17 November 2023
17 Nov 2023

European provincial superiors toward a common way of acting

Provincial Superiors of European entities for the first time gathered together with provincial treasurers. Among the topics discussed: preparation for the general chapter, internationality, the centenary of Fr. Dehon's death (2025), European youth ministry activities. Draft Statute of the Conference of Major Superiors of Europe approved

by  Radosław Warenda scj

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Albino is the site of the first Dehonian presence in Italy chosen by Fr. Dehon, who viewed it in the company of young Fr. Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII. Founded as an Apostolic School, Albino has now become a center of spirituality, and from Nov. 5 to 9 hosted the Superiors and Treasurers of the European entities. Among them was not lacking the presence of the General Government with two councilors, Fr. Steve Huffstetter and Fr. Artur Sanecki together with Fr. Luca Zottoli – general treasurer. 

In light of the General Chapter, which we will celebrate next year, part of the meeting was dedicated to deepening the topics that will be the subject of the Chapter. For years one of the hot spots of congregational life has been identity, that is, the interpretation of the charism in different parts of the world. Dehonian life is characterized by internationality, the result of collaboration among different entities. This option, however, seems to be generated more by the need for personnel than by a choice of value. Reflecting on internationality,” the provincial superiors noted, “requires us to honestly evaluate the experiences already made and not remain at a simply theoretical level.

Among the themes of the meeting in Albino was the preparation for the centenary of Fr. Dehon’s death, which will fall in 2025. Beyond the ideas of a solemn celebration accompanied by a day of reflection and testimonies, it is proposed to deepen Fr. Dehon’s social thought and other formative initiatives throughout the Dehonian year. Several possible proposals were formulated by the European Theological Commission. The idea of entity pilgrimage to Dehonian places has been well received, but also the proposal of other kinds of pilgrimage, such as the “Tour de Dehon” by bicycle.

An example of a very lively collaboration is that of youth-vocational ministry, coordinated at the European level by Fr. Angel Alindado (Spain). The superiors were informed of the results of their meeting held in Paris last month. It was often heard in the dialogue these days that there is no future without effective collaboration among us. And that requires ongoing discernment. One moment of such discernment was the evaluation of the joint WYD initiative held in Portugal, which was reported on by Fr. João Nélio – POR provincial.

The superiors also approved the Statute of the Conference of Major Superiors of Europe (COSENEUR) which is to ensure a concrete form of their collaboration and also the tools to promote the different activities. Now the document is submitted to the General Administration for approval.

For the first time, the meeting of provincial superiors and treasurers took place at the same time and place in order to dialogue together. Such a meeting also provides an opportunity to be able to share the joys and concerns of the entities. Provincial superiors and treasurers decided by mutual agreement to meet jointly every year. And it was the provincial superior of Portugal who invited the superiors and treasurers of the entities to their next meeting in 2024 in Lisbon.

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