Meeting of the Secretariat for Evangelization of the Conference of Europe

From left: Eric Corsius, Sr. Ulrike, MSSR, Fr. Pawel Dorbot, Fr. Miguel Castro

(Spain) The Secretariat for Evangelization of the CRE members met for the last time from 12 to 16 June. The participants were: Eric Corsius (Shared Mission), Sr. Ulrike, MSSR (Social Ministry), Fr. Pawel Drobot (Youth Ministry), Fr. Miguel Castro (New Mission Initiatives) and Fr. Giovanni Congiu, President of the Secretariat. Johannes Römelt, Coordinator of the Conference, made himself present by video call.

The meeting occurred in the Perpetual Help community of Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) where three Redemptorist missionaries work in the popular neighbourhood of Las Torres. They were days in which, in addition to working and evaluating, it was possible to share life and mission with the Community: prayer, celebrations, Eucharists, fraternity, and so on. There was also time to get to know the city’s rich religious and cultural heritage, visiting some interesting cellars where the art of Picasso and the beauty of the thoroughbred (of pure breed) horses of Jerez were exhibited.

The work of the Secretariat mainly consisted in sharing by each of the commissions the process experienced in these difficult years of the pandemic, even if what occupied most of our time was working and discussing the Final Document of Chapter XXVI General, in addition to what we find in the decisions and directives of the same. The goal was to be able to give our contribution to the Third Phase of the General Chapter, which will soon be held in the CRE.

Concern was expressed about the reception of the Shared Mission with the laity by the Redemptorists, about the increase of clericalism that is perceived in Europe, about the great humanitarian crises we are experiencing, about the identity crisis of the Redemptorists, about the new configuration in three zones of the CRE, for initial and ongoing formation for both lay and religious… However, we continue to dream and promote creativity with new initiatives, platforms or structures that help us work more united and more in synodality.

The challenges to be faced are: implementing the agreements of the Third Phase, bearing in mind the Pastoral Plan approved in the last six-year period; identifying well the places and peripheries where we can be Missionaries of Hope and those where we must experience “detachment” and take a step back; renew our missionary methods.

We dared to define and specify a little more what these “Missionary Workshops” could be like, which appear several times in the Chapter documents, and create a Team that rethinks and lives a new way of doing mission.

Finally, we evaluated these six years, marked by the pandemic and the preparation for the General Chapter. We positively evaluated all the contributions to the Assemblies of the CRE that the Secretariat has brought and the on-site meetings we have had in our respective Units, allowing us to understand better the difficult European reality. There was no shortage of meetings by areas we have held over the years: social, missionary, youth and with the laity, even if the initial strength has diminished over the years and with the ravages of the pandemic. Another difficulty we encountered was the lack of stability in the responsibilities that the members of the various commissions assumed at the start.

All in all, we thank God for what we have shared, experienced and reflected together on the implementation of evangelization in our complex Europe.

Miguel Castro Castro CSsR