Dear members of the Claretian Family:
We have gathered in the Sanctuary of the Star of Mary, in Mülberg (Germany), to cordially welcome the community of Claretian Missionaries, as we celebrate the IX Encounter of the Claretian Family.
The Lay Claretian Movement accepted the responsibility for the organization of this gathering by convoking all the branches. In the end, only six branches were able to gather, with the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and the Cordimarian Missionaries asking to be excused.
Currently, we are looking at a church in diaspora, in which Christians are only (23%) and Catholics only make up (3%).
We have been able to share our faith in the celebration of anticipation, waiting and watching for the sunrise of the coming of the Lord during this Advent, and we have participated in a very enriching ecumenical dialogue concerning the difficulties that has overwhelmed this persecuted church from the fall of the wall and the challenges for a new evangelization. This process was shared by the Catholic and Reformed churches. We also had the opportunity to celebrate as a family the feast of Immaculate Mary, patroness of the Claretian Missionaries and the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate.
Facilitated by Fr. Paul Smyth, CMF, he encouraged us to express our wishes for these days: we wanted this fraternal encounter to develop a workable agreements for everyone. We understood that we are a family and part of the same body. We are in agreement, that we are a diverse family which shares the same charism. We understand that diversity is part of our wealth and is necessary for evangelization as St. Anthony Mary Claret dreamed.
For this, we reviewed and assessed the trajectory of the encounters which were started in Rome in 1984, and we recognized that those agreements are still valid today:
- To continue celebrating the Feast day of St. Anthony Mª Claret as a family celebration.
- To raise awareness of the Claretian Family from its initial formation.
- To come together in projects and actions of JPIC, educational missions, formation, pastoral vocation for youth, etc.
- To move forward in communication as a family.
On the theme of “Dialogue with a culture for a new evangelization” we’ve looked to St. Anthony Mary Claret as inspiration for our attitudes and actions:
- Claret always had in mind and above all, the proclamation of the Gospel, without neglecting the real needs of the people.
- He sees that God wants people to be happy, which for him is founded in the faith.
- He is an educated man, who uses knowledge to evangelize.
- He adapts to the situations in which he’s living. He is attentive to the reality, so that he listens and respond to the needs of his time, according to the conditions of the people of whom he wants to lead.
- He uses all the means at his disposal, particularly in his speech and through the means of communication, thus making the Gospel message accessible to all.
- He wants to announce and to make known the Kingdom in communion, and in a united response with others.
Looking at this reflection on Claret, we have come to these conclusions:
- In that the Claretian Family come from different branches and experiences, we recognize the charismatic identity that unites us. However, we must deepen the values of the “Claretian family culture,” so that our common patrimony must be shared and transmit, from a formation and apostolic platforms. We believe that the CESC (Center for Claretian Spirituality) and other initiatives can be a valid instrument to achieve this goal.
- We have recognized the differences between our distinct institutes, such as wealth and opportunity, and we want to better understand the unique characteristic of each of them.
- In dialogue about our cultures, we must recognize the positive values they have as seeds belonging to God, without hesitating to denounce those elements that contradict the Gospel. For this we need a personal conversion in the way of living the mystique of encounter and communion.
- We consider it worthwhile to exchange ideas to improve the experience of the encounter with cultures: non-believers, lax members, other religions, emigrants, young people, and millennials.
Each branch finds these conclusions as their own as well as enlightening. This will give us the opportunity to work in the Claretian Family through concrete actions in each cultural context.
We have decided to separate the leadership for coordination. For the next four years, Maria del Mar Álvarez, General Director of the Secular Institute of Cordimarian Filiation (HICM) has been elected president.
We wish that this spirit of communion we are living during these days impregnate all the individuals of our institutions and in all areas of our life and mission.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary accompany us on our shared journey as a Claretian Family.
Mühlberg, December 9, 2017
Mathew Vattamattam, cmf Jolanda Kafka, rmi
Claretian Missionary Claretian Missionary Sisters
Dulcinea Ribeiro, mc Fanny Fernandes, fc
SAMC Missionary Cordimarian Filiation
Bernardeta Arbaiza, sc M. Gracia Garcia-Baquero, mic
Lay Claretian Missionary of the Claretian Inst.