The following Major Superiors were not able to join the beginning of the meeting mainly due to visa reasons:
- Jean Baptiste Makilandi (Congo major Superior),
- Simeon Nwobi (East Nigeria Provincial Superior),
- José Engonga (Padre Xifré Major Superior),
- Daniel Onyeayana (West Nigeria major Superior),
- JMJ. Jeyaseelan (St. Joseph Vaz Major Superior).
At 9:15. Gonzalo Fernández started the morning session, the first official session of this Meeting. Henry Omonisaye lead the prayer based on the Gospel of Mark 1, 14-20 and from the Chapter Document Missionarii Sumus (nn.1-2). The prayer/song “live to serve” (Salome Arricibita) resounded.
Gonzalo Fernández presented the dynamics of the presentation of the participants through power point presentation of the Major Organisms. In less than a minute, each participant presented themselves to the body starting from the members of the General Government, followed by the collaborators of the General Government at the service of our Congregation, and continued by the participants according to their continents (Africa, America, Asia, Europe). The presentation was followed by an overview of the reality of our Congregation, by continent and as a whole. In the middle of the presentations, the cordial message of communion of Daniel Onyeayana was read.
The three Claretian missionaries, collaborators in the meeting – translators and communications, as well as the lay from the Provincial Secretariat of San José del Sur – were presented accordingly.
Gonzalo Fernández continued with the presentation of the meeting.
As far as the overall outline is concerned, Henry Omonisaye recalled the objective of the meeting and presents it in detail by dwelling on some important aspects: to prepare collegially for the XXVI General Chapter as an itinerary of congregational discernment of the will of God today.
Gonzalo himself recalled the schedule of the meeting drawn up by the General Government and presented its details day by day from the 13th to the 20th of January. Mario David Gutiérrez presented what pertains to the rest day and excursion of Sunday 19, and what belongs to the Spirituality Congress and the celebration of the 150 years of the Claretian presence in the American continent (from January 21 to 25) – themes of reflection, workshops and final Eucharistic celebration. Gonzalo also presented the beginning of the celebration of the 150th death anniversary of St. Anthony Mary Claret’s.
Some practical issues were mentioned:
- the chronicle of the meeting will be written by Enrique Mascorro;
- the final message to the Congregation will be elaborated with the collaboration of Pedro Belderrain, Jude Thaddeus Lange, Francisco Carin;
- the sacristy service will be taken cared by Francisco Carin and Jesudoss S.
Then the message of Aquilino Cardinal Bocos was read. Aquilino manifested his fraternal and missionary communion and his cordial desire for a fruitful discernment in the congregational journey. His message, with a touch of nostalgia for his memory of Chile, recalls the history of the missionary presence in this first Province of our Congregation, invoking the Virgin of Andacollo (the population of which he is a favorite son). In his message he also mentioned that in both recognition and gratitude, ways are found to a fruitful missionary future.
Father General delivered his inaugural discourse:
- alluding to what our Constitutions say about the General Chapter;
- remembering some important Claretian events that are being / will be celebrated during these months;
- echoing the new ecclesial air brought by Pope Francis;
- recalling some of the significant events in the Church that have taken place after the celebration of the XXV General Chapter (year 2015) – in this regard, and after expressly alluding, among others, to some documents, synods, themes… invited the participants to make an individual reflection for a few minutes and share in groups on how all these has become part of and has had repercussions on the personal life and the life of the Major Organisms,
- recalling some important and worrying events on the world economic, social, political scene, etc.;
- recalling some of the themes dealt with in previous General Chapters;
- remembering the 150 years of the Claretian presence in Chile and the 150th anniversary of the Founder’s Death;
- underlining the necessity to rethink and implement other ways of planning and carrying out the Chapters in our Congregation and in their different stages of design, preparation and realization (MS 72.3);
- inviting everyone to a discernment and exploration of the voice of the Holy Spirit in the present and future of our Congregation.
Gonzalo Fernandez ended the session at 10:40 reminding the participants of the morning schedule:
- at 12:00 celebration of the Eucharist in the Chapel
- at 1:00 p.m. lunch.
The plenary session started again at 16:00.
Carlos Verga presented the beginning of the session. The Major Superior of Northeast India read the prayer from the Chapter Document Missionarii Sumus (n. 2). Carlos explained the afternoon procedures according to the planned schedule.
The members of the 6 groups (3 in Spanish, 3 in English) and the places of the meetings were announced. And the work to be done in groups was explained. The small groups were to share on the following questions:
- What are the most important thing that we should take into account in the current situation of the Congregation?
- At what point did your Organism join this process? Has there been a General Chapter that has had a special impact on your Organism?
- What is the Lord asking of us now to continue advancing on our missionary journey?
Each group will have had a secretary who would act as its spokesperson at the plenary session. In the plenary , the secretaries of the groups will share only the answers to the first question.
Gonzalo Fernandez informed everyone of the procedures during the evening prayer that will take place right after the sharing: it will have three moments in three places (in relation to the three transformation processes of our Congregation according to the last General Chapter).
At 4:10 p.m. group work started.
Led by Carlos Verga, at 18:00 the plenary session resumed beginning with a video presentation of the life and mission of Antillas Delegation (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti).
The dialogues and reflections on the first question “What are the most important thing that we should take into account in the current situation of the Congregation?” were shared.
Rosendo Urrabazo presented the book of Aquilino Bocos – A Tale of Spirit. Consecrated Life after the Second Vatican Council.
Carlos Candeias mentioned the following: charismatic renewal; harmony with the Church; the evangelization of the new generations; abuse and the culture of good treatment; multiculturalism; the mission “inter”, that is, in dialogue; the challenge of the common house; the social dimension of the Gospel; synodality as an ecclesiological model that inspires our way of doing and being in the mission; the vacations; the canonical question of the participation of the “officials” in the General Chapter (who are the “officials” of the Congregation – after the dialogue it was cleared that it is the Econome and the Secretary according to Directory 483/493-); the common criteria of how to live in communication within our Congregation (what means, forms,…)
Jude Thaddeus Langeh mentioned of the need to focus on spirituality (how to be obedient to the spirit and faithful to the charism); the symbol of the compass (deep spirituality in initial and ongoing formation); communion and mission; communion for mission; the importance of community life and prayer; the analysis of current social and political structures; contemplation in action (mysticism in action); the insistence on being hearers and servants of the Word; and on the Heart of Mary as the image of that listening and service to the Word.
Callistus Joseph mentioned the collegiality as a practical importance of participation according to the Constitutions and the Directory; the delegates to the General Chapter (all of this starting from the Constitutions 164); the organization in Europe and in other continents and countries (in such a way that the representation in the General Chapter is proportional and truly representative); how growth and decrease affect our life and mission; interculturality, which has become a reality that needs to be reflected upon; clear criteria for the formation of Major Organisms; dialogue in mission needs to be deepened; individualism in missionary work; clear criteria for our community life; identification of international formation centers and the formation of persons for future missions.
A moment of silence was given to let the interventions resound in each of the participants.
Francisco Carin mentioned the formation of missionaries; the balance of the places where our Congregation is growing; the need for a good formation adequate for intercultural community life; the universal mission; the spiritual patrimony / the important charismatic vein in some Major Organisms with long tradition; how to pass from multiculturalism to interculturalism; the joy of and in community life; the re-reading of our charism at the service of the Church in the world as servants of the Word (and in different ways of exercising this service according to cultural and social contexts); collegiality (how to make the whole Congregation be and feel part of the Chapter discernment according to the spirit and letter of the Constitutions 153).
Fausto Cruz mentioned the importance of the General Chapters and their authority in the life and mission of the Congregation; government in the light of the life and mission of the community; the vision of each Major Organism; the need to revive the missionary charism; taking into account communion and spirituality by being and working in shared mission; interculturality as an important theme; taking into account the processes of sending from one Major Organism to another; the attitude of service, unity, fidelity; the use of electronic voting; favouring the necessary preparation prior to the Chapters from each and every one of the areas of evangelization; the use of technology in the Chapters (reducing the use of paper); taking into account the elderly; taking into account the relationship between the young and old; the option of life for the community; interculturality; inculturation; the adaptation of the charism to the different contexts of the Congregation; the change of era and generations; trying to continue to be credible; the need to take more risks (without fear of change).
Enrique Mascorro mentioned the element “inter” (intercultural, intergenerational, etc.); spirituality in an integral and mystical sense (capacity for silence, listening, tuning in to the problems of the world and the Congregation in its contrasting realities); the call to go from being teachers to being witnesses (human mobility, political crisis, ecological crisis); missionary fraternity as the first missionary word (relations within the community and with the People of God).
Another moment of silence was given to let the interventions resound in each of the participants.
A 10-minute time was given for sharing and dialogue with table companions. After which an open exchange of opinions was initiated.
Gonzalo Fernández presented the sequence of the evening prayer, as a moment of recapitulating the experience of the day, in three moments / places (according to the three processes of transformation proposed by the previous General Chapter). It began with a time of rehearsal of the songs and with a moment of silence as preparation and presentation before the Lord. The prayer material has been previously distributed in the WhatsApp group intended for the meeting.
The prayer began at 7:05 p.m.
Dinner took place at 20:00.
Fr. Joseba Kamiruaga Mieza, CMF