From June 29th to July 5th, 2015, 21 of the newly elected (Vice) Provincial Superiors of latin language Units of the Congregation and the Coordinator of the Conference for Latin America and Caribbean took part in a meeting with the General Council. The meeting began on Monday 20th June in Rome and was full of information regarding financial issues, the work of the Commission for Economic Solidarity, about the Alphonsian Academy, the Collegio Maggiore, the work of the General Postulator, the Historical Institute, the General Archive and the General Secretariat. Whilst in Rome from 27 to 28 June the Superiors took part in the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and in the inauguration of the Jubilee Year for the 150th of the presence of the Icon of Perpetual Help among the Redemptorists. On Tuesday the 30th we went to Scala, Pagani and Materdomini where the meeting continued until July 5th when the meeting finished and we all returned to Rome.
PARTICIPANTS. There were 3 Superiors from the Conference for Europe (Naples, Madrid, France Provinces); 2 from the Conference for Africa (Angola and Madagascar), 9 Superiors from Brazil (who were all new superiors) and 7 from Latin America. Father General and the General Councillors took an active part in the meeting.
FRATERNAL ATMOPHERE. The atmosphere of the meeting was very good, joyful, with fraternal sharing, there were many opportunities for dialogue and sharing of different experiences. There was a lot of information given with moments for dialogue about different experiences of governance and life in the (Vice)Provinces. There was also the opportunity to reflect and to dialogue about different proposals and ideas.
PRAYER. There was daily Eucharist in the Sanctuary near the tomb of St. Gerard in Materdomini as well times of fraternal prayer in small groups.
Below is a list of the principal issues that we discussed:
Leadership, Mission and the Ministry of Authority in the Congregation. The Superior and his Council.
Vision and Mission in the (Vice)Provincial Governments and the Provinces. The principles of Government in the Congregation. The role of the (Vice)Provincial Council. Provincial Chapter.
The Project of the Provincial Government for the next 4 years; Projects of Community life; Pastoral Priorities; Provincial Apostolates; Visits to the Communities; (Vice)Provincial Secretariats
The restructuring process. Conferences and sub-conferences. The role of the Conference Coordinators
Financial and administrative issues. The General Solidarity Fund. The Fund for Africa and Madagascar. The work of the Commission for Economic Solidarity.
The Directory of Superiors.
Initial and ongoing formation in the Congregation.
Issues about confreres with some problems. Different actions. Sexual abuse, financial abuse and the abuse of authority. Policies, “good practices”, protocols of action and pastoral protection of children and vulnerable people..
Preparation of the 25° General Chapter.
The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Redemptorists receiving the icon of Our Lady Perpetual Help.
The Office of the Communication in the Congregation.
This was also a time for reflection on the meaning of Redemptorist consecrated life.
It was a very intense program, but well prepared and it was an opportunity for us to once again get in touch with the origins of the Congregation. We visited Scala (the “cave” of St. Alphonsus, the Community House, the Casa Anastasio and the monastery of the Redemptorists nuns). We celebrated the Eucharist in Pagani near the tomb of St. Alphonsus and visited the Alphonsian museum. On Sunday, July 5th, we celebrated the Eucharistic in Ciorani, the Head House of the Congregation. We saw the Chapter Room where the first General Chapters of the Congregation took place and it was here that we renewed our vows, also visiting the Alphonsian museum here. Then we went to Marianela (Naples), where St. Alphonsus born. The confreres left these places very happy with the promise to carry out the mission of the Congregation and to support each other in difficult situations, where sometimes there is ambiguity, uncertainty and solitude.
Enrique Lopez C.Ss.R.