World Assembly Reflections – Day #3

July 24th

Our 3rd Day was largely a day on the move… out of the big tent! This being the parish of Pope Francis before he was Pope Francis, we could not pass up the opportunity to visit the parishes he helped build up and the people he accompanied… and the parishes and people who formed him into the kind of Pope – and church – we are challenged to face today.

But first we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to the thoughts of Austen Ivereigh on Pope Francis. In particular, he shared how Francis believes we need to be a more extroverted church, rather than inward looking and continually striving for perfection in our beliefs. As well, he related how Francis is not afraid secularity… that it is an opportunity for us to revisit and renew our church in light of it.

Then we went out to visit the church – the local church – that gave birth to Francis’s vision of our Church. Today was like spending time exploring the mind and heart of Francis through the parishes and people he built up and accompanied. We can’t forget, Francis is a Pope from the developing world, economically speaking. He brings this lack of perfection to our universal Church… we must not forget, we are a developing church. Francis reminds of this.

After personal and meaningful conversations with so many of the local people, Catherine, Michelle and myself celebrated a beautiful outdoor Mass with all of our Assembly and with so many of the parishioners… with the youth group sharing with us the lively and well prepared musical accompaniment.

As Day #3 ends we are slowly gathering a deeper sense of our gifts as CLC members…. in particular, that we are one community… throughout the world. It is quite indescribable what a blessing it is to wake up and spend the day with CLC members from all over the world with so many rich and diverse experiences to exchange and get to know more fully…. including those of our EA members of course:) The struggle is trying to make sense of it all, to absorb it all justly and honourably…. and trying to get one’s eggs and tea each morning in the midst of over 250 others to sustain oneself:)

The photos of today are Michelle, Catherine, and myself just before setting for our day of immersion (with our flag behind us as you can see); the parish that Fr. Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was first priest of, along with joy filled Sr. Nadia of Haiti in front of a proud parish banner; a family visit within the parish (the blond lady on the left was confirmed by Fr. Bergoglio, and belonged to the youth group he lead); and finally a beautiful little statue of St. Ignatius in one of the chapels of the Fr. Bergoglio’s parish we also visited, San Francisco Javier; along with the chapel itself. As you will see from out clothing… it still remains cool here… but a beautiful, sunny, southern hemisphere winter day. We are quite south down here!

Blessings to each of you,