Accompanying the chapter …

12 September 2021

The four weeks of the XXVI General Chapter of our brothers, Claretian Missionaries are coming to an end. It has been a process of narrative, synodal and appreciative dynamics. The 78 chapter members have been involved in a process called the “Fifth conversation”. It was a culmination of a developed steps that have been done for more than a year and in which all the communities have participated.  The new paradigm of the chapter process made in synodality, based on spiritual and fraternal search and consensus, was realised and put into practice in four stages.

We were two facilitators, Fr Paulson Velliannoor, cmf from India, currently on the Forge team in Spain, and myself. Once approved by the chapter, our role was to collaborate with the Presiding table and contribute to achieving the objectives of the chapter as broadly designed in in the joined preparation in the preceding months. To encourage the participation and involvement of all, offering dynamics and instruments as well as moments of evaluation and pulse-taking. We have alternated times of group activities and prayerful reflection.

The days passed with an intense rhythm: daily prayer, group work, chapter hall gathering, formal and informal conversations, even the daily space of sport. Taking care of the spirit of discernment, each day, the facilitators were summoned to the meeting with the Presiding table to carefully evaluate the chapter process.

I experienced the missionary and endearing fraternity, which respectfully embraces the diversity present in so many dimensions ready to be questioned by one another.

A great discovery was the strength with which the missionary community emerged as a space for life and apostolic discernment. It was vital to know, through reports and testimonies, the enormous treasure of service to the Gospel that the sister Congregation carries out. Although it may seem contradictory, it has also been important to know the fragilities that are present and require greater care because the Life may continue to emerge. I was very motivated to perceive the creative missionary zeal, which wants to be evangelically audacious; the ever challenging horizon of the transformation of the world in the spirit of the current calls of the Church. I felt as a family, united in the same spirit of Claret, strongly marked by the love of the Word, always present in the work of the Chapter, and the Eucharistic character of celebration and sharing. It is a richness for our Congregation and for the whole Claretian family. I feel a profound harmony in the searching and, saving the proportions, in our ardour to look for new answers to what the Church and humanity are living in the world.

A special moment was the meeting with the Holy Father in which the Claretian missionaries felt confirmed in the path discerned in the Chapter. I feel very grateful to God and to the brothers for the trust placed in me and in general in our task of facilitators.

I am grateful for the support and prayers of the sisters, for making it possible to combine this service with other tasks; let us continue to treasure the deep inspirations that unite us.

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.