Nemi, Italy. August 18, 2021. At 7:30 a.m., with the prayer of Lauds led by the USA-CANADA Province, the third and last day of the Retreat of our General Chapter began. As we recited and listened to the Word of God, we were grateful for the presence of the three members of the Province of Brazil, who had arrived last night in Italy and were already present in this chapter house in Nemi. In the afternoon, Juan Carlos Bartra, the Provincial of Peru-Bolivia, who has been in quarantine in the house for the past three days, joined us for vespers. In the evening, the Provincial of Colombia-Venezuela, Armando Valencia, arrived from Medellin. Little by little, the number of capitulars is being completed; only our brothers from India and Sri Lanka are absent. We hope that they will be able to join us in the next few days.
In the morning, we were between Emmaus and Jerusalem: we went from the amazement of discovering that the wanderer who broke bread with us was the Lord, to the desire to return to the community to announce that the glory of the Risen Lord had unexpectedly become present and that new paths of discipleship were opening up before us. The seed of the Word, deposited in our hearts full of dreams, fructifies in a congregational community that advances and takes shape in the desire to build a renewed Church, dreaming and ready to witness the living presence of the Risen One. Seeds of the Word that, on the other hand, we are called to discover everywhere; dreams that we are invited to make a reality in missionary fraternity and in shared mission.
The afternoon work session, also guided by the facilitators, Jolanta and Paulson, put us on the track of the search for first conclusions, that is, we were invited to make the leap to the concrete; to what, beyond the spiritual experience of these first three days, will be the focus of our attention from tomorrow. To do this, there is nothing better than evocative language. Gathered in groups, we synthesized the experience of the retreat days into a symbol that would express the yearnings and searches intuited in these first steps of the Chapter discernment.