From November 27 to December 2, the meeting of the Major Superiors of Europe was held in Valencia, Spain. Youth ministry, the theological commission, the centenary celebration of Fr. Dehon's death (2025) and Issues to be brought to the next general chapter in 2024 were discussed.
Europe is not made in one fell swoop but created, reviving the solidarity that we are experiencing in these years more intensely. The same touches on the Dehonian presence in Europe that try to work out an overall vision based not on uniformity but on a dynamic and intercultural identity.
The European theological commission and young people
To draw closer to and inspire one another, the superiors of the Dehonian Entities in Europe gathered in Valencia, Spain, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.
The first day was dedicated to take a look at two collaborative realities that have been in existence for quite some time now namely the European SCJ Theological Commission and youth and vocation ministry with the missionary volunteer initiative ‘My Mission’. That last proposal invites young people not only to work in so-called missionary countries but to share in the life of the Dehonian mission community. Father Angel Alindado (ESP), to whom the assembly invited, presented us not only with the current situation and a profile of a young person today, but formulated some simulant questions: why not think of a mission ad gentes within Europe? Do young people find “a home” within our communities? If we were to design from scratch, what and why would we choose our mission in the European provinces?
In the discussion on the theological commission, a wish emerged fto become more present both in ongoing formation and in the life of the entities. We opt to enlarge the group with people who specialize not only in theology.
Stable Conference of European Entities
Among the topics discussed, there was also a return to the project of a single European Scholasticate, in Paris, on which it was decided to hold off for now, since for European provincial Superiors this does not seem to be the most important problem at the continental level.
Help between entities is always possible – it was pointed out by several speakers – while real collaboration seems to be more complex, especially because of different legislations and noting that sometimes concrete collaboration is also made difficult by existing structures. Therefore, it was thought that a possible concrete step was to formalize the collaboration of the superiors of European entities in a stable Conference of European Entities (COSENEUR). For this the last few days have been devoted to drafting a Statute that will be submitted to the General Administration for review and approval.
Among the topicalities of the entities, the theme of the next WYD in Lisbon next year appeared strongly. The international preparatory committee formulated the program for the days dedicated to the Dehonian youth.
Toward the centenary of the Founder’s death
Another issue presented by Fr. Joseph Famrée was the proposal of the France province regarding the centenary of Fr. Dehon’s death that happens in 2025. Among the official celebrations in Saint Quentin, it is proposed that each province make pilgrimages throughout the year to places linked to Fr. Dehon such as La Capelle and Saint Quentin. A concrete help for Dehonian entities in the way to promote both the thought and the person of Dehon could be a short film in various languages.
The meeting in Valencia provided an opportunity to think about the next general chapter and formulate some ideas from European superiors for consideration by the preparatory commission. Among the themes proposed to focus on a Dehonian identity lived today marked by the internationality of societies, the functioning of current structures and today’s mission in view of a common apostolic plan.
There was no lack of time for sharing challenges and opportunities that were intended as an opportunity to inspire each other to give thanks to the Lord whose abundance sustains and blesses.