January 14, 2020 (Meeting of the General Government with the Major Superiors)

Jan 15, 2020 | XXVI General Chapter

The morning prayer is prepared and animated by ACLA’s Major Organisms. And the 60th birthday of Manuel Tamargo, General Bursar, is remembered.

The morning session begins at 9:00 am with a procession and enthronement of the Word of God led by Henry Omonisaye. Afterwards, Enrique Mascorro reads yesterday’s chronicle. Mario Gutiérrez offers a brief information on some aspects of the life of a Brother of our Congregation – Magin Puigross – buried in this Claret Centre of Talagante (his epitaph says: “because he loved this land and worked it”). The 30th anniversary of the Perpetual Profession of Josué González is remembered.

The videos of the life and mission of the following Major Organisms of Bangalore, Brazil, Cameroon are projected as an aid to tune in to the universal mission of the Congregation in different countries of the world and it is very interesting material to present and make known the variety of the congregational life and mission.

Gonzalo Fernández presents the work to be done and begins by pointing out that, in yesterday’s session, relevant themes were gathered to prepare the congregational itinerary in view of the General Chapter. The working methodology proposed below will be developed in 4 stages with the aim of helping to make the preparation of the congregational itinerary. This methodology has already been worked on, at least in part, with the members of the governments of the Provinces/Delegations of the Major Organisms of MICLA in 2018 and with those of the Conference of MICLA in 2019. This methodology will be worked on for the first time in a forum like this one of the Major Superiors of our Congregation.

The first thing is to stop at “what is weakening us, that is, what are our chronic diseases or illnesses”. This morning’s objective is to discover where the leaks are that are weakening us in the life and transmission of the missionary charism. And Gonzalo Fernandez deepens this objective by using the images of the “leakage of water” or “hemorrhage”.

Gonzalo Fernandez:

  • evokes the biblical text of Matthew 15, 29-30, as a text that can offer the key to face the illnesses/problems,
  • alludes to the temptations of pastoral and evangelizing agents (of which Pope Francis spoke in Evangelii Gaudium),
  • focuses in particular on the illnesses of the Roman Curia to which Pope Francis referred at Christmas 2016 and, in a cursory way, stops at each of them (15 illnesses) because such a diagnosis of where the Roman Curia was weakening can be a possible aid when making one’s own congregational diagnosis.

Gonzalo Fernández presents the first exercise that will be carried out in two moments (personal time in silence and time for dialogue in small groups), and in which he tries to point out 4 illnesses that are most affecting our Congregation today, and that are weakening its missionary life, trying, moreover, to identify two or three indicators or symptoms for each of the illnesses.

After a moment of silence for individual discernment / reflection (for about 5 minutes), some guidelines are given for the work of the groups, and the dialogue in the groups is opened for 25 minutes with the objective of each group to discern / identify 4 diseases.

At 10:40 there is a break.

At 11:05 the morning session is resumed.

The secretaries of the groups are invited to write on the blank sheets of paper the four diseases discerned and agreed upon.

Gonzalo Fernandez recalls the steps that will be taken throughout today and the next few days: identifying the illnesses (today’s morning session), the calls that God is addressing through the Church and the social context (today’s afternoon session), and the seeds of life that are discovered in the Congregation (throughout tomorrow).

The sharing of group work begins. The illnesses (not the symptoms mentioned) are then collected:

Fausto Cruz. He mentions superficial discernment, fragmented life, activism, use of goods.

Pedro Belderrain. He mentions individualism, activism, the weakening of fraternal life, the lack of mysticism.

Jude Thaddeus Lange. He mentions individualism, gossip, double life, indifference in all aspects (also towards our Congregation).

Carlos Candeias. He mentions affective immaturity and spiritual inconsistency.

Francisco Carín. He mentions individualism, the lack of a deep experience of God, the desire to have titles, a formation without challenges or a conformist formation.

Callistus Joseph. He mentions individualism, the arrogance of rights to… (prerogatives, titles…), the devaluation of essential elements of religious life, minimalism.

Manuel Tamargo. He mentions the spiritual anaemia, the charismatic superficiality, the diocesan character of our missionary life and service, the thrombosis in the fraternity.

After listening to the groups, a synthesis will be made as a result of the collective discernment on the illnesses that are affecting the Congregation. For this, Gonzalo Fernandez reads again, and slowly, the words that each group has given to the illnesses, giving then some minutes for personal reflection.

The groups are offered 10 minutes to share their reactions and to try to reach a consensus on two illnesses that are considered to be the most important ones. After this time, a sharing is done:

Fausto Cruz. He mentions the diocesan character of our life and the charismatic superficiality.

Pedro Belderrain. He mentions the egocentrism and the lack of a Claretian mysticism.

Jude Thaddeus Langeh. He mentions individualism and the lack of mystical character.

Carlos Candeias. He mentions the inability to love and the charismatic superficiality.

Francisco Carín. He mentions individualism and the lack of a charismatic experience.

Callistus Joseph. He mentions individualism and charismatic superficiality.

Manuel Tamargo. He mentions individualism and spiritual inconsistency.

Gonzalo Fernandez mentions as two great nuclei of consensus:

  • The lack of Claretian mysticism (charismatic superficiality / diocesan character).
  • Individualism or self-centeredness.

Fifteen minutes are given to make some comments on what is perhaps happening to the Congregation and where the energy is being lost. The discussion focuses on:

  • Individualism (the understanding of what is meant and/or understood by the word “individualism”; the repetition of individualism should not be seen as negative but as a constant call for attention; the need to rethink where we want to go as opposed to individualism; the difference, at least in the Spanish language, between individualism and personalism;…)
  • The lack of Claretian mysticism or charismatic superficiality (the need to focus on what is more proper to the Claretian missionary life; the diocesan character of our life; the abundance and richness of tools and materials but perhaps not as great a use as would be expected -; how the growth and consolidation of the new foundations and vocations are accompanied; the fragility of the new generations and vocations – a fragility that, on the other hand, our entire Congregation breathes from the Western environment -;.)
  • How to involve the whole Congregation in the process of discernment and, in this sense, the responsibility of the persons in government to make a journey in view of the next General Chapter involving all the members of the respective Major Organisms.

Father General concludes by stating that when we refer to the illnesses of our brothers, it is important to make a sincere exercise of self-criticism because also the Major Superiors and the members of the General Government have these same illnesses. They too suffer from those illnesses that they detect in their brothers.

At 12:20 the morning session ends and Gonzalo Fernández gives way to a more prayerful / sapiential moment around Mary and in silence with this question: What have I learned this morning for my own life (not so much thinking about the members of the Province / Delegation)? What can or should I take into account in myself for a better missionary service?

12:30 is the break.

At 15:30 p.m. work resumes in the plenary.

The session begins with the prayer from Missionarii Sumus (nn. 42 and 45), from the Autobiography nn. 28 and 29 and from the personal reflection (as these last two appear in the Claretian Year of January 14). Three videos of the life and mission of the Provinces of Chennai and Colombia Oriental-Ecuador are projected.

The message of fraternal communion of a former Superior General, and present Bishop of Osaka (Japan), Mons. Josep Maria Abella, is read, in which he shares some concerns in view of the preparation of the Chapter itinerary, such as, for example the strengthening of the theological dimension of our lives, the consolidation of the spiritual dimension, the attention to the many and different peripheries whatever they may be, the life with joy of the gift of community, the assumption of interculturality taking care of creative fidelity to the charismatic gift and patrimony, the living of cordiality as Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Gonzalo Fernández proposes working in groups according to the Conferences. After the look ad intra carried out during this morning, always necessary but never sufficient, it is now time to reflect on the calls of God in the world and in the Local Churches, opening and widening the congregational look. Gonzalo recalls the discernment made by the previous General Chapter identifying 10 calls (social, ecclesial, congregational).

Now it is time to discern what the new calls may be or are. By way of example, a worldwide survey has been made of young people born already in the 21st century to see their 10 concerns (lack of employment, security and well-being, lack of education, food and civic security, government accountability and transparency and corruption in the political field, religious conflicts, poverty, inequality and discrimination, large-scale conflicts and wars, climate change and the ecological problem).

Gonzalo Fernandez proposes that each group, looking at each of the social and ecclesial contexts in which they find themselves, identify four calls of God in the situation of the world, and four other calls in the situation of the Church that most challenge our Congregation. This exercise lasts 30 minutes. Before the group discussion exercise, a few minutes are given for individual reflection.

Gonzalo Fernández presents, at 16:45, and before giving time for the break, a 10-minute speech on what are the most important moral problems in our time (https://www.ted.com/talks/will_macaskill_what_are_the_most_important_moral_problems_of_our_time) by the moral philosopher Will MacAskill in which he tries to provide a framework to respond to this theme of current moral problems based on the philosophy of “effective altruism”.

There is a break at 17:00 p.m.

The plenary will resume at 17:30 p.m.

The session resumed with the projection of the videos of the Provinces of Colombia-Venezuela and Central America.

The secretaries of the groups, who worked according to Conferences, reported on the discernment and consensus of their reflections:

Challenges of the social context Calls of the Church
Mario Gutiérrez Ecology, migrants, social injustice and inequality, crisis and discrediting of institutions. The new generations and vocations, the culture of good treatment, the defence of life in cooperative networks, prophetic spirituality in dialogue with new realities.
Enrique Mascorro Ecology, migrants, social injustice and inequality, crisis and discrediting of institutions. The protection of minors, ecclesial credibility, clericalisms, the crisis of vocations (promotion of lay ministries, of women, etc.), the deepening of our prophetic spirituality.
John Francis Corruption at all levels, poverty, lack of education and unemployment, violence. Clericalism, religious indifference or secularization, catechetical formation, rigidity and fundamentalism.
Carlos Candeias Crisis of the economic-political system (injustice, corruption, inequality), not being aware that the other is a brother (attacks on brotherhood), the materialistic conception of welfare, immigration; technological progress (which opens / closes doors). Credibility, rethinking the way the Church is structured (collegiality, synodality…), the vocational theme in a broad sense (presenting the theme of holiness well) especially before the new generations, the forms, language and significance of believing communication.
Jacob Arakkal Terrorism; violated minority rights, authoritarianism in governments that undermines human rights and freedom of expression, climate change and care for nature, education and unemployment. The Church that is moving away from the faithful in the sense that it is becoming institutionalized, clericalism and authoritarianism, the transmission of the faith to the new generations, the alienation of youth.
Francisco Carín Political and religious fundamentalism; ecology; immigration (of individuals and families), economic iniquity, psychological marginalization of young people. The fundamentalism of each of the extremes (extremisms), ecological conversion, provoking the experience of people with and of God, openness and adaptation to youth, the authority and credibility of the Church.
Manuel Tamargo Ecology, migrants, social injustice and inequality, crisis and discrediting of institutions. Openness and dialogue with the new generations, the culture of good treatment, the evangelization of large sectors of unbelievers.


After the presentation of the group secretaries on the social challenges, there is a moment of silence to let it resonate and a space for brief interventions is opened:

  • institutionalized violence,
  • the systemic crisis,
  • the non credibility of institutions (and also of the Church),
  • the loneliness of people,
  • destitution (e.g. due to drugs),
  • the refugees,
  • the degradation of human rights.

After the group secretaries’ presentation of the ecclesial challenges, a time slot is opened for the groups to share their reactions after this brainstorming in five minutes.

A time is opened to comment on the impressions that have been made about the ecclesial challenges:

  • the fact that there are not exactly the same challenges on the different continents,
  • the transmission of the faith to the new generations and the need to review our ecclesial and congregational practices (the place of the laity and the place of women, how decisions are reflected upon and adopted, collegiality, synodality,…)
  • the big problems are the same but each continent has its own nuances and demands more specific responses.

Gonzalo Fernández gives an overview of the day’s itinerary and places it within the plan of reflection and discernment on the theme and the itinerary of preparation for the General Chapter. Tomorrow, the 15th, we will return to the reality of our Congregation and around this question: what seeds of life do we find in our Congregation that can generate hope, transformation and new missionary life? The whole day tomorrow will be dedicated to this question.

The day after tomorrow and the next day will be addressed:

  • what is God’s dream and in which direction our Congregation must walk,
  • what capitular process has to be set in motion to make that move.

We take advantage of the fact that we are by Conferences to take a photo of each Conference as a whole and an individual photo of each of its members.

The session ends at 18:25.

At 19:00 there is a celebration of the Eucharist, prepared by the members of the ACLA Conference, and presided over by Manuel Tamargo who is celebrating his 60th birthday.


Father Joseba Kamiruaga Mieza CMF

Secretary General


Photos of the Meeting: GGSM 2020 ALBUM

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