An online Family Gathering

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Partners in Mission (PIM) from throughout North America discussed selections from the Gospel and Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti through the lens of Redemptorist spirituality during the Fall Retreat on October 15- 16. Months in the planning, the retreat was the very first online webinar hosted by the North American Conference Secretariat for PIM.

“A total of 141 people registered for the retreat, which spanned five-and-a-half time zones and was facilitated in four languages,” explained Fr. Greg May, host of the retreat. “There were a lot of moving parts, so it took a concerted group effort to ensure the success of the retreat.”

Panellists included: Fr. Jack Kingsbury, North American Conference Coordinator; Anne Walsh, PIM Coordinator for the North American Conference and retreat presenter; Fr. Francis Gargani, Co-Chair for the PIM Secretariat and retreat presenter; and Wendy Barnes, Co-Chair for the PIM Secretariat and co-host.

In addition to Fr. Jack, group leaders included: Lucy McNamara, Lesia Sianchuk, Diana Davenport, Wendy Barnes, Fr. Dominic Bao Tran and Br. Antonio Montoya. Fr. Dominic translated for the Vietnamese, Br. Antonio translated for the Spanish, and Monique Martin translated for the French.

Featuring a “Catch the Dream” theme, the retreat format included three sessions: “The World is My Neighbour,” “Your Wounds are My Wounds,” and “Co-Redeeming God’s New World.” Each hour-and-a-half presentation was followed by small group discussions. Participants then returned to the webinar, and each small group leader shared thoughts discussed by their group.

“The message of the 25th General Chapter – WITNESSES OF THE REDEEMER: In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World – invites us to develop a listening attitude and be attentive to the wounds we encounter, which will enable us to heal our own wounds,” Anne explained. “The amount of suffering in the world can feel overwhelming. We may be afraid to touch the wounded because we may be afraid to examine our own wounds, which isn’t pleasant. We are invited to a life-long process of formation and conversion, which requires us to see ourselves not only as wounded, but also as redeemed.”

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis illustrates the way to rebuild our wounded world with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. “The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject a society of exclusion and act instead as neighbors – lifting up the fallen for the sake of the common good. This is our mission as Redemptorists and PIM,” Fr. Francis said. “We were created for a fulfillment that can only be found in love. We cannot be indifferent to suffering. We should feel indignant, challenged by our contact with human suffering.”

Collaboration with the laity is a sign of the times and a clear manifestation of the action of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Francis said. “We are discovering that the charism of an institute doesn’t belong exclusively to the institute. Charisms are gifts of the Spirit to the Church and the whole world, to be poured out in mission. The Redemptorists aren’t opening the door to the laity; the Holy Spirit is opening the door.”

Early leaders – both Redemptorists and lay leaders from the time of St. Clement Hofbauer – have brought us to this moment, he said. “Our baptismal identity makes all the difference. A lay missionary is one concrete expression of the vision of Vatican II, and the PIM movement is the Spirit’s movement to make the Church a beacon of hope and light. Vowed religious are so enriched by the laity, and we rejoice and pray that you are equally enriched by the missionary dynamism that courses through our veins. You have called us to a renewed vision of this rich gift
of Alphonsian spirituality and vision that propels us forward to bring Christ’s redeeming passion to our wounded world.”

Participants look forward to more group gatherings to strengthen communication and build relationships. Check the North American PIM website – CSsR.net – to view sponsored retreats and a host of other material related to PIM.

Submitted by Kristine Stremel, with contributions from Anne Walsh and Fr. Greg May
Photos submitted by John Davenport

Courtesy: Denverlink, Update 29.10.2021

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