Nemi, Italy. August 26, 2021. There is much to be gained if we allow the living space to unveil its mysteries that are often hidden from view. Just today we commemorate one hundred and sixty years of one of those mysteries that our Father Founder lived, the “great grace”, the experience granted to him by the Lord in the twilight of his earthly life as the culmination of having lived for a long time the meaning of the Eucharist.
And so we begin the day, thankful for so many gifts: the passing of our brother Fr. Rafael Maria Serra Bove, cmf (Sanctus Paulus), so special for his hard work as postulator of the cause for the beatification of our martyrs; the gift of life granted to our brother Fr. Juan Carlos Bartra, cmf (major superior of Peru-Bolivia); the joy of our Polish confreres who celebrate today the Virgin of Czętochowa and, finally, for the gift of concluding today the first part of this Chapter journey, that discovery that helps us to be in tune with the wayfarers accompanied by Jesus.
Once in the chapter hall, we welcomed our brothers from India, who were undergoing prescriptive quarantine. Seated at the president’s table were the capitular president, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, cmf, the vice-president, Fr. Gonzalo Fernández, cmf, and the secretary, Fr. Joseba Kamiruaga, cmf, who presented various aspects of government during this sexennium, namely: the reorganization of the Congregation, formation for the universal mission, interculturality in the Congregation and the themes developed by the precapitular commissions, such as the inter-congregational mission in Madagascar, the interprovincial missions, among others.
In the second part of the morning, the General Government responded to the questions that the chapter assembly considered appropriate after having lived the evaluative phase of the chapter. In addition, each member of the General Government shared some of their most significant experiences during this six-year period, among which stood out the love for the Congregation, the deepening of trust and availability to place themselves in God’s hands, the opportunity to know and accompany the confreres in the peripheries, the transition of living the mission from a local to a universal perspective, the realization that our Lord is the God of opportunities and of being able to recognize themselves as different and capable of working as a team. They also emphasized that they were able to contemplate the beauty of the Congregation and to give less importance to works and more to people.
Recalling his experience as Superior General, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam noted that
“Being able to serve the Congregation has allowed me to feel like a disciple of the Holy Spirit. Suffering and love go hand in hand. Our suffering is little when we see what our confreres are going through in painful situations and, thus, we learn to love our Congregation more. Without being rooted in the love of the Lord we cannot discern and accompany our brothers. The beauty of our mission is to give our lives for our brothers and sisters in the peripheries”.
Then, the last moments of the morning were dedicated to a summary and evaluation of the first stage that was concluding, pointing out the most salient aspects of the synodal, narrative, and appreciative method.
The first part of the afternoon was filled with encounters, virtual for obvious circumstances, between sisters and brothers of the different branches of the Claretian Family. From different latitudes we linked up to share the feelings and the longings of the journey we have walked and still must walk.
Joining the meeting were [https://youtu.be/NWTBN_Oz9b4]Maria del Mar Álvarez (General Director of Cordimarian Filiation); Sr. Priscilla Latella and Sr. Cristina Ruberte (General Councilors of the Religious of Mary Immaculate – Claretian Missionary Sisters); Miguel Ánguel Sosa (General Secretary of Lay Claretians); Sr. Dulcinea Ribero and Sr. Maria Fatima Naves (general superior and councilor of the Missionaries of St. Anthony Mary Claret); María Gracia Barquero (general superior of the Missionaries of the Claretian Institution); Sr. María Ciprian, Dania Alejandra Velázquez and Carmen Martínez (superior and councilors of the Cordimarian Missionaries) and Sr. Natividad (superior of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate). They all urged us to continue to be daring in order to love boldly; to care especially for the poor; to form a civic conscience in social friendship and political responsibility; to dream in the key of family the gift that has been bequeathed to us; to be a seed of hope in a hopeless world, multiplying evangelizers who transmit the Gospel and to be builders of the Kingdom by transforming unjust structures, denouncing but with a spirit of conversion, without shirking our own responsibilities.
Finally, we closed the day celebrating the Eucharist [https://youtu.be/ByjueTzVpWA] animated by our confreres of the Province of Brazil and presided over by Monsignor Luis Ángel de las Heras Berzal, cmf who invited us to
“Let us recreate, then, the ‘mission’ with the whole Church, people of fraternity and of the way, which has to come ever closer to the Kingdom of God and his Samaritan justice and has to distance itself relentlessly from the tyrannies of division, oppression, shadow and death”.