Nemi, Italy. August 27, 2021. We begin a new stage of the Chapter sharing the dreams that we dream for the Congregation in the times to come. The vocational key of the moments of prayer offered us a propitious framework from which to dream together about the present and the future.
The day’s reflection opened with the (virtual) visit of Bishop Josep Abella CMF who communicated with us from his diocese in Fukuoka, Japan. After a brief introduction that brought us closer to the reality in which he lives, Fr. Josep invited us to discern with freedom, without ties or interests. For this, he indicated the importance of looking at Jesus Christ to follow him as true disciples; to look at Father Claret to make the love of God known with others; to look at the Church to witness with her the Kingdom of God; and to look at reality with the gaze of Jesus and from the perspective of the poor. Then, among other issues, he urged us to be witnesses of the absolute primacy of God, to witness to the potential of the Gospel by living fraternity, missionary availability to move to the geographical, cultural, existential, and social peripheries with all the demand for conversion that comes with moving to the frontiers.
Then, the Chapter facilitators presented the work plan for the day. Based on a prayer exercise, each of the capitulants wrote down what he or she intuited as God’s dream for the Congregation. From these intuitions shared in groups of eight to ten people, the common aspects were highlighted. Each group amalgamated the key aspects of what was shared into a single collective dream, formulating two questions to explore ways to deepen it. In the afternoon, there were three rounds of simultaneous groups in which the capitulants signed up freely with the aim of exploring the questions asked from the shared dreams.
Upon returning to the Chapter Hall, we were met with a surprise visit from Msgr. João Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA) who shared a frank and pleasant dialogue with the capitulars. Among the most outstanding points, Cardinal João Bráz urged us to continue to make our own the proposal of ecclesial transformation of Pope Francis and to do so without fear, even if it is necessary to reformulate our mental schemes, old ways of living that have little or nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus and that are entrenched in consecrated life, and even pastoral structures that prevent us from going to the peripheries with simplicity and boldness, in the style of the apostles. Finally, before leaving, he blessed us and encouraged us to continue with the planned agenda and the work of these days of discernment and missionary projection.