Nemi. Italy. August 19, 2021. Still savoring the echoes of the three days of retreat, the Chapter Assembly enters a new stage: that of discovery. We do not want to analyze without further ado the successes and failures of the Congregation’s journey over the past six years. We want to open our eyes to discover the life that has been opening among us, sometimes with great difficulty but always with great hope. Eyes of a sentinel who watches, of a child who is amazed, of God who creates and recreates.
After the Eucharist, which we celebrated first thing in the morning in French, English, and Spanish, we spent the rest of the morning reviewing, with the help of Fr. Joseba Kamiruaga, Secretary General in the last five years, the global data of the Congregation and the most relevant statistics about our life and mission. All the groups highlighted the meticulousness and the good work done in the preparation of the report and pointed out in the classroom those aspects that had been most striking or that would require further clarification. Also, the working commissions and other responsibilities within the Chapter were already configured, namely: the Moderators, who will be Fr. Rosendo Urrabazo (USA-Canada) and Fr. Callistus Joseph; the Central Drafting Commission, composed by Fr. Pedro Belderrain (Santiago), Fr. José Cristo Rey García Paredes (Santiago), Fr. Carlos Sánchez Miranda (CESC), Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh (Cameroon) and Fr. Michael Plamparambil (Bangalore); the Economic Commission, with a representative from each conference, Fr. Josué Gonzalez Jaramillo (MICLA), Fr. Daniel Onyeayana (ACLA), Fr. Alberto Rossa (ASCLA EAST), Fr. Antonio Bellella (ECLA) and Jose Thempillil (ASCLA WEST); the Minutes Revision Commission, formed by Fr. Antonio Bellella (Santiago), Fr. Mario Gutiérrez (San José del Sur) and Fr. Pedro Cabrera (Fátima), and the Commission for Miscellaneous Matters, in which Fr. Elias Jr Ayuban (Philippines), Fr. Teodoro Bahillo (Santiago) and Fr. Alejandro Cerón (Mexico) will collaborate. We thank them in advance for their generous contribution to the smooth running of our General Chapter.
With a broader and more informed look at our current situation, our Chapter Assembly began during the afternoon to review the broad outlines of the missionary project we have been developing. The 2015 General Chapter decided to propose to each Claretian and to each community an itinerary of conversion through three processes of transformation: today we have stopped to consider the first of these, the one that urges us to be ever more intensely a “Congregation going forth” (Missionari sumus 66-68). This is not a new challenge, but it is a pressing one in our day: in the face of accommodating and self-referential attitudes, the Lord calls us to go out to the frontiers. To be truly evangelical, our apostolate cannot renounce reaching the human peripheries of all kinds; to be truly fruitful, our vocational experience cannot be limited to ourselves, but we must accompany and encourage that of the youth around us. To what extent has this process of transformation generated life among us? What are our fruits in this first great endeavor? What is distancing us from the missionary dream of Claret for all men, the one that burned him with all his heart?
He who called us to take the bundle and go out to the crossroads, continues at the door of our house, waiting for us with his tenderness when we come tired and burdened, and encouraging us with his strength in the tussle of the mission. Here we go, Lord! Trusting in your Word. To every corner. On every path.