IMG_4714Meeting of the New Visitors of the Congregation of the Mission

 Today, January 11th at Maria Imaculada (the house of the Daughters of Charity in Rome), the meeting of the new Visitors began (this meeting will continue until January 20th).  This gathering has been organized by Father General and his Council and coordinated by Father Stanislav Zontak (Assistant General) and Giuseppe Turati (Secretary General).

The participants in this gathering include the Visitors from Argentina, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cameroon, Central America, the Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Salamanca (Spain).

The meeting began with the celebration of the Eucharist that was presided by Father Gregory Gay, Superior General.  In his homily Father invited the Visitors to be attentive listeners since it is this quality that will enable them to draw closer to the reality of the confreres.  He stated: It is important that you listen to the confreres, listen with your ears and your heart.  It is equally important that you view situations from the perspective of the poor.  In this regard, Father General invited the Visitors to continually ask themselves: Lord, if you were in my place, what your you say or what would you do on this occasion?

He reminded the Visitors that to view situations from the perspective of the poor would enable them to be more merciful and more understanding of the confreres.  He emphasized the fact that the Visitor has to be a leader and a member, a father and brother, a teacher of the faith and a fellow disciple of Christ, one who promotes the perfection of the confreres and a true witness of holiness (a clear reference to the Practical Guide for Visitors).

This morning’s work began with a presentation from each of the Visitors, a time which enabled the Visitors to speak about the reality of their respective provinces: the number of confreres, the median age, the number of candidates in formation, the number of houses, etc.  This brief presentation proclaimed good news, namely, the establishment of the reconfigured Provinces in Italy and France (January 25th) and the establishment of the Vice-Province of Cameroon on February 7.

These presentations were followed by a time for reflection.  One of the Assistant Generals offered some thoughts on: Consecrated Life today, Challenges and Perspectives.  During that presentation Father Chaves stated that the present situation of Consecrated Life helps us all contextualize and enlighten our ministry of animation and government as Visitors.  Then, Father Javier Álvarez, Vicar-General, offered some reflections on the theme: The Present and the Proximate future of the Congregation of the Mission.  He provided the participants with [1] an overview of the situation of the Congregation, [2] the manner in which reconfiguration is changing the face of the Congregation and [3] the manner in which the structures and the lifestyle of the Congregation is changing.  Father concluded by presenting four questions that in turn become challenges for the present day life of the Congregation