The Members of the Roman province gathered for their annual assembly at San Gioacchino on the 14th of November, 2023. The Assembly is to be conducted in two places so that all the confreres can attend the Assembly, at San Gioacchino in Rome on the 14th of November and at Bussolengo on the 16th of November 2023.
The Assembly meeting at San Gioacchino was attended by 20 confreres of the province along with three lay partners in mission. Fr. Antonio Cirulli, C.SS.R, the Provincial Superior, welcomed the confreres and lay partners and spelt out the purpose of the Assembly as the last meeting of the confreres as a Province ahead of the forthcoming formation of the new Province of Europe South. The Assembly would reflect on the history of the province, while acknowledging the present reality and yet looking forward to the future reconfiguration with hope.
Fr. Vincenzo M. La Mendola, C.SS.R presented a synthesis of the history of the Roman Province in a chronological manner in the life of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. This synthesis was in 4 main parts: 1. The Redemptorists in the Pontifical State (1755-1840); 2. The First Phase, from the Foundation of the Roman Province until the suppression and reorganisation (1841-1887); 3. The Second Phase, From the Reorganisation until Vatican II (1887-1964); 4. The Third Phase, The Post Conciliar Years (1975-2023). The presentation also reflected on the many confreres who have left their mark as Missionaries in the Pastoral field, in the service of the ministry of Reconciliation and Spiritual Direction, The Apostolate of the Pen, in the service of Formation and Education and finally highlighting the work of confreres who continue till this day to be active missionaries in various apostolates including a passion for music.
The next session was a reflection by Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.SS.R, General Consultor, who began with a presentation on the actual situation of Reconfiguration in the Congregation, showing the various models at work in the Conferences of South America, North America, Africa, Asia and Europe. He then invited the confreres to a reflection first on the fact that Restructuring and Reconfiguration is always for Mission as evidenced in many ways with different examples in the life of the Congregation, especially since the promulgation of the New Constitutions and Statutes. He then spelt out the possible fears and challenges that are normal and human in the process of Restructuring and Reconfiguration for Mission, indicating many of the fears and challenges each confrere and community goes through in this process. At the same time, while we are all invited to own these fears and challenges, he invited the confreres to reflect on the rich history of Restructuring and Reconfiguration for mission in the life of the Church from its earliest years until Vatican II and till this day, the interesting history of Restructuring and Reconfiguration for mission in the life of the Congregation through the two Divisions and reunifications as well as the reform after Vatican II with the new Constitutions and Statutes. Stressing that all of this is at the service of the mission of the Congregation, he invited the confreres to look ahead with faith and trust in the power of grace and the work of the Spirit of the Risen Lord in the Church, in the Congregation, in each community, in each confrere and lay partner, in the people of God, as well as in the General Government. He emphasised that the General Government with the Coordinator of the Conference, will closely accompany the newly formed province in the years ahead.
At the celebration of the Eucharist, the assembly thanked the Lord for the departed confreres and their immense contribution to the life of the Congregation and the province. After a festive lunch, the confreres gathered to listen to a presentation by Fr Antonio Cirulli, the Provincial Superior, on his reflections after his visitation of the communities of the Province on Community life. This was followed by an hour of questions, clarifications, and interventions where confreres freely expressed their hopes and aspirations for the future. The Assembly concluded with the Salve Regina and a blessing from Fr Mendanha, followed by a toast celebrating the past and present of the Roman Province and looking ahead with hope to the future.
A similar Assembly meeting will be held on the 16th of November at Bussolengo for the rest of the confreres who were not able to attend the meeting in Rome.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.