Fatima, Portugal. From November 17 to 19, 2023, the Quinquennium of the Claretians in Europe took place at the Casa de Acolhimento e Espiritualidade in Fátima. This gathering, coordinated by Fr. Antonio Obikonu, CMF, Prefect of Formation of the Province of Santiago, brought together thirty-six Claretians from all over Europe including invited guest, Fr. Pedro Belderrain, CMF, General Prefect of Apostolate, and Father Carlos Candeias, CMF, Provincial Superior of Fátima.
Under the theme “The challenges of evangelization in Europe today,” this event represented a time of deep reflection and renewal of hope in the evangelizing mission of the Congregation on the old continent. The gathering began with moments of prayer and fraternity, followed by the central presentation by Fr. Antonio Sánchez Orantos, CMF. His exposition, titled “The Challenges of Evangelization in Today’s World,” provided a clear vision of the current challenges faced by the Church, highlighting that we are at a time of epochal change where urgent and authentic discernment is necessary to missionally respond to the changing realities of society. Father Sánchez’s speech was a call to authenticity, a critical look at one’s own lifestyle.
During the meeting, critical issues such as secularization, the decline in religious participation, and the adaptation of ecclesiastical structures to current social and technological realities were addressed. These discussions highlighted the importance of finding new ways to transmit the faith, emphasizing resilience and adaptability in times of change.
A notable aspect of the gathering was the active participation of the Claretians from various provinces, including members from Poland and Germany, who contributed to the prayer and discussion sessions, bringing diverse perspectives and experiences. Additionally, video conferences with lay Claretians were included, further enriching the meeting with a shared vision of the Claretian mission.
This Quinquennium was not only an opportunity to address the present challenges, but also to reaffirm hope and vision for a future of renewed evangelization. An important moment for all present to meet and dialogue with brothers spread throughout the continent.
What is a Quinquennium
The Quinquennium program is an ongoing formation program designed for members of the Claretian Missionaries in their first five years after their perpetual profession (Brothers) or ordination (Priests). In Europe, the program is extended up to ten years. The program offers an opportunity for the members of the Congregation to come together, share experiences, exchange knowledge and ideas, and strengthen their sense of community.
Source | Fr. José Enrique, CMF, General Communication Team.