(Kerala, India) The first session of the General Assembly of the Liguori Province for this quadrennium took off to a pleasant start with the inaugural Holy Mass by the Ordinary Provincial Council on 28-1-2020 at Redemptorist Renewal Centre, Kottayam, Kerala. In his inaugural address Rev. Fr. Biju Madathikunnel, the Provincial Superior pointed out to us, the three challenges on Leadership, community life and structural crisis which permeates the congregation as well the society today. So we are to revive our ‘Vita Apostolica,’ because the changes that took place in last three years is bigger than the last thirty years, the same in the last thirty years is more than the changes that took place in last three centuries. Therefore, we need to look at the future of the Church and congregation in our discussions.
The inaugural address was followed by the lighting of the lamps and then Rev. Fr. Brenden Kelly, the Secretary-General of the Congregation took over.
In the first hour of the Assembly Fr. Brenden shared his views on the Redemptorist Missionary Life. He guided us through the Constitutions to show us that we are to love God and men in and through the congregation to fulfil our vocation. His questions challenged the group to reflect upon our community life.
He posed the following questions,
Do people see us different from secular clergy?
Are we sufficiently close to the people of God today?
Do we care enough for the confreres who are wounded?
Are we Compassionate like the Heavenly Father whose solidarity has no limits?
He then guided us to a group sharing on two questions,
1. What do we mean by Gospel Friendship?
2. What are the obstacles hinder us from this Gospel Friendship in our communities?
35 confreres in five groups discussed these questions elaborately and shared the answers in the larger circle.
In the afternoon he posed another question, How do we overcome these obstacles as a community and as a Province? The sessions of the day concluded with the evening prayer.
The following days will see discussions on ‘The Relevance of Alphonsus today, the growing concerns and approaches in Indian socio-political scenario’ etc. These sessions will be guided by Rev. Fr. Edward Raju, the Provincial Superior of the Province of Bangalore.
Fr. Brenden will continue to moderate the topics on ‘What image of consecrated Life should we present today,’ How do we re-image our vows of Poverty, Chastity, the obedience of Perseverance? How do we understand these vows in Indian Context? Can we think of a better term that captures the meaning of our vows in the world today?
The General Assembly will conclude on 31st January. The final days’ discussions will be based on the reports on the State of the Province and the future plans of the Provincial Government.