January 18, 2020 (Meeting of the General Government with the Major Superiors)

Jan 19, 2020 | XXVI General Chapter

The celebration of the Eucharist at 07:30 was prepared by the Major Superiors of MICLA and presided over by Ismael Montero.

At 09:15 the work session begins. Henry Omonisaye welcomes the participants. The prayer begins with the song “Song for a young prophet” and with listening to the Word of God (Gospel Mark 4, 26-29). This reading, says Carlos Verga, helps us to remove the anxiety of thinking that everything depends on us. The Word of God helps us to understand that projects have strength in themselves: it is God who gives growth to our desires and dreams. We ask God to give growth and make what we put in his hands bear fruit. The proposal of the Claretian Year is projected for the 18th, stopping at the Claretian testimony of Alcides Fernández (missionary and aviator). The video of the life and mission of the Independent Delegation of St. Charles Lwanga is projected.

Gonzalo Fernández begins by reminding us that we have this morning to complete our work. Today begins the week of prayer for Christian unity. We are in the last stage of “projecting” or commitment. And he recalls / explains the statement of aspirations that tries to gather what we have discerned and worked on so far:

DEEPLY ROOTED AND AUDACIOUS. Towards the XXVI General Chapter. The participants arrive at the XXVI General Chapter:

pleased with the pre-chapter preparations, in union with their brothers from many parts of the world,

  • happy to have discerned, with the collaboration of Claretians and laity, the main concerns and signs of vitality of the Congregation, enculturated in their various contexts,
  • affirmed in our charismatic roots and prophetic aspirations aided by the experience of the narrative process,
  • willing, lime Mary, to be enlightened by the Spirit and Word of God, to continue the process of discernment and dialogue,
  • animated, together with others, to take bold steps in the “mission Dei”.

This is the synthesis. Yesterday, Gonzalo tells us, a first project for the preparation of General Chapter XXVI was drawn up. A space was opened – the first exercise – for the secretaries to share what had been prepared by the groups. All the reflections were sent to the Secretary General:

Group 1 – Carlos Verga: actions, chronogram, persons, attitudes.

Group 2 – Pedro Belderrain: first moment (activities from the end of January 2020), second moment (from May / June 2020).

Group 3 – Yohanes Maria Vianey: action plan, chronogram of actions, factors or other elements to be taken into account in the process of preparing the Chapter.

Group 4 – Carlos Candeias: actions to be carried out, chronogram, persons and groups to be involved, factors to be taken into account, follow up of the process.

Group 5 – Francisco Carín: plan of actions (at different levels: congregational, as Conferences and as Major Organisms), chronogram of actions, identification of persons and groups, factors to be taken into account, follow-up of the pre-Chapter process.

Group 6 – Elias Ayuban Jr.: plan of action, chronogram of actions, persons (their qualities and qualifications), factors, responsible persons.

Gonzalo Fernandez summarizes the contributions with three underlines:

  • The great richness of the contributions.
  • A great number of convergences.
  • Not a few elements of their own / singular.

Gonzalo invites everyone to make a final effort to try to reach a consensus and elaborate a joint proposal. Each secretary or another member of each group (specifically they are: Carlos Verga, Pedro Belderrain, Jude Thaddeus Langeh, Carlos Candeias, Jesudoss S., Elias Ayuban Jr.) is absent from the room to try to draft the aforementioned common proposal. Once completed, it will be presented and proposed to the assembly.

Gonzalo proposes a second exercise. It is as follows:

  • Besides the proposed itinerary, what other issues do we think the XXVI General Chapter should address and why?
  • Are there other suggestions to be made to improve the preparation, realization and implementation of the General Chapter?

A space is then opened for group work.

At 10:45 we take a break.

At 11:15 the session resumes.

Gonzalo explains the dynamics of the work. After another 15 minutes, the secretaries of the two groups will share the answers to the questions of the second exercise. It is hoped that the representatives of the groups, who are working to agree on a more closed/definitive proposal on the pre-Chapter itinerary, will be able to present the proposal during the course of the morning.

At 11:30 the time is opened to listen to the suggestions of the groups.

Group 1 – Ricard Costa-Jussà: the clerical or non-clerical state of our Congregation; the representativeness of the Delegations dependent on the General Chapter and its organization; the culture of good treatment; some formative aspects (care of human accompaniment, intercultural centers, and intercultural formation teams, the management/transmission of information of persons in the case of interprovincial assignments); to consider the convenience/possibility of dedicating some time of the General Chapter to some topic of formation; to evaluate the convenience/possibility of having an external commission that can collaborate in the illumination and reflection of some topics.

Group 2 – Marcos Aurelio Loro: the protocol for the protection of minors and vulnerable people; vocation ministry; the criteria and stages for becoming a Province; the criteria for sending and receiving missionaries; taking care that communication is as effective as possible; dialogue on the dates and place of the General Chapter; to see the possibility of using more updated psalms and having a more lively liturgy (perhaps some assistance and formation communities of our Congregation could collaborate in the elaboration of more updated psalms); that the Major Organisms / Conferences could work on possible suggestions that could be brought to the General Chapter; that the General Chapter have an ecological nature and practice.

Group 3 – Lawrence V: a General Chapter with an ecological nature and practice; listening/integrating the voice of the laity (not necessarily inside the Chapter Hall but through video-conference, videos,…) and of the Claretian Family in general (a session not necessarily inside the Chapter Hall to take into account what the Spirit is saying from other perspectives and within the common Claretian evangelizing charism); that the Conferences create a commission to help prepare the same Conference in view of the General Chapter (having meetings by regions/zones, etc.); the necessary integration of all the contexts of the universality of the Congregation (it is cited, for example, the integration of the Asian context and of its religious traditions – thus favoring the joint work trying to concretize and carry out in that way the necessary thinking and doing with others -).

Group 4 – Mario David Gutiérrez: the current norms, criteria, and orientations on vacations; representation at the General Chapter; the theme of the protection of minors and vulnerable persons (what happens to our brothers who have been declared guilty, reparation for the damage caused,…); the theme of additions (the accompaniment of persons and the revision of formation programs); the formation of bursars (and formation in our congregation on the economy); leadership in government and in the economy; the structuring of the congregation in provinces and delegations (criteria, processes, etc., from a Delegation to a Province and vice versa); the accompaniment and discernment of vocations (particularly of adults who call to the Congregation, or of persons from other Congregations, etc.); a General Chapter with an ecological nature and practice.

Group 5 – John Francis: the criteria on vacations; the representation of Major Organisms (trying to improve the presentation of the Delegations) at the General Chapter; a General Chapter with an ecological nature and practice; reflection on how the new Major Organisms are perceived in the Congregation; seeking the active participation of all the members of the Congregation.

Group 6 – Callistus Joseph: amendments to the numbers referring to representation at the General Chapter (120 of the Constitutions and 156 of the Directory); the place of the General Chapter; an honest evaluation of the reorganization and the study of other models (“associations of Major Organisms”, etc.); the universal mission and development of Major Organisms, and the need for balance; the advisability of creating a team for each Conference to animate the pre-capitular process.

Gonzalo Fernández shares his impressions:

  • Many suggestions have been made.
  • There are quite a few convergences.
  • The General Government has a lot of information to be able to design/make a General Chapter exploring new ways as formulated in Missionarii Sumus (MS 72.3).

Some reactions (comments and suggestions) are shared:

  • Bear in mind that there are processes of the reorganization of Major Organisms already carried out and others still in progress. All this requires time to be consolidated and settled.
  • Organize the liturgical celebrations (according to the majority languages…) in the Chapter.

At 12:00 the members join the room and, for a good part of the morning, they have prepared a summary by consensus of the pre-Chapter itinerary with the contributions of all the groups. An exercise in listening to the synthesis is made and it is presented by Pedro Belderrain. It is projected on the screen.

After listening, Gonzalo Fernández underlines and thanks:

  • The effort made to clearly and diachronically integrate the many and different contributions of the groups.
  • It is a very clear fruit of all this process that we have developed during these days.
  • For the time being, it is up to the General Government to reflect and assess whether to return this proposal to the assembly.

At 12:15 Gonzalo Fernandez proposes to make now the moment of prayer around Mary with a prayerful exercise of recapitulation of what we have lived and worked during these days. This is the third exercise.

  • In this journey that we have made together as Major Superiors of the Congregation, what has affected you most deeply?
  • What commitment do you assume to put into practice what we have discerned and decided together?
  • What difficulties and fears do you think you may encounter in your Major Organism, and how can they be faced?
  • What have you learned that can help you to develop your mission as Major Superior with more depth and spirit?

The exercise is done in a moment of contemplative silence for five minutes. Each one is invited to compose a phrase with a prayer of thanksgiving to Mary for the work that has been done during these days. In an atmosphere of prayer, a “Magnificat” is made together with the prayers of each one present.

At 12:35 the session ends.

At 15:30 the session resumes.

Henry Omonisaye welcomes us and we pray together with the prayer from Missionarii Sumus nn. 69 and 70 and the Our Father. The video on the life and mission of the Provinces of St. James, St. Thomas and St. Paulus is shown.

Fr. General took the floor: now it is our turn to share some information and topics for reflection. Before doing so, he shares with us that the journey of this journey must be as joyful and happy as the destination.

The General Chapter is not only the responsibility of the General Government but of the whole Congregation working together. In this process we must develop, among other things, the sense of belonging to our Congregation; the sense of synodality because we are one of the Church and for the Church for which we are responsible. In the desire to seek and find new ways to design and organize the next General Chapter (MS 72), the General Government has shared over the years with other Congregations and has participated in some formation experiences in this regard. And these new ways of holding assemblies/chapters have already been introduced in meetings, assemblies, provincial chapters…, seeing the positive fruits.

Carlos Candeias shares the experience, fundamentally positive, of the first Provincial Chapter of Fatima as regards the experience and methodology of appreciative inquiry with the work of facilitator, also on that occasion, of Gonzalo Fernández.

The most important thing is how we integrate this dynamic and methodology into our charismatic identity. Father General expressly thanks Gonzalo Fernández for his work as a facilitator during these days of the meeting. The assembly corroborates the recognition and gratitude with warm and strong applause.

Father General alludes to some topics such as:

  • the persons designated in our documents as “officers of our Congregation”;
  • the balance of the representation of the Congregation at the General Chapter;
  • the work of possible commissions, which could include laypersons, to reflect on some themes in view of the General Chapter.

From now on, Father General and the members of the General Government will report on different aspects and themes of each of the processes of transformation.

Artur Teixeira takes the floor to focus on some themes of the first process of transformation: “Congregation going forth”.

  • reports on the coordination of these areas by Artur Teixeira, Carlos Verga, Henry Omonisaye;
  • alludes to the different encounters that have already been carried out during this six-year period and/or that are to be carried out in the near future (particularly the Encounter of Prefects of the Apostolate, the World Congress and in the Claretian Family of Claretian Educators);
  • Rosendo Urrabazo informs about the Claretian project in the United Nations in New York (he informs, in this respect, about his missionary team formed by people from different continents, his house, his new Parish, his office near the UN headquarters, his work in four areas – migrants and refugees, indigenous peoples, peace and reconciliation, and ecology -, the current state of the work in the theme of human rights;
  • reports on what refers to the “Claret 150” Project of the Claretian Missionary Sisters and of our Congregation (on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of our Founder). Manuel Tamargo adds and explains more about the joint work that the joint commission between the Claretian Missionaries and our Congregation is doing in this respect. In this Project, it is a matter of a formative initiative and another missionary/pastoral initiative.

Henry Omonisaye reports:

  • of the activities during this six-year period in the field of biblical pastoral ministry and, particularly, of the seminars carried out in this respect, and stresses the need for qualification/formation of Claretian missionaries in biblical pastoral ministry;
  • on the Institutes of Consecrated Life, three face-to-face meetings have been held (and a meeting has been held via Skype) of the Directors of such centers (it is necessary to think and work together), the state of the Institutes in Africa and in America, the line of reflection and action on the possibility of establishing an independent institute at the service of the evangelization of the Church with the quality of being interdisciplinary (starting from the Apostolic Constitution “Veritatis Gaudium” – promulgated in 2018 -, the initiatives in not a few Major Organisms of proposals of different kinds with regard to the Consecrated Life, the need to widen/diversify the theology of the Religious Life in a wide and global range of possibilities and formation offers (also contemplating other modalities of formation such as for example, online).

Carlos Verga reports:

  • of the activities that are being carried out from the Prefecture of VYP in collaboration and coordination with the Claretian missionaries of all the continents;
  • of the decision to work the projects of this Prefecture in the Claretian Family: The decision to work the projects of this Prefecture in the Claretian Family: the Claretian pastoral course of youth and vocations for the local representatives of VYP, the proposal of vocational discernment for young people, the proposal of a Claretian youth movement, the proposal of missionary volunteers for young people, vocational enclave, the work by continents (it is necessary to take into account the many and different rhythms of the people who have not few missionary activities), The proposal for those responsible for the youth ministry who are beginning their work, the encounters of the World Youth Day and the previous week in the Claretian Family (with the invitation that the Major Organisms foresee in their economic budgets the possibility that at least 2 young people may participate in these encounters with a Claretian missionary to accompany them);
  • Father General points out the importance of creating a mystique in the presence and work of vocations.

A las 17:00 the session ends.

A las 17:30 the session resumes.

Father General reports on his visit to the Amazon and on the current reality of a possible Claretian mission in the Peruvian Amazon. For this purpose, he begins by informing about the Synod of the Amazon (October 2019), and then he goes on to do the same with his visit to the mentioned place. And he asks for an open dialogue on the part of those present. Juan Carlos Bartra reports on the current situation of the Atalaya Mission and the current conversations/steps taken by the Vicariate in this regard. The Nuncio’s proposal would seem to be to take charge of the whole Vicariate, founding it in the town of Francisco de Orellana. The missionary need is great. Good physical health is necessary given the conditions and the geography of the place.

Father General presents the theme of the Mission Procure. And he mentions the work done during these years trying to create a missionary awareness, reorganizing the structures/platforms within this area, etc. How to improve this missionary service and how to use it in an intelligent way? Artur Teixeira encourages the participants to ask questions, criteria,…

A dialog box opens: the formation initiatives/seminars offered by the General Mission Procure, the need for unified work among the Mission Procure, the need to continue strengthening the structure and missionary service of the Mission Procure for the benefit of the Major Organisms have been taken advantage of, the different cases that have caused discomfort and problems (how to effectively accompany from the General Mission Procure in the local initiatives of the Mission Procure, for example, being more flexible, not so rigid, in the criteria, in the times,…, of evaluation, of application, etc.), we are grateful for the work done and being done by Proclade, the different times in which the General Mission Procure and the international agencies are working. Artur mentions that, over the years, congregational criteria have changed in this regard and that it is necessary for local Missionary Procures to know, study, assimilate and act upon them. And he asks for the help of the Major Superiors in the discernment, based on the concerns and difficulties that they themselves have expressed, to try to revise and, if necessary, modify the congregational criteria, improve the procedures and their timing, etc., trying to respond to what this missionary service wants to be in favor of the peripheries.

At 6:05, the second process of transformation begins, that is, the community of witnesses and missionaries.

Father General reads the letter of fraternal communion of Sister Jolanta Kafka, Superior General of the Claretian Missionary Sisters (Religious of Mary Immaculate), addressed to Father General on the occasion of the Memory of the Venerable Maria Antonia Paris -which was celebrated yesterday, the 17th-, and of the encounter of the General Government with the Major Superiors.

Joseba Kamiruaga reports on the current state of the Congregational Protocol for minors and vulnerable persons. In the same, he explains, among other things, some elements such as, for example, the milestones of the process followed for its elaboration; the two documents (the Manual and the Protocol to which Father General’s letter is attached) approved by Father General and his Council on 25 November 2019; the sending by the Secretary General to the Major Superiors and Provincial Secretaries of the two documents mentioned on 18 December 2019; the deadline for the sending from the Major Organisms to the General Secretariat of their respective Protocols (June 30, 2020) and in conformity with the Congregational Manual and Protocol; some recommendations for the reading, study, and assimilation of the Manual and Protocol by the Major Superior, the Government Council of the Major Organism and the Organisms as a whole.

The session ends at 6:30.

At 19:15 there is a celebration around Mary prepared and animated by the Major Superiors of MICLA.


Father Joseba Kamiruaga Mieza CMF

General Secretary


Picture gallery of the Meeting:

[envira-album id=”70876″]

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