After taking Sunday off, participants of the 2017 Dehonian Family gathering returned to the conference hall to share their small group discussions from Saturday when they identified what is positive about the Dehonian Family experience, what is challenging, and then suggested paths for the future.
The positives were easy to identify: there are many expressions of the Dehonian charism around the world, there are opportunities for spiritual development and prayer, members of the Dehonian Family find inspiration in the SCJs and in turn, members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart are inspired by other expressions of the Dehonian charism. There is beauty in living a shared spirituality that is expressed in many forms. The Dehonian Family offers possibilities for ministry, including collaborative projects with SCJs.
The challenges? The Dehonian Family is a very BIG family spread throughout the world. Over and over small groups expressed their desire for better communication. They want to know what their “cousins” are doing. What is the relationship between the wider Dehonian Family and the Priests of the Sacred Heart? How can the congregation best accompany the Dehonian Family; how can it be supportive while also encouraging autonomy?
All agreed on the need for a representative committee or council for the Dehonian Family, especially at the general level. But more so, delegates at the meeting expressed their desire for a secretariat –– even on a part-time basis –– to ensure that the Dehonian Family can grow, work together and have a greater sense of “Sint Unum” through enhanced communication.
On Tuesday, the final day of the gathering, the Dehonian Family delegates hope to endorse a plan for administration and structure.