INAUGURATION OF THE XVI PROVINCIAL CHAPTER
The XVI Provincial Chapter was opened in the afternoon of December 8, 2021. Fr. Henry Omonisaye, cmf, gave an exhortation of the Word to us and read the letter of the Superior General, Fr. Matthew Vattamattam, cmf. Addressing the chapter members, the Vicar General highlighted the following aspects:
1. co-responsibility of all in the life and mission of the province;
2. missionary availability of the province for universal mission, which is reflected in the members of the province who serve in other organisms;
3. appreciation to the province for hosting the ITVCA and
4. expression of the importance of the conversations for the development of the mission of the province.
With those words, Fr. Henry Omonisaye, the chapter president, declared the XVI Provincial Chapter of the East Colombia and Ecuador Province, open. In his opening address, the Provincial Superior, Fr. José González, CMF underlined the sense of being a province, in missionary work and the work carried out by the brothers in the interest of the provincial community. He then thanked everyone for contributing to the missionary service of the province.
Meanwhile on the same day, that the church celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, students Diego Musse and Billy Freire renewed their vows. It was indeed a day of celebration, gratitude and missionary commitment.
The second day (Dec, 09) began with a moment of prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The capitulars reflected on the General Chapter Declaration: Querida Congregacion. Fr. Henry Omonisaye, the retreat moderator further invited the capitulars to discernment, to a deepening of the bond of communion with God and the confreres. Guided by the text of Acts 1:15-26, the chapter members meditated on discernment as an indispensable element of the Christian vocation and vocation to the consecrated life. The following criteria were indicated:
– Time is superior to space, time governs space, it illuminates it, it is a call to see the big picture. What action can a new process generate in the province?
– Unity prevails over conflict, we must face conflicts, but with the intention of reaching unity; we must see the dignity of others; in our diversity we must reach unity. What are the differences that we are called to reconcile in the province, what am I called to do personally?
– Reality is more important than the idea. You have to have a constant dialogue between ideas and reality. Ideas must be embodied. How have we lived the proposals of our last provincial chapter? How have I committed to the proposals?
– The whole is superior to the part; think globally and act locally. How have I participated in the life and mission of the province? How have we incorporated everyone into the life and mission of the province?
– There are criteria in the Constitutions, Directory, charismatic traits. We are missionaries with spirit, the Word of God, missionaries in community, sent to evangelize listening to the poor.
What we must avoid in the discernment process:
– Insufficient information
– Lacking the detachment to be objective
– Not being confident enough in my own ability to listen to the Holy Spirit
– Insufficient good advice
– We must let God speak to us while we discern.
– Let’s abandon personal preferences
– The common vision of the congregation must prevail
– The province’s options should guide the process
– The needs of the contexts should speak to us and play an important role in the process
– Be open to the surprise and the unexpected in true discernment
After a moment of personal reflection, three questions were shared in groups: The criteria for discernment, the differences to be reconciled and the seeds of life. The Retreat ended with the celebration of the Eucharist.
In the evening, we started the DISCOVERY Stage. Fr. Enrique Aponte, who anchored this phase, explained the meaning of the phase and the importance of discovering with greater reliability what moment the province is experiencing. Relevant for this stage will be, on the one hand, the Vademecum in which the conversations of the local communities, the different structures and mission areas which were reviewed. On the other hand, are the set of reports (memories) prepared by the Provincial Government.
The discovery phase seeks to evaluate the life of the province; the seeds, the weeds. But this is undertaken in consonance with the adopted approaches. The Chapter community was invited to focus more on the potentials and seeds of life, without overlooking the “diseases” or obstacles to growth.
In order to achieve the aforementioned goal, the chapter devoted some time to reflection and personal reading and to dialogue in various groups. Some questions helped to achieve the objectives of the phase. The reflections from the groups will be shared at the plenary meeting.