Meeting of the Superior General and the General Consultors with the Provincial Superiors 18/05/15

Warsaw, 18 May 2015
House of hospitality and Welcome of the Barnabites

Meeting of the Superior General and the General Consultors
with the Provincial Superiors, the Vice-Provincials and the Delegates

Summary of the First Day Monday 18 May 2015

11227656_847169432014740_7691296879266319447_nAt the welcoming house of the Barnabite religious of Warsaw (Poland) on Sunday afternoon we came together for the by now customary but increasingly important and determining annual meeting of the Superior General and the General Consultors with the Major Superiors of the Order (cf. list of participants).

At the outset let we expressed feelings of gratitude to our religious brothers of the Camillian Province of Poland for their welcome and applauded their excellent scheduling of things and organisation.

The Superior General, together with Fr. Gianfranco Lunardon, had already had an opportunity to meet the communities and our religious brothers and to learn about their ministerial activities on 13-18 May – days that were dedicated to paying a fraternal visit to the Province of Poland.

The chairman of the day of the assembly of Monday 18 May was Fr. Aris Miranda, the General Consultor for Ministry.

  The meeting, after an introductory prayer, was inaugurated by Fr. Leocir Pessini with his introductory message in which he summarised the brief history of the pathway that had led our Order to elect the new general government of the Order at the Extraordinary General Chapter of June 2014. The message of Fr. Leocir was a message of hope which took up some provocations of Pope Francis to consecrated men and women: ‘You do not only have a glorious history to remember, but also a great history to build! Look to the future, into which the Spirit projects you to do even greater things!’

In order to be continuators of this history, as Camillians, prudence, courage and prophecy are the essential ingredients of the pathway, without which we cannot project ourselves towards the future with hope, taking upon ourselves with responsibility the heritage of holiness of those who have preceded us and who worthily transmitted such holiness to us.

11255175_847169285348088_9101595663984844122_n   With respect to our Camillian history, which reveals to us ‘our charismatic identity as an Order’, basing ourselves on this ecclesial perspective we are asked to ‘look to the future with gratitude, to live the present with passion – and we would add to serve with Samaritan compassion – ‘and to embrace the future with hope’. In this approach to, and vision of, time as a Kairos of God (a time of grace) Pope Francis invites us to walk, directing ourselves together towards the emergent and urgent priorities that were defined by the Camillian project for the revitalisation of our Camillian consecrated lives, a project that was approved by the whole of the Order at the recent Extraordinary General Chapter. There are three areas that are priorities at the level of government for this six-year period of 2014-2020.

  1. Transparency and economic organisation, above all at the generalate house and the institutions connected with it (the Camillianum, the Rebuschini House).
  2. Formation and the promotion of vocations. The aim is to implement the formation of future religious, the formation of those who provide formation, and strategies for the ‘throwing out of nets’ for new Camillian vocations. Here our very existence in the future is at stake. The recent Extraordinary General Chapter asked for an updating of the ‘Rules for Formation’ of our Order. This is a task that should be begun as soon as the membership of the Central Commission for Formation has been decided upon.
  3. Communication. We humans are essentially beings of communication! This is a vital area for the construction of communion and the nourishment of fraternal relationships. The professionalization of this sector, like the creation of an Office for Communications at the generalate house, as in Provinces, Vice-Provinces and Delegations, is an initiative that should be taken seriously. The publication of a newsletter with the principal news of the Order in a certain sense fills a gap that exists and meets the widespread wish to know about, and to communicate, the facts and events that tell the story of the vitality of our Order.

The programme that we will follow at this annual appointment in Warsaw is substantially organised around the three priorities that we received from the Extraordinary General Chapter of June 2014. This is a ‘first report’ that we offer to the Order, listing the initiatives that are being developed, reporting their results, the points of strength, and the problems and the prospects for hope that await us. At this meeting each General Consultor as regards his own specific area of responsibility, will describe the needs and the initiatives that should be engaged in during this not six but five years given that one year has already passed quickly!

5     In the planning of this international meeting of ours, especial attention was paid to pilgrimage (not a mere touristic trip, as one could hurriedly think and/or understand). We will visit the important places in the life of John Paul II (Krakow, Wadowice and Czestochowa) as well as the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. This pilgrimage in reality seeks to be a spiritual experience and an integral part of our meeting: not only reports and discussions in the hall but also an exercise by which to learn to walk, to reflect and to pray together!

Starting with a strong request that had already emerged in the General Chapter about the need for a greater presence of the Superior General amongst our religious brothers and the communities of the Order and the achievement of greater learning about each other in loco, during this first year we have tried to be more present through ‘fraternal visits’ in many areas of the Camillian world. We need to rediscover and live the theology of encounter, that is to say to leave (to engage in a personal exodus) in order to encounter the other, above all going towards the existential and geographical outskirts of human life, according to the recommendations of Pope Francis. In this sense, our programme of fraternal visits has been very intense, covering practically two-thirds of the Camillian world.

At this point analysis and sharing became prayer to ask for the gift of wisdom and discernment at this meeting and in our communities, in line with the gospel and Camillian style.

After the break at 10.30 the meeting resumed its deliberations at 11.00. Br. Ignacio Santaolalla, the general financial administrator, presented an economic report on the generalate house and its dependencies (the community of ‘St. Mary Magdalene’, the rectory of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, the Camillianum, the Camillian Task Force, the ‘Casa B. Enrico Rebuschini’ Community). The guidelines and the tasks of the Central Economic Commission were then presented.

In the afternoon, the discussion of the assembly was resumed with common prayer and watching the moving video of CNN with an interview with our religious brother Bernard Kinvi who works in the Central African Republic and who recently received a prize for his role in defending human rights in saving about 1,500 Muslims during the civil war in that country.

Fr. Rosario Mauriello – the Provincial Superior of the Province of Sicily and Naples – presented a report on the economic situation of his Province.

A discussion then took place on the status of the Camillianum. Fr. José Carlos Bermejo – the first freshman of the Camillianum – offered an analysis of the Institute for the Theology of Pastoral Care in Health between nostalgia (the origins of the Camillianum in the words of Fr. C. Vendrame, of Pope John Paul II and of Fr. Monks, …) and the description of certain qualitative achievements, dwelling upon the present but also engaging in a timid look at the future.

At the end of the afternoon, preparations were made to welcome the Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, for the celebration of the evening Eucharist. The Cardinal, with words of sincere esteem for the Camillians and their valuable service for the sick and the disinherited, exhorted us to go to, and to remain in, the ‘existential and geographical outskirts’ of humanity, in line with the evangelising style of the early Christian communities.

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