The EUF Province held its annual assembly from March 19-22 at the Couvent du Sacré-Coeur in Clairefontaine. Thirty-six participants gathered to talk about the present and the future of the EUF Province. They were accompanied by Fr. Artur Sanecki, general councilor.
The first day was dedicated to a presentation of the current state of the EUF Province, which was given by Fr. Jean-Jacques Flammang, provincial superior. Currently there are 13 communities in the province and 53 members. Three members from other provinces also work in EUF.
Following the motions of the provincial chapter in 2014 a new community was opened in Illkirch-Graffenstaden. This community aims to create a life in simplicity, offering hospitality to students and others interested in spending a moment together and to experience the goodness of the Sacred- Heart. It is an example worth imitating.
Fr. Flammang reviewed the past meetings and happenings of the province. He presented recent publications and the guidelines of the current provincial administration. There are two construction projects: one in Saint-Quentin for the presbytery and one for the Provincialate in Paris which shall be considerably expanded to be able to respond to the needs of the province and the congregation. In Paris, a center will be developed for hosting students from various places who want to get acquainted with French culture and language and to give access to theological studies in a world capital. Following Fr. Flammang’s presentation, participants were invited to comment.
In the afternoon, Fr. Sanecki presented the general development of the congregation and the view of the general administration in regards to the EUF Province. Among the projects of the general administration is a renewal or reinvestment in the Dutch Province, an expansion in Basel (Switzerland), and more attention to large cities. The example of Berlin was given, a community that just opened a few years ago. London is also being considered. The intention in Europe is to have two or three novitiates and two or three scholasticates. In this context, the plan of the EUF Province to offer a center for Dehonian studies in Paris is particularly appreciated.
In an evening session Fr. Leano Gomes-Garces from the Portuguese Province, and current director of formation in Paris, related experience of the recent district of Angola.
On Tuesday morning Fr. Daniel Sonveaux, a Belgian Jesuit and president of the Conference of Belgian Religious, gave a conference on the topic of the handling cases of sexual abuse in the church. This was done in view of the demand from the general administration to develop a protocol for prevention and handling.
Tuesday afternoon was dedicated to a presentation about the Formation Commission given by Fr. André Conrath. The parochial engagement of young scholastics was lauded.
In the following discussion on vocational issues the question of religious indifference in western societies was raised. An important experience was shared by Fr. Hilger: criticism of religious practice does not always deceive, sometimes it hides a real interest in faith. God works in mysterious ways.
On Wednesday, each community gave a short presentation or statement. The communities of Metz, Mougins, La Capelle and Paris presented the way they work in the community or in the parishes. Saint Quentin shared a short video done by the “Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne” that gave attention to the difficult conditions of workers today. The provincial assembly closed with Eucharist.