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You are here:Home / Family News / NEF 2017 / Family News - May 14th, 2017 / Life of the Congregation (1)
May 13, 2017

Life of the Congregation (1)

The XXVIIth General Chapter, first act

Life of the Congregation (1)

Running, to embrace life’s call

«Our faith makes us leave our homes and go forth to encounter others, to share their joys, their hopes and their frustrations. Our faith, “calls us out of our house”, to visit the sick, the prisoner and to those who mourn. It makes us able to laugh with those who laugh, and rejoice with our neighbors who rejoice. Like Mary, we want to be a Church which serves, which leaves home and goes forth, which goes forth from its chapels, forth from its sacristies, in order to accompany life, to sustain hope, to be the sign of unity of a noble and worthy people. Like Mary, Mother of Charity, we want to be a Church which goes forth to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation.»

From the homily of the Holy Father,
Santiago de Cuba, 22 September 2015


The Chapter, day by day

6 May 2017 | Opening day of the XXVII General Chapter with the inauguration of the Retreat House in San Bernardino and the Eucharistic celebration

7 May | Day retreat on the “Good Shepherd” Sunday
We started with Sunday Mass at the Sanctuary of Caacupé, which is a shrine of Our Lady within the Diocese of Caacupé. The Mass (on the theme of the ‘Good Shepherd’) was celebrated by the Bishop Claudio Jimenez, with two Betharramite Bishops Emeritus (Mons. Claudio Silvero SCJ and Mons. Ignacio Gogorza SCJ), and thousands of pilgrims.
The retreat started on our return from Mass. The retreat was lead by Sr Maria del Carmen Barrios, she gently led us in a meditation on the Icon of the Visitation - ‘Running to embrace Life’s call’. After the first meditation we did some work privately on three areas; a cry for help, convictions and new life as Betharramites.
Our third meditation which was of great value to us was in language groups. We shared what blockages we experience as Betharramites in community life, our convictions and our way forward as Betharramites. We then shared this with the whole Chapter in the afternoon session.
Then Sister Maria Carmen gave us her meditation on the evangelical narrative of the Visitation, emphasizing the theme of fraternal encounter and promotion of human and Christian life in the Church and in our common home, the world.

8 May | Work group by Region
After Morning Prayer, it was the assembly work for the members of the Chapter. The coordinator presented guidelines for the day. We were invited to take a look of hope at the level of our vicariates by noting the concrete signs that show our desire to be at the service of life, while considering the resistance that we encounter. We began by a personal reflection, then we shared with the Vicariate. Each Vicariate had to report at the level of the Region.
We concluded the day with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Superior General, Fr. Gaspar Fernández Pérez SCJ.

9 May | The life of the Regions
The work of the General Chapter entered the lives of the individual Vicariates of the Regions.
We heard about the Vicariates of St Michael Garicoits Region. With the help of images, the chapter members travelled virtually along a journey that led them from France to Spain, from the Holy Land to Italy, from Ivory Coast to Central Africa.
Everyone has been able to know the reality of each Vicariate, noting that beside some wrinkle that appears on the face of the Congregation, we always come with a smile of joy, that does not give in.
We also heard from the Regional Superior of the St Michael Garicoïts Region, Fr. Jean-Luc Morin scj, to make an assessment of the overall situation of the Region.
The Eucharistic celebration ended the day, and was presided over by Fr. Tidkham Jailertrit SCJ, Regional Vicar of Thailand.

10 May | The life of the Regions (continuation)
The chapter listened to the life of the Betharramite Religious in the Region of Father Auguste Etchecopar. The Vicariate “Argentina-Uruguay” showed us how a collaboration with the laity allowed a great vitality despite the reduction of the number of the religious.
Paraguay told us that while renewing the management of the colleges, it manages to make new missionary choices, by opening a centre for drug addicts.
Brazil was able to leave parish structure enough to go to missionary places that were often neglected.
In the afternoon Fr. Gustavo Agin’s report informed us of his 6-year experience as Regional Superior.
We then went on to present the Vicariates of the Region of Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified. The England Vicariate told us how much it receives from the solidarity lived with India and Thailand. Thailand told us how much the missionary flame received from the elders remains very alive today. Fr. Austin Hughes, Regional Superior, made a synthesis with a report filled with hope without hiding the weaknesses.
In the early afternoon we welcomed Fathers Stervin and Biju Antony who come from India and Fr. Yesudas who comes from the new reality of Vietnam.
Our hearts united in sadness and prayer when Fr. Tiziano, Regional Vicar of the Central African Republic, told us about the violence that had caused so many victims in Niem (Central African Republic).
As we celebrated the Eucharist we remembered the Vicariates who shared their experiences with the Chapter. The Mass was presided by Fr. Jean Luc, Regional Superior of the Region “Saint Michael Garicoits”.

11 May | Report of the Superior General
Today, the General Chapter listened attentively to Rev Fr Gaspar SCJ, our Superior General. He shared honestly the movement of the Congregation in the three Regions.
Special mention was made on Formation and Community Life. He emphasised on the need to grasp, to pray and to put into practice the proper meaning of the ‘Rule of Life’ in our communities.
Fr Jean-Do shared with us the functioning of the commission appointed by the Superior General to Look at the possibilities of improving the patrimony of Betharram in France. Though it was considered something not so positive, slowly one could see the gradual success of the commission which bears fruit today.
Fr Graziano our General Bursar shared with us the patrimony and the General accounts of the Congregation, though there is a challenge for Region, Vicariate and Community to contribute, to share and to be faithful to the gifts that entrusted to us.
The day ended with the celebration of the Eucharist by Fr. Fulgencio SCJ.

12 May | The Preparatory Commission of the General Chapter presented a plan of the topics for reflection and sharing; Appointment of a Commission in charge of drawing up the Acts of the Chapter. Group Work in order to identify the issues for reflection.

13 May | In assembly: the groups present the outcome of their work. Assembly debate. Presentation of the Indian Vicariate (Region Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified).The Assembly will decide the topics on which the Chapter will have to work.

14 May | Solemnity of Saint Michael Garicoïts, our Founder
Solemn celebration in San José Parish; Festival at the Sports Centre Léon Condou; Sharing with the lay associates of the three Vicariates of the Region; Message of Fr. Gaspar; Lay associates; power point presentation of the Congregation; sharing; closing prayer based on the Magnificat; Back to San Bernardino.

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