28 Augustinian Recollect religious met in assembly in the convent of Marcilla, Navarra on November 22, 23 and 24 to discuss issues of utmost importance in the present moment and looking to the future for the life of religious and Recollect communities. Personal reflection, dialogue in small groups and sharing have been the way of addressing the proposed topics.
All the communities of Spain were represented at the assembly. The prior Provincial Carlos González presided over the meetings and stated the theme that the assembly, after a brief comment-reading by the secretary of the Province, Benjamín Miguélez, began to treat.
Ordinarily, the prior of each community briefly presented the conclusions or suggestions collected in their own community meetings about each of the four themes: Ongoing formation, Youth and vocational ministry, Senior religious and sick, and Study of the presence of the Province in Spain.
Once the presentation of the priors was over, a time was opened to make proposals and engage in dialogue. More than the debate, listening to the other mattered. After a reasonable amount of time, small groups met to discuss the most important points highlighted in the full assembly and were in favor of some points, being able make their own proposals that, returned to the full meeting, the secretary of the group communicated to the entire assembly.
On each of the topics there were numerous proposals that mainly affected to the prior provincial, but also to other service bodies of the Province in Spain or to local communities. The prior provincial, attentive to what was said, took note to reflect on the proposals, discuss them with his Council, and take the most appropriate convenient measures.
Here are some ideas/proposals from among the many that emerged at the meetings plenary or group.
a) On ongoing formation
When beginning to discuss this topic, Frater Sergio Sánchez, president of the Secretariat provincial of Spirituality and continuing formation, said: “We start from the conviction of that the renewal of religious life depends on ongoing formation, understood as a comprehensive process of personal growth that encompasses all of life and all dimensions of the person.”
The person responsible for the permanent formation of the Province encouraged those present to privilege the daily formation embodied in the Life and Mission Project of the community; “If we aspire to great things, let us attend to the small things of daily life.”
“Our paradigm of formation, said Sergio, is the text of the disciples of Emmaus, which they saw his heart enkindled in listening to the Word and in sharing the Bread of the Eucharist.” The essential formative humus is to cultivate a community climate of trust, respect and appreciation to share dreams and initiatives and work as a team.
An appropriate tool to promote this formative spirit is the method of appreciative inquiry.
Sergio, finally, presented a calendar of extraordinary activities, such as renewal meetings by age groups.
Regarding ongoing formation, it was requested, among other things,
- promote appreciative pedagogy in community meetings;
- take advantage of the abundant materials that arrive from the Order or the Province;
- have the mandatory community meetings and share more in them in open dialogue;
- promote much more daily and ordinary personal ongoing training instead of;
- put emphasis on extraordinary training actions;
- use the usual resources – liturgy, monthly retreats, annual spiritual exercises , community meetings…- for authentic ongoing formation;
- create a climate of trust in the community;
- ask those in charge of animation -priors and others- to assume this task and not limit themselves to planning things in the community.
b) About youth and vocational ministry
It is necessary
- commit to implementing and promoting JAR in all ministries;
- make known and carry out the decisions of the JAR Synod 2023;
- enhance youth ministry, within which it is necessary to preferably include the
- ground vocational ministry in prayer and testimony;
- become aware that vocational work is everyone’s task, at least with the
- prayer and the joyful testimony of our consecration;
- implement and put into operation in each community the basic structures of
- vocational pastoral offered by the Constitutions and the Directory of the Province;
- encourage better communication and teamwork among those responsible for the company
- youth and vocational ministry and local counselors;
- ask those responsible for youth and vocational ministry to visit and encourage the
- communities and ministries, and enlist their support.
c) Elderly and sick religious
The care that the elderly and sick receive is good, careful; however, it is convenient or necessary
- take care to give each sick or elderly person the appropriate treatment and treatment;
- offer the elderly and sick comprehensive care, so the Province must develop a project of life and permanent formation for older religious not yet assisted;
- continue preparing the Marcilla convent as a halfway house for the religious elderly people who do not need special care, providing them with the human resources and adequate economics;
- continue projecting a positive image of the Saint Ezekiel Moreno residence in Valladolid as a therapeutic home for good human care and medical assistance professional;
- keep the medical record of all the religious updated, and ask those who come to Spain on vacation that is accompanied by the mandatory health cards and their medical history.d) Study of the presence of the Province in Spain
A series of imbalances can be seen in the current presence of the Province in Spain, so which is imperative
- adopt a more open and courageous attitude to seek new forms of presence;
- study in detail our presence in Spain to bet on something new, without fear and with imagination, in accordance with the new times;
- restructure and reorganize presences so that they are more authentic and significant;
- courageously undertake decisions according to the religious and pastoral needs in the reality of Spain;
- decisively commit to granting the laity the role they have in the Church in all orders;
- proceed with serenity to the union of the two communities of Zaragoza;
- take into account in the possible restructuring vocational promotion as the solutions for the current problem, which is largely caused by the small number of new religious;
- reinforce the community of Chiclana to enhance vocational ministry in its ministries.
An assembly of Augustinian Recollects takes place in a framework different from those political or other assemblies. If reflection, listening and dialogue are important among the participating brothers, prayer, the liturgy, acquire a singular importance of the hours and the Mass that they have in common every day, the same as the coexistence fraternal after community meals and at other times throughout the day.
In line with the weight that coexistence and common recreation have in Recollect life , the afternoon of the 22nd the assembly members enjoyed an excursion to Pamplona to visit a photography exhibition and the museums of photography at the University of Navarra and biology.