presentations of the Claretian priests, Antonio Sánchez Orantos and Anthony Igbokwe, received commendation for their in-depth analysis of hope and consecrated life as a path of evangelical utopia towards fulfillment.
At the round table discussion on the 14th, religious and priests shared their experiences on solidarity, discernment, and the challenge of interculturality. Several bishops and cardinals, such as Cardinals Archbishop Carlos Osoro and Archbishop Aquilino Bocos, CMF, and bishops Archbishop Vicente Jiménez, Archbishop Luis Ángel de las Heras, CMF, and Archbishop Fernando Prado, CMF, actively participated in the event, consolidating it as one of the most anticipated events in the Church of Spain.
The Institute of Religious Life (ITVR) of Madrid
It is a higher research and teaching center founded in 1971 by the Claretian Missionaries. It’s a Section of the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University of Salamanca (Madrid Campus) dedicated to studying and reflecting on consecrated life from various theological and practical perspectives.
Sources | Ignacio Virgilito, Communications Officer of Santiago Province