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Awareness of our context



General Conference – Thursday, 12 September

14/09/2013: France - Photo gallery
General Conference 2013

On 12 September, feast of the Name of Mary, our good Mother was very present in the  Assembly. After the prayer, Br Joe Mc Kee, recalled briefly the path covered and to be covered this week and invited all to listen carefully to the realities in which our life and mission unfold.

He exposed the topic of the global world in which we live, daily growing in interconnectedness in all spheres: political, economic, social, cultural. Important the culture, seeing that it has to be seen together with young people. Technology has changed and it has changed us. In the face of this world, we must read the signs of the times, some of them ambiguous. Signs which point to the future and raise challenges. To let God challenge us through these signs of the times – such was the message of the Vicar General.

Among other things, he mentioned the changes in contemporary culture; the different focus of a new science: as system, as mystery, including spirituality. The spirituality (and not the religion) which young people are looking for today, with a mystical aspect such as, for example, that at Taizé. And also there exists the culture of the internet and the social networks…

This global world has brought serious consequences, among them international migrations, the excessive growth of public debt. Inequality, complexity, fragility are growing. Br Joe recalled the messages of Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate, the compassion and solidarity of Pope Francis.

To close the report, he presented the participants with a video of Gordon Brown: “Wiring the web for global good”, which invites the use of the social media with a global ethic to improve the world.

At the end of the morning, Br João Gutemberg, of the District of Amazonia, spoke about Ecology. He outlined the attitude of reciprocity as the basis of relationship between beings: with oneself, with the other, with nature, from which one receives but one should also know how to return. On the basis of a theology of creation, God is presented as the God of life, and his Reign as the Reign of life. Then he posed the participants some questions: What are the cries of the Earth in the situation of your Province or District? How does each one feel and express himself as part of the Earth? And lastly, as Institute, how can we contribute to the care of creation?

In the afternoon, the Superior General spoke about the New Evangelization, starting from the Synod. Why speak about a “New Evangelization”? Because of the birth of a new civilization. Society is undergoing a metamorphosis, which affects every area, the whole of humanity, all aspects of life. This has posed a crisis for the great religions.

And how should this new evangelization be presented? he asked. Can it be with a combatative and ecclesiocentric attitude, or with that of the seed of the Gospel. He recalled how the document produced by the Synod began with the dialogue of Jesus with the Samaritan woman. “Dialogue is an intimate and indispensible attitude of the believer”, he said. And mentioned the example of Pope Francis, with his non-dogmatic approach of dialogue.

Br Emili continued: “For whom” is the New Evangelization? It begins with ourselves, our conversion, evangelized in order to evangelize. And “what sort of new evangelization”? Recalling Pope John Paul II: “New in ardour, in methods and in expression”.

Finally, taking the message of the Synod, he invited them to go to the new areas of mission, where the Church asks of religious their total availability. This concerns going to the frontiers to live, frontiers that need to be crossed, to be demolished.

Then there was time for personal reflection, group sharing and echos.

During the Eucharist, after communion, those present had their names written in a heart, thus recalling how Father Champagnat had the custom of writing the names of the brothers and placing them in the image of Mary’s heart.

General Conference 2013

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