From November 2-4, 2023, the members of the General Secretariat for Evangelization (Fr. Nicolas Ayouba, CSsR, Fr. Tadhg Herbert, CSsR, Fr. Joterio Aghoja, CSsR, Fr. John Fahey Guerra, CSsR, Fr. Ino Cueto, CSsR, Fr. Javier Machado, CSsR, and Fr. Cristian Bueno, CSsR, Executive Secretary) met with the Chairs of the General Commissions that work under its umbrella– Noel Sottima, CSsR (Commission for Africa and Madagascar), Fr. Pawel Drobot, CSsR (Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry), Anne Walsh (Commission for Partnership in Mission) and the Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (of which Fr. Cristian Bueno, Executive Secretary, is also Chair). The meetings took place at the Offices of the General Curia in Rome. Several members of the General Commission for RYVM were also present.
After an orientation by Fr. Cristian and a video message from Fr. Rogerio Gomes, CSsR, Superior General, the first morning was dedicated to a retreat led by Fr Vimal Tirimanna C.Ss.R. from Sri Lanka, who has been involved in the synodal process as a theologian from the beginning. This retreat served as a spiritual refreshment as well as an orientation to the work set before the Secretariat. The accompaniment and input of Fr. Vimal was deeply appreciated by all those present, especially given its timing, within a week of the close of the October 2023 sitting of the Synod on Synodality. Fr. Vimal focused on the themes emerging from the Synod that are near and dear to the hearts of our Redemptorist Family—accompaniment of the most abandoned, inclusion, the proclamation of plentiful redemption, and the call of all the baptized to participation.
Fr. Cristian then led those present through a review of the work plan of the General Secretariat for Evangelization, after which the Chairs of the General Commissions presented the work plans for each commission. There was time for discussion, questions, and clarifications after each presentation. These presentations offered a wonderful opportunity for people to get to know each other better, and to clarify the scope and breadth of the mandate and work of the Secretariat for Evangelization and its Commissions.
The Secretariat for Evangelization has understood itself as an organ of assistance and collaboration with the General Government of the Congregation in matters related to evangelization. Therefore, it does not act independently, but under the direct guidance and coordination of the General Government through one of its consultors.
The general objective of the Secretariat for Evangelization is to assist the General Government in promoting the mission entrusted to the Congregation, that is the evangelization of the poor, which includes the liberation and salvation of the whole human person (Const. 5) and fostering the conditions for life in abundance to emerge in the whole created world.
Specific objectives set for this current sexennium include:
- The Secretariat for Evangelization promotes the reimagining of a Redemptorist identity that can respond to the reality of the present time. To this end, it generates exercises of reflection and articulation of the evangelizing work of Redemptorists in today’s world and strives to generate formative and reflective resources in this field for the entire Redemptorist family’;
- To facilitate the sharing of missionary and formation experiences among the different Units’
- To promote and facilitate the exchange of personnel and resources to respond to the most urgent pastoral needs;
- To foster a new missionary awareness in the Congregation in relation to the Shared Mission with the laity and Redemptorist Youth and Vocational Ministry’
- To promote greater awareness in the Congregation about Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation, especially in the field of social ministry’
- Promote awareness of Africa and Madagascar as a priority of the Congregation.
Areas of interest of the Secretariat include:
- Ordinary Pastoral Ministry (Parishes and Shrines) / Extraordinary / Peripheral Missions;
- The phenomenon of human mobility and the pastoral care of immigrants;
- Youth vocational ministry;
- Interfaith and interreligious dialogue;
- Justice, peace and care for creation;
- The Redemptorist Mission in Africa and Madagascar; and
- Partnership in Mission with the laity.
The meeting has a very positive tone, and discussion was lively and very productive. We look forward to deepening our relationships, to continuing our work together, and providing a service to the entire Redemptorist Family.