An Interdisciplinary Reflection for the Congregation

1. Justification for the Project

The “community” dimension of our following of Jesus is a constitutive trait of our missionary vocation. We are “missionaries in community, from the beginning”.[1] The “style of the Apostles and the first Christian community” [2] is our way of being disciples of Jesus and proclaimers of His Good News in the world. The XXV General Chapter, “Messenger and Witnesses of the Joy of the Gospel,” highlights this when it shows that Claretian Missionaries are recognized as sons and brothers who are envoys of God; and sons of Mary “in the community.”

The same General Chapter notes that our community “is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which we must welcome and care for” and that, in its current configuration, an “intergenerational and intercultural” community is called to be a “parable of communion, eschatological sign and evangelizing word in today’s world.”[3] In the context of the church’s appeals that urge us to be a “Congregation going forth,” our communities are shaped by our collective discernment of the human peripheries in the territories where we are present, and the evangelizing projects that we program as an apostolic body.[4]

Foto 025 Pag 66The Chapter wanted us to aim at five points[5]:

  1. Shape our communities to be an eschatological sign of unity, peace and reconciliation.
  2. Build, among ourselves, a missionary community in a spirit of dialogue, acceptance and mutual appreciation, discerning together its ministries and services.
  3. Reinforce the sense of belonging and community co-responsibility.
  4. Value and accept as indispensable the ministry of intercessory prayer and suffering of our elderly, sick and impaired brothers.
  5. Appreciate and integrate the creative energies of the younger generation.

It is within this horizon that we have prepared this this project and present to the whole Congregation with the title, “The Claretian Community: House and School of Communion”. In this way, we intend to fulfil one of the mandates of the XXV General Chapter to the General Government.

2. Objective of the Project

The objective of the project is to “animate in the whole Congregation, under the responsibility of the General Government, an interdisciplinary reflection regarding community life as experienced at all levels (local, province and delegation, and worldwide)“.[6]

3. A Map to help the Journey

To guide us in this proposal, we would like to indicate below some keys that facilitate our reflection on the Claretian community at different levels.

3.1. Different Types of Communities in the Congregation

In the living reality of our communities, we try to understand the commonality that binds us together as we are engaged in many and diverse missions that, in turn, shape also each of our communities. From this perspective, we distinguish at least three types of communities:

  • Those engaged in the initial formation of Claretian missionaries,
  • The communities dedicated to active apostolates,
  • The animation communities such as the provincial or General Curia.

Within this categorization it is still possible to identify specific characteristics according to the differences in stages of formation, apostolates and geographical setting. Thus, a pre-novitiate community is different from novitiate, a parish community from a school community, and an urban community from one in a rural setting.

On the other hand, it is impossible in a reflection as proposed here to address all the specificities of the geographical, cultural, ecclesial, and apostolic diversity of the Congregation. Rather, our proposal seeks to consolidate what underlies in each of these expressions and constitutes the core identity of our form of life and mission. The proposal is also an invitation to journey together and to grow in our following of Jesus, starting from what we have in common, that is, the Claretian vocation which we have embraced through our religious profession.

3.2 The Proposal as a Starting Point for Personal Reflection and Community Dialogue

In this project, the General Government places in your hands 12 articles on the Claretian community, prepared by Claretian missionaries from the five continents on which we are present; each one with its own perspective.[7] However, the proposal neither begins nor ends when one receives this booklet. In May 2019, we conducted a pre-Congregation survey on the subject of which we will deal with in the next point. And, in order for us to fulfil the objective that we had proposed, what we find necessary is the commitment of each and every Claretian missionary.

The contents of this booklet are meant to promote personal reflection and community dialogue. It is an instrument to help our communities to get to know each other better, to grow in communion and mutual understanding, to nourish in us Jesus’ dream for his disciples (Jn 17:21). Thus, we shall be communities of witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel and walk forth on the path of conversion that was proposed by the XXV General Chapter.

3.3. Some Data on the Claretian Community collected from the Congregational Survey

To realistically carry out this project, we thought it appropriate to prepare a survey of the Congregation that was disseminated by email and the “SurveyMonkey” platform during the months of March-April 2019. The survey contained 10 items with eight closed and two open questions, and it was aimed at facilitating reflection by checking some aspects of the Claretian community among its missionaries.

720 Claretians responded to the survey, or approximately 32% of the members of the Congregation; which matches the average for this type of survey. Of these 720 missionaries, 71.7% identified themselves as members of a pastoral team; 24.8% as individuals working in a specific ministry entrusted by the community; and 3.5% as Seniors who join the missionary community through their ministry of intercession or offering their sufferings.


The survey has generally offered a favorable return on indicators of community life. It shows that in communities there is a fairly good level of appreciation, acceptance and integration of individuals’ personal and cultural differences. Respondents consider themselves good or very good at appreciating and affirming other members in their communities.[8]

However, the quality with which it is given and receives fraternal encouragement or correction in the Major Organisms is mostly in the middle, indicating an area that can improve. The accompaniment and use of power in the exercise of authority in the Major Organisms is also just above average, indicating another area in which life can improve. The disparity between some of the parameters raises the question of whether we are happy by confirming to each other in a community in which some of its members are unwilling to offer or receive fraternal correction constructively.

Of the challenges, presented in order of importance, growing individualism has been pointed out as the greatest of them, above the others.[9] The next two challenges that have been identified are the difficulties in intercultural and intergenerational life as much as the influence of social communication that negatively affect the quality of community life. As the emphasis or accentuation of the Congregation, respondents believe that the first missionary act of the community comes together and sent by the Word of God is a common life. And that a community configured by the mission is the most important accentuation given for the existence of the Congregation.

The last two open questions helped highlight some practical issues that community members have contributed to create joyful and missionary communities. Some modes, of the most valued, are related to the ministry of presence; shared prayer, liturgy, apostolate and recreation; with respect, appreciation, listening and appreciation of the other; availability, dialogue, love and forgiveness.

In elaborating the proposal for interdisciplinary reflection entrusted to us by the XXV General Chapter, we have taken all these aspects into account. All survey data is presented at the end of all booklets as an annex, so that it can support or if anyone is interested in it.

3.4. Themes, Methodology and Scopes of the Proposal

The proposal is articulated in 12 articles about the Claretian community whose source of inspiration is the Word of God and the Constitutions, on the one hand, and the challenges posed by the XXV General Chapter and the members of the Congregation, on the other.

The proposed topics for personal and community reflection are as follows, in this order:

  1. Communities Configured by the Mission
  2. The Community “Oikos”
  3. The Community School of Disciples in Mission
  4. Prophetic and Contemplative Community
  5. Liturgical and Celebratory Community
  6. Walking Forth in the Spirit. Practicing Discernment in Personal Life and in Communities
  7. Leadership and Organization of the Community
  8. Conflict Transformation in Community
  9. Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Community
  10. Celebrating Life and Mission in Intercultural and Intergenerational Communities
  11. The Dream of Being Community
  12. The Paschal Mystery in Our Communities

Each topic has been approached from different perspectives (biblical, theological, anthropological, psychological or sociological) by its authors and offers a point of view on the subject matter in question. At the end or during the development of these topics, there are also some questions that help to reflect on and to apply the pertinent points of the text to the concrete life and relationships of its readers and their communities.

4. A Proposal to Continue Walking as A Community of Disciples in the Footsteps of Jesus

In many ways our Congregation has been able to fathom the depth of its spiritual and charismatic heritage by learning from the wisdom of the Church, and from its own source (the Constitutions and Directory, the life of the Fr. Founder, the General Chapters and the Magisterium of the Superiors General or the developments realized through them) in particular. We want this proposal to be one more aid on the path of missionary discipleship that we share and to join other initiatives that point in the same direction.

The three “transformation processes” proposed by the XXV General Chapter ((being a “a Congregation going forth,”, “a community of witnesses and messengers” and “Men who adore God in the Spirit”) are the concrete ways in which we open ourselves to the “pastoral-missionary and ecological conversion” to which the Church is calling us.[10] Still, we have a long way to go.

5. Supporting Materials on each theme

We also offer a few supplementary materials on each topic to support your itinerary which can be found on the top right side of the webpage. We hope that it will offer complementary perspectives and tools to enrich our reflection and praxis. One of the tools is the link to short videos on biblical terms pertinent to our themes. We are indebted to the free videos from As servants of the Word, we want to situate our reflections on community in the biblical vision of humanity. These videos are from The other materials are articles related to the each of the themes.


The Claretian Congregation
Aut. = Antonio Maria Claret, Autobiography.
CC = Constitutions of the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Claretian Missionaries.
DC = Document of the Chapter of Renewal 1967.
Dir. = Directory of the Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Claretian
EC I = Anthony Mary Claret, Claretian Epistolario. Volume 1.
HAC = Declaration of the XXIV General Chapter “Men Who Burn in Charity.” Called to live our missionary vocation today.
MS = Declaration of the XXV General Chapter “Witnesses-Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel,” Missionarii Sumus.
SP = Declaration of the XXI General Chapter “Servants of the Word.” Our Missionary Service of the Word in the “New Evangelization.”
The Church
CIVCSVA = Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
EG = Francisco, Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium.” To the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in the Present World.
GE = Francisco, Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate.” About the Call to Holiness in the Current World.
LG = Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.
PF = Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter in the form Motu Proprio “Porta Fidei.” With the call to the Year of Faith.
RM = John Paul II, Encyclical Letter “Redemptoris Missio.” On the Permanent Validity of the Missionary Mandate.
SC = Second Vatican Council, Sacrosantum Concilium. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
VC = John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Vita Consecrata.” To the Bishops and Clergy, Religious Orders and Congregations, Societies of Apostolic Life, Secular Institutes and all the Faithful on Consecrated Life and their Mission in the Church and in the World.



[1] Cf. MS, 46-48.

[2] Cf. CC 4; 10.

[3] MS 46.

[4] Cf. MS 47.

[5] Cf. MS 48.

[6] MS 70, 5.

[7] We thank the Claretians who have collaborated in making this proposal possible: Amos Moses Onyait (St. Charles Lwanga), Callistus Joseph (Germany), José Cristo Rey García (Santiago), Mariano Sedano (Mission of St. Petersburg), Paulson Veliyanoor (Northeast India), George Lanithottam (Claretianum), Vicente Sanz (General Curia) and, on the part of the General Government, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam and Br Carlos Verga CMF. Thanks also to the Claretian translators coordinated by Fr. Joseba Kamiruaga Mieza CMF y to Fr. John Louie Guades III CMF who has prepared this digital edition and made available in our webpage.

[8] In terms of personal differences, 51.05% of 713 responses (7 of the respondents who submitted their answers did not answer this question), i.e. 364 people of the total, consider this to be good; while 18.52%, 132 people consider this to be very good.

[9] 5.08% of 708 Answers; Well 12 of those who sent your answers they did not answer this question; 36 people of the total.

[10] Cf. MS 65.

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A covenantal community

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As a community, we are called to embody God’s covenantal relationship with humans which finds its realization in Christ. Our relationships in the community are not merely human relationships lived through our efforts and strategies. At its core, our community should reflect our participation in the love of God, the Father, Son, and Spirit.