The second day of the meeting of Superiors Entity began with the Eucharist, which was presided by Fr. Levi Ferreira, General Councilor. Concelebrants included Fr. Jan Etel of Belarus and Fr. Alessandro Capoferri of Mozambique.
In the meeting hall, Fr. Levi presented a reflection on the value of gratitude in line with the theme of the day: “He went beyond their interests”. With this theme, the superiors of the entities have begun to reflect on internationality in two respects: people and structures.
The Superior General began to reflect on this important topic, emphasizing that as the works evolve, the Congregation evolves, expands in different regions and decreases in others, advances through the contribution and availability of people. The mission of the Congregation is linked to the structures, whose ultimate aim is to serve the people of God. When people are at the service of structures, the confreres are sacrificed and the Congregation does not fulfill its mission. The structures are justified only when they have a charismatic feature. Reflecting on structures also means questioning the function of our models of governance, administration and coordination of the mission of the Congregation.
In the abundant reflection developed during the day, some elements were noted as follows:
– The Congregation had an international dimension from the beginning. In recent years the international character has acquired greater depth and extension thanks to the push to create international missions in various parts of the world. In fact, the issue of internationality is mainly at the mission level.
– Living with people from another culture is not enough to create an international missionary community. The sum of cultures does not make internationality. An important criteria for intentionality is: people must want to embrace the missionary project, they must know the project, they must prepare for the mission.
– Internationality is a path that must be followed by those who are called to embrace an international project. This requires cultivating the ability to share one’s culture and to welcome other cultures. This process takes time and patience.
– Internationality wants to be an attitude of life that is expressed in all that is done: work, prayer, fraternal life, mission, sharing, harmony with others, dialogue.
– Internationality must be cultivated in a special way in formation houses. It is here that young religious can have a concrete learning experience, living in international communities, whose fruits will be seen when they enter international mission-oriented communities. The exchange of scholastics must be enhanced. In this sense, we also talked about the formation team that must have international characteristics and that the formators themselves should play a very important role in international education. International scholasticates should have students and formators from different backgrounds.
– International projects need to be clearly defined so that people know what they will do and what tools they can count on to accomplish their mission.
– The fundamental motivation for internationality is: all the members of the community have been called by Christ and therefore all are also called to live the gift of vocation in an international community, knowing how to value, in themselves and in each confrere, this essential element of consecration
– It is important to create and promote an international mentality in the entities of the Congregation, preparing all confreres to be able to welcome those who come from other entities. That is: internationality should not be a characteristic of only some, but of all the members of the Congregation. In this regard it was recalled that when a person makes his consecration he does not belong to a specific entity, but to the Congregation.
– Internationality does not change the character of a person but renders it capable of putting its own way of being and its abilities at the service of the common cause. Internationality requires an effort of interaction and growth.
It was also emphasized that it is important to prepare studies and reflections on internationalism at the level of anthropology, ecclesiology and missiology, asking for the collaboration of confreres who are experts in these disciplines
Even the laity can collaborate on certain international projects and must be prepared for this.
Finally, the importance of accompanying confreres sent to international communities was emphasized: it is not enough to send, we must also accompany them.
Some errors and procedures have been reported that do not help the success of an international mission
– Sending of confreres who do not have the necessary human, psychological and spiritual conditions to embrace an international project;
– Overlapping of personal projects at the expense of projects of the Congregation
– Being guided by emergencies and immediate responses to needs without taking the time to reflect and make appropriate choices
– The availability of people cannot be the only criterion for sending confreres on an international mission. It is necessary to assess whether a person has intrinsic aptitude to undertake an international project.
– Sending people to international projects without adequate preliminary preparation, on a personal level or at the group level, cannot build an international project.
The Superiors of the Entities also dedicated time to reflect on internationality in the structures and forms of government. The way in which the entities of Africa organized themselves by creating the Conference of the Superiors of Africa (COSENAF), with statutes, was assessed as very positive. Also, in Latin America there are various experiences of collaboration and joint work at the level of the entity. The United States and Canada have many ways of walking together. In Europe the superiors of the entities have developed several common initiatives but at the same time they realize the difficulty of going further because of the history and cultural diversity of the entities. In Asia too, important steps are being taken towards international collaboration. It was emphasized that all this does not prevent direct collaboration between the entities.
The debate on the merger of the provinces, the confederation of entities, the transformation of the provinces into regions was on the table, with different arguments, but without reaching any conclusion.
There was also talk of districts dependent on the Superior General, of the positive and less positive aspects of this dependence, as well as of the new foundations and how they will be structured at government level.
Finally, we understand that we must go “beyond one’s interests”.
The day ended with information on the process of revision and harmonization of the translations of the Rule of Life, required by the last General Chapter, and the presentation of the process of structuring the Dehonian Family, by the president of the International Family Coordination Group Dehoniana, Fr. Bruno Pilati.