Jacira, MAR: "The Augustinian Recollect Missionaries have always practiced Synodality, sharing participation and responsibility with religious and laity"
I met the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries through the Augustinian Recollect religious of the Ribeirão Preto community, in São Paulo, Brazil. I was particularly struck by this triple foundation of his charism: mission, community and Recollection. For me they translate into three characteristics: joy, simplicity and charity.
As can be seen, from the beginning I have had close contact with our Augustinian Recollect religious brothers, with the good fortune that I have been with them in various places. It is in some way a form of Synodality, since this closeness helps me to experience community and mutual support.
In my first steps, the friars of the former Province of Saint Rita provided me with the first contact with the Augustinian Recollect charism in Ribeirão Preto; later, in Taiwan, I worked with the friars of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine; later I went through Argentina, with those of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanueva. Again in Brazil, in Lábrea (Amazonas) and Fortaleza (Ceará) I met again with the religious of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, with whom I work side by side in Mexico, where I now live.
One of the places where religious men and women have worked more together in Mexico has been the Comprehensive Development Accompaniment and Recovery Center, CARDI. It is a socio-sanitary project in Mexico City in which the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries have provided security in the operation without rest; we have given a different point of view for a better management of such a complex project; and we have given and received great joy.
We want to transmit today in our Parish of the Divine Redeemer of Querétaro this ecclesial value of Synodality; we have already done it through talks or retreats, but above all we try to live it in daily practice.
Synodality drives us to work with the laity, giving them participation and responsibility. Although I have to say that we, the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries, have always done this, it has been our characteristic.
We also want to live it like this in the ecclesial sphere. The bishop of Querétaro has always tried to be very close to the consecrated, although, due to the pandemic, practical attempts in recent times have been limited.
Regarding communion with the laity, we try to strengthen the encounter and work in common from three spaces: following the Gospel; never look away from your neighbor; and remind them that the responsibility towards their brothers is also their responsibility.
For the laity to be integrated into ecclesial decisions, it is important to ask their opinion and take it into account; and provide them with training so that they are not afraid to give their honest opinion, no matter who it is addressed to.
We could still improve certain issues, such as communication in general or the offer of information for the Council, for example on economic aspects. In any case, openness, the incentive to participate and trust are always essential.