The last day of the Congress

7 November 2021

The scene of the previous days was repeated. As the participants connect to the meeting, they greet each other in different ways: good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night!

Hardly anyone is surprised anymore to hear such different phrases. Almost all the participants (at various times during these days more than two hundred and fifty) know that there are those who connect from India, Sri Lanka or the Philippines while others connect from Colombia, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe or Congo. The official European time indicated in the program is only an indicator.

As on Day 2, also today Luis Rodríguez Huertas, Lay Claretian and former student of a Claretian school, introduces the different moments of the day and gives the floor. From minute zero the program exudes joy and gratitude. Luis invites us to share reasons for gratitude in the chat and to initiate different ways of evaluation: what has enriched us the most during these days, what do we commit ourselves to, what seems to us the most important of what we have learned or shared?

Participants share their impressions in the chat, so that everyone can read each other’s contribution. The four languages of the Congress are used: French, Portuguese, English and Spanish. More than forty minutes of work in linguistic groups prolongs the sharing. We are all learning: the secretaries who cannot make themselves understood in one way try another. In many parts of the world the internet connection does not allow for great luxuries.

Today, Saturday, the images still show offices and school buildings, but suggest that many educators have connected from home. Some are attending to their children while attentively following the meeting.

After a quite lively sharing, Luis Rodriguez surprises us again. Antonio Pascual, teacher of first letters of St. Anthony Mary Claret, today he brings to the Congress his own mother, Mrs. María Amparo, symbolizing in her all the persons who have sent and send their sons and daughters to a Claretian school. The simplicity of her words and her testimony impresses the congress participants and makes the families, so involved in the Claretian education, very present.

After some secretarial announcements and the announcement of the congress that the Claretian Family of America will celebrate in 2022, several members of the central organizing commission of this IV Congress take the floor and thank all those who have allowed the celebration of the Congress. The list would be endless; it includes the translators, those in charge of presentations and workshops, those who have animated the prayer, taken care of the economy or assumed extra tasks in the centres and homes so that someone could join the Congress. But gratitude is directed above all to Jesus, Master par excellence, and to God the Father, center and motor of the life of Claret.

Luis Rodríguez addressed some last words of gratitude to the educators, which touched many congress participants and made faces and names present again. Already on day 2, the participants remembered many companions in the educational task (living and deceased) who have impressed them by their commitment and commended with gratitude the members of the great Claretian educational community who died because of covid-19.

A beautiful prayer, directed today in Italian, which includes a moment of dance, prayer and missionary sending forth from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, frames the sending forth of the congress participants to their schools and places of mission: ‘go back, continue to announce with coherence of life and joy all that you have received’. Until the V Congress! The suggestions that will be collected in the evaluations that the participants will fill out in the next few days will help to set the date, place, modality and content.

Celebration of the XVIII General Chapter from 6th to 31th July at Rocca di Papa (Italy)