World Assembly 2018
World Assembly Reflections – Day #10
Greetings from the CLC World Assembly in Buenos Aires… on this 10th and concluding day.
I am a bit late in writing and sending this reflection (a bit of long one this time!) because of the busyness of the day… our St. Ignatius Feast Day celebrations went well into the evening under our big tent, local music and ABBA music to dance and clap to!). We also had a power outage during dinner until about 11:30. So we were celebrating by candlelight and under the light of the roll away propane heaters. But this in no way darkened our spirits… it actually made it extra special and memorable.
Today we further exercised our delegate responsibilities in voting for our World Exco for the next 5 years… one of the formal responsibilities as a delegate. Each National CLC community voted as one… so there was lots of preparation and deliberation – both in the days leading up to this day, and during the vote itself – between Michelle, Catherine, and myself. It was a long process, but we finished just in time for lunch at 1:00! But that meant 4 hours of voting! I will not get into the details of how each vote was processed for all of the Exco positions, but they did include runoffs if there was not a clear majority. Given our numbers, plus the vote of the present (now past) World Exco, and the number of candiates, each candidate for their positions needed 33 of our votes. It was quite dramatic actually as our votes rounds crept closer to this magic number. As a candidate approached the 33 vote mark on the hoped for final ballot there was a feeling of tension and excitement in the air within the tent amongst us… then upon hitting 33 votes everyone roared in applause. The tallies paused for our excitement to subside. Then the rest of the counting proceeded until all the votes were accounted for and the final results formally declared. It was like 10 New Year’s Eve’s countdown within 4 hours! As each new Exco member was elected, the rest of the new Exco members came to the front of the Assembly to greet and congratulate their new confrere, to the delight of us all. All in all, Michelle, Catherine and I for the Canadian delegation were very happy with the results. I don’t think we would have changed anything. This was the feeling of all the members I believe.
Now you are probably wondering who these new World Exco people are… so I will now tell:)
Our new President is: Dennis Dobbelstein, from Belgium. He won the vote from Ann-Marie Brennan by 44-20. Ann-Marie did not mind at all… she was actually hoping for that result. She desired to keep working more in the background. And Dennis feels so much more comfortable working in public, in a good way. He is a very capable and attentive CLC member, with a wonderful and quick sense of humour.
Our new Vice-President is: Ann-Marie Brennan, from the United States (New Jersey). It was automatic that the candidate for President who did not win that vote would automatically be considered for Vice-President. She won this vote with 45 votes, compared with 7, 5, and 7 votes for the other 3 candidates. Ann-Marie will be wonderful, warm, and capable support for the Exco, especially with considerable experience working on World Exco already. She possesses a very warm leadership style, and is very informed about many of the issues that are important for CLC. Many of you I’m sure would remember Anne-Marie from our last National Assembly in Saint John 4 years ago.
Our new Secretary is Catherine Kinuya Waiyaki, from Kenya. She won with 39 votes, compared with 25 for the other candidate. Catherine was in my small spiritual conversation group during this Assembly. I could see she will make a very capable, thoughtful, attentive and prayerful secretary, and by extension also a consultor for the Exco with all of these traits. She also has a wonderful, but quiet, sense of humour. She is also very much involved in the secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya, that is run by their CLC.
World Exco also has 4 Consultors, and so our new Consultors are: Fernando Vidal, from Spain, with 39 votes… Daphne Ho, from Hong Kong, with 36 votes… Diego Pereia, from Uruguay, with 34 votes… and Najat Sayegh, from Lebanon, with 37 votes. Each of these consultors had to be voted for amongst around 20 candidates from around the world. So these are considerable votes for almost 70 nations to vote for. Perhaps the biggest drama was Najat’s win. She was a candidate for Secretary, which she had been these last 5 years. She kept dropping down as others won the votes for the Secretary position, the 1st Consultor position, the 2nd, and the 3rd. She then won the vote for the 4th Consultor position on the 1st ballot, amongst over 15 candidates. It is not that Najat was the last choice among those who were voted on Exco. It had to do with the Assembly also taking into account where the members came from in the world and what language they represented. First came their personal qualities and gifts of course, all of whom our new Exco members possess in abundance, but also how are CLC World Exco represents all of the diversity of our community throughout the world.
After al of our voting and prolonged applause… we descended upon our dining room for a well deserved lunch.
In the afternoon we gathered in the centre court outside for formal Regional pictures… under a brilliant sun that had hidden itself from us for a few days. This time of picture taking turned out to become a party in itself with everyone taking the opportunity to take selfies with everyone around them. After this longer then expected, but wonderful delay, we assembled back in our big tent to listen to the final draft of our summary report of the Assembly, which we offered further feedback in a Round #2 style of spiritual conversation, and then all roundly affirmed. Everyone will receive this summary of our Assembly in the next days, and which Michelle, Catherine, and I will explore in more detail with our Canadian community in the coming months.
After a final appropriation of our Assembly in the big tent, we then processed to our chapel for our final, and also Ignatius Feast Day Mass… which our World Ecclesial Assistant, Herminio Rico, sj, from Portugal, presided at. It’s funny… of all our World Exco members, he is the one who is simply appointed… by Father General:) Our Feast Day eucharist celebration was moving and festive with wonderful South American music. In conclusion were the thank-you’s and blessings… to our departing World President, Mauricio Lopez, from Mexico, to our new World Exco,to our ESDAQ facilitators during our Assembly – who we prayerfully and discerningly revolved around for the significant part of our Assembly – and especially to our ARUPA hosts – our fellow CLC members from Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay – who worked tirelessly before and during the Assembly to prepare for our arrival and host our presence in Buenos Aires… 24 hours a day during the Assembly itself… many taking their personal annual vacation time to do so. Many claps, flowers and tears were showered upon them.
Then we gathered for a festive dinner – the second part of it by candlelight quickly found… then clapped and danced our way into our final night in our big tent… by the light of more candles, our propane heaters, and the light of our wine. The youth group and parishioners of San Miguel were the beat and rhythmic voices we clapped and danced with:) …with some ABBA thrown in the mix when the power came back on:)
A further will of God that we were also most grateful for in the conclusion of our Assembly was the continual returning news to us of our Australian CLC President, Jennifer Gardner. We later found out how fatal her health had been. But with a quick response from the doctors through surgery she was able to recover, and even start walking in her hospital room. Her family has joined and she will be able to join them in her return home. The ARUPA team showed even in this they never failed to be of help… always making sure someone was by her side during her hospitalization. During our final day we received a letter of gratitude from Jennifer, read to all of us, for our prayers and support.
Michelle, Catherine and I have planned to stay in Buenos Aires for a few more days, along with our french Canada CLC President, Andreé Richard. The other French Canadian delegate, the beautifully gentle and wise Vivianne Yaghmour, departed to France for a well deserved visit to a long time friend. I am staying with the Jesuit community downtown. Tomorrow evening we will all go to the ballet! It is such a beautiful city to visit and explore – the Paris of the southern hemisphere… who wouldn’t stay for some more days if they can?
But though we are now tourists for a few days, the gifts, memories and appropriation of our Assembly graces will remain and resonate within us to bring back and share with all of you over the coming months… the grace of the desire to deepen our relation with each other in our CLC communities through communal discernment with each other…. so as to share our gift of Christ-like community with those around us in our lives in more receptive ways, as Jesus’ Parable of the Sower teaches us to be prayerful mindful of in.
- The excitement captured of our new Exco, minus Diego Pereia, who had to depart the Assembly earlier because of work obligations.
- The members of the ESDAQ team who led us through the graces of our CLC Assembly…. in thanksgiving after our final Eucharist… with our departing President Mauricio Lopez in the background.
- Members of the ARUPA team waving to us goodbye as we depart… clutching Canadian flags like bouquets of flowers.
- CLC Australia President, Jennifer Gardner (on the right of the photo), with her fellow Australian delegate. (not taken by me)
- Andreé Richard and Michelle Mahoney, our 2 new CLC Canadian Presidents. (not taken by me)
- Our CLC World Community present to our 2018 World Assembly… symbolically captured by our presented flags. (not taken by me)
- Witnessing our Assembly graces… which we will strive to share and live out. (not taken by me)
Final 2018 CLC World Assembly blessings to each of you… from Buenos Aires, Argentina,
Trevor… your Canadian National Ecclesial Assistant
P.S. Please continue to pray for our new united Canadian Jesuit Province consisting of the former English and French Canadian Province… formally united on the Feast of Saint Ignatius.
World Assembly Reflections – Day #9
On this second to last day of our Assembly – Day #9 – we have come to the administrative business that we are also assembled for. In many ways it was quite an exciting day, filled with drama, expectations, hopes, disappointments… as well as shear tedium. We were sitting all day deliberating in the big white tent… only allowed out for coffee breaks, lunch and Mass. But this being said it was actually one of the quickest days. From early morning to nightfall we sat deliberating, but it seemed like a few short hours… and Michelle, Catherine and I reacquainted ourselves with each other once again by sitting together as a National delegation because we vote as one delegation… and we continue to like each other’s company too:)
I will not go into the details of what we voted on today, but in general today was a day devoted to voting on an amendment to a General Norm, 3 revisions of our General Principles, and upon the World CLC budget for the next 5 years (until the next World Assembly). We also spent time on reading and providing input on the summary of our graces from our Assembly so far, as it was composed by the ‘writers’ of our Assembly. It doesn’t sound like much, but with over 70 Nationals voting amongst over 200 people, with some of the votes that require a 2/3 majority (GP’s), with input from the floor before voting, it makes for a full day.
With the World Executive Secretary, Alwin Macalalad facilitating this voting time (an often challenging task at times given all the input desired from the floor before the actual votes), the amendment to one of our General Norms passed by 2/3’s… a Norm pertaining to the makeup of the World Exco. It took a fair bit of clarification from Exco on what exactly we were voting upon, and the consequences of our vote, but the 2/3’s was attained. Then there were 3 proposed revisions to our General Principles, that also required the 2/3’s to pass. With surprise and disappointment… none or these 3 proposed revisions passed. While these proposals seemed so clear and obvious – including one on revising our General Principles to more explicitly reflect our ecological relationship with God’s Creation that was proposed by our own National – many concerns and lack of clarity arose amongst many of the National delegations. I feel perhaps that I am not in as prayerful of a space this evening as I need to be in sharing my thoughts on how the voting transpired in a reflective way. I certainly understand many of the concerns raised, and understand also how so many different cultures understand the proposals brought forward in a variety of ways. But one can’t help but still be a little disappointed of what could have been. But as Mauricio Lopez, the World CLC President (until tomorrow) from Mexico put it, can we move on in a spirit of community with decisions that many of us had not personally hoped for? From the community spirit so evident among the Assembly delegates this evening after our deliberations, we certainly can.
Part of our day was also spent on looking at and voting on the next World CLC delegate. Our choices were tricky, and so took a lot of explaining from the moderator of this part of our deliberations, Exco consultor, Denis Dobbelstein (from Belgium). We made it through and we have a budget! There will be a small change in our budget from how it has been in the past, based upon our clear Assembly vote. But that is a detail we will explain a little later.
We also spent part of our afternoon listening to a draft of the summary of the graces of our World Assembly. As you may be gathering by now, it was a hard Assembly figure out. What have we ‘achieved’ this Assembly? What do we take away? Andreé Richard, the President of CVX french Canada, summed it up very beautifully, saying that when she came here to this Assembly she was expecting to take home a baby. Where is the baby she asked today? The answer she has realized is that it is not yet delivered. We will leave this CLC Assembly pregnant with the mystery of God’s gift that has been bestowed upon us. This Assembly has not been our Bethlehem moment, but our Annunciation. Like Mary, we are left to ponder what has been given to us by God at this moment, and where it will lead us. But the gift for us to reflect upon more deeply does lie in the environment of a deepened sense of community that we need to be more intentional in sharing during the next 50 years… through a deepened sense and regard for how we listen and discern with one another in the guiding presence of the Spirit.
As always, we ended our day with Mass and dinner. Even at this late date in our Assembly different CLC Nationals still have gifts for us from their home countries… chocolates, prayer cards, rosaries, little gift bags, packets of Columbian coffee beans (Michelle loved those!). Each and every day we are presented with new gifts… in more ways than one:) Two of our interpreters who were hired also left today. On leaving they made the mistake of departing for the airport during our late afternoon break. They could not depart quietly. These people who’s voices were in our heads for these days, helping interpret God graces of our fellow delegates of different languages, were smothered with hugs, kisses, and affections from everyone, to their utter surprise. Looking at the emotion on their faces as they departed summed up quite powerfully the spirit of our Assembly and the family we have formed these last days. I would not be surprised at all if these two interpreters looked to reconnect with CLC’s when they return home.
We also had a short visit from Fr. Raffi, the Jesuit pastor of the local parish in this Buenos Aires community who hosted our day of immersion with the local community a few days ago. He came to tell us how much his parish community – which includes chapels throughout the community – truly treasured our presence with them, and to bestow upon his his blessings before our departure. Catherine Kelly then looked to me with tears in her eyes saying how hard it would be to depart.
But not for one more day. We still have one more full day in which we vote for the next World Exco… and to celebrate our Feast of St. Ignatius! Please also pray for all Canadian Jesuits as we form one Canadian Province tomorrow in a union of English and French Canadian Jesuits.
- The photo is an image of voting day… with green cards:) Michelle and Catherine are on the right, along with Andreé Richard… with Michelle voting on our behalf. I am behind the camera:)
Blessings to each of you,
World Assembly Reflections – Day #8
Today was our final day of communal discernment with ESDAQ in which we prayed for a greater integration in our CLC/Ignatian charism in the morning, and then appropriate what we had received during these last days of our discernment.
Our morning prayer was focused upon how to complete this beginning phrase: “As a CLC, we are called today to…” Among the fruits of our prayers were many who felt we were being called to greater, more visible service in our apostolic presence; that we were being called to deeper companionship and support with one another in our CLC community; that we were being called to a better understanding and witness of our Ignatian charism as discerning disciples; and for greater trust in what Christ was calling each us within CLC. The fruits of these discernments were captured by each group on poster paper and presented to our Assembly for all to see and prayerfully ponder.
My own sense was that perhaps we need to be more flexible and mentoring to each other as companions. The image that came to me in this morning prayer was the Taize community… a very appealing and visible witness of hospitality to thousands and thousands of people. Through our own Ignatian charism, how can we be just as welcoming and hospitality to those around us? One particular difficulty that we have in CLC is the structure of our group dynamics. While it certainly develops ‘community’ and intimacy within the group, it can also prove to be difficult in welcoming people who would be interested in becoming part of CLC if there were not enough interested people to form a new group. One question for us to prayerfully consider is how we can help make our CLC structure more welcoming and open through the inspiration of Taize? It is a question that we have struggled with for a while, and that we have explored through Open Groups, but needs to be explored further.
Then we entered into a prayerful pondering of the gifts that we have received so far in our Assembly journey. What are we bringing back to our Nationals? For many of us this Assembly has been a reaffirmation of our CLC vocations. There was one European member who was recently elected as President of their CLC National… very reluctantly. This new President entered the Assembly questioning their desire even to be here, given how busy their life was and the time it was taking away from it. But yesterday, talking with me, they were immensely affirmed and deeply grateful in an entirely new way for their presence within CLC through their experience being here. There was a tremendous reaffirmation for many people in the CLC vocations; a new sense of belonging; profound gratitude for the opportunity to enter into ongoing spiritual conversation with CLC members from different parts of the world; a better sense of how to facilitate community. We took all of the fruits of this prayer – the gifts we have received from our communal discernment – and walked out in procession to present them around the Mary pond in gratitude for all we received.
These days have been rich and full of meaning for us Assembly participants. But for many there is still a question that remains… where do we go from here. Some expressed to me a lack of clarity, a lack of a mandate in going forward for the new world Exco, and for us Nationals. The last Assembly in Lebanon called us to the apostolic Frontiers. Where are we being towards this Assembly? This is a question that remains for many. Perhaps to a greater sense of the Examen in our communal lives… in how we live our CLC vocations together… with greater intentionality of appropriating what we have received, and in how we have failed to respond? A scripture passage we were asked to pray with was Isaiah 43:18-19, in which contains this image: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Many of us here are a little unperceptive at the moment. Perhaps between this Assembly and the next we are being called to help each other within our National communities perceive this “new thing” that has arisen amongst us a little more clearly.
Though this “new thing” and our future orientation as a World Community throughout out Nationals remains unclear for many at the moment – myself included – the Assembly atmosphere this evening is one filled with immense consolation and gratitude… I hear laughter and confidances all around me at the moment.
Tomorrow the desks come back… back to serious business…. looking at proposed Amendments to our General Principles and General Norms, Budget Approval, etc… groan:( But at least it will be a different kind of day. So many of us were aware of the prayerful intensity of these last days.
Attached as photos you will see our big Assembly tent from the outside, as well as the Marian pond in which we offered all of our gifts this evening (too dark to take a photo of that).
Blessings to you all,
World Assembly Reflections – Day #7
Today was a rich day, filled with a variety of images of CLC and our CLC weaknesses expressed in richly imaginative ways… and a day spent in silence around our plenary sessions and spiritual conversation groups.
This morning, in continuation of our communal discernment as a World community, we prayed upon our awareness of our identity as CLC… If our Lord does indeed call us be name, what does our name mean… Christian Life Community? How do we embody our name… our identity? How do we honour it? Is it a name that gives us freedom, or restrains us? In light of what Austen Ivereigh (the biographer of Pope Francis, ‘the Great Reformer’), revealed to us about CLC during his talk to us… that it was a Christian community that that he had hardly heard about, even working in Catholic circles in Rome… many CLC members here at the Assembly came to see CLC as a united family striving to be rooted in the realities of their societies in apostolic ways, but in quiet ways. That though we are not well known in many church circles we are still authentic and present, if not flashy… that perhaps this is part of our identity… we are a modest, but still very active and committed presence within our church. The fruits of our morning prayers on our CLC identity were shared by all in our morning plenary within a circle in the midst of our presence, which you will see in the accompanying photo. Some thought provoking responses were questions of our very name… ‘Christian Life Community,’ which was felt to be too general and unspecific. There were some who felt it did not really reveal anything unique about who we were… a community of faith-filled people continually striving to discern God’s will in their lives towards apostolic orientation through the Ignatian charism. There were others who felt that rather than change our name, we needed to embody it more fully… that our identity was not solely attached to our name, but in how we incarnated Christ within it, as a community.
In the afternoon we then entered prayerfully in our weaknesses as a community…. in prayerfully acknowledging what paralyzes us in the context of wasted bread, dull tasting salt, and the hidden light. The grace we were asking for in this time of prayer was for an inner knowledge of the disorder of our sin as a global and local community, and for the grace to reconcile ourselves to Christ within our communities. Our facilitator of this exercise stated that the general sin of Jesuits was individualism… in their in ability or unwillingness, generally speaking, to collaborate with others. What are the sins of CLC? Among the fruits of our prayer it was in complaining too often; clerical dependence… in depending upon the priests within their midst to lead them and solves their difficulties; in being too enclosed within ones small circle within CLC; excessive modesty in a sense of a lack of leadership skills on behalf of CLC; wanting Christ, but on our own terms; forgetting Christ in the midst of our administrative and apostolic focus; etc. These fruits of our prayer on the ‘sins’ of CLC were not to be presented in our afternoon plenary in words this time. Each of the 30 groups of 6 or 7 persons were asked to form a sculpture of the sin which they shared in common from their spiritual conversation. And so during our plenary half of the groups formed a their practiced human sculptures conveying the CLC ‘sin’ that resonated with them as a group, while the other participants walked amongst them as if in a museum. My small group chose to convey the sin of lack of prayerful openness and availability to the call of CLC co-responsibility, with two members in pose of reaching out and calling the others to join them in co-responsibility, while the others posed in various positions of resistance, fear, busyness with other tasks, excessive modesty in responding, etc. Walking through all of our human made sculptures made for a very powerful – and uncomfortable – experience. I do not have images of our self-scultpures attached here because we were told not to make any photographs of these due to the vulnerabilities expressed in our poses. It was certainly that… powerful in the witnessing of our vulnerabilities and difficulties living our CLC committement.
Our groups were then given candles to light and manna from heaven to carry us forward, with which we processed towards Mass of Reconciliation. Our day ended with Reconciliation after dinner, in light of attempting to name our paralysis’ – both personal and within CLC.
Because our ‘work’ these days are centred around our small groups, Michelle, Catherine and I do not see a whole lot of each other… we are completely immersed in the broader community of our world CLC World Assembly delegates. This is a very good thing. We will come back together within our CLC Canada community to reflect and share with all of you all the richer for this broader immersion:)
Tomorrow will be Day #8! The time goes by so quickly. But so richly too, as you can see.
Blessings to you,
World Assembly Reflections – Day #6
Greetings on this Day #6 of our CLC World Assembly,
We had found ourselves in a much more quieter space today, especially in comparison to Day #5, our Open Day! Today was a day of Recollection and Revelation. Our morning and our afternoon mirrored each other… Input from our Plenary, a time of personal prayer, sharing in our small groups, and then sharing our graces from our prayer and spiritual conversation back in our plenary.
Our morning was a time to imagine ourselves walking beside Jesus, looking together to the path we have walked in these last days: our personal graces, our history line, our day of immersion, meeting with Fr. General Sosa, and our Open Day together with the broader CLC community from abroad and locally. Then we were to be open to an image, a sound, a taste of these last days to present to our Assembly.
In our afternoon we were then asked to pray upon and name the grace that our CLC World Community has been given since it’s inception and new identity 50 years ago. You can see in the photo for this Day there were many graces offered in our circle…. Poverty, Fraternity, Community, Mission…
All of our communal exercises are oriented through a spirit of communal discernment… in seeking to discover who we are in this day in our world as a CLC community. Our discernment is being led by the group ESDAC (Exercices Spirituels pour un Discernment Apostolique en Commun). All of us are very prayerful. In our rich plenary sharing the co-ordinators cannot keep up with all of our desires to speak about our prayer and interior movements (they have to pass us the microphone to speak!). It is often hard to say where we are being led through all of our prayer. But we are trusting in the spirit.
Yesterday evening I had the blessing of concelebrating Mass and offering the reflection, in which I shared my experience of someone in my life who knew how to name the realities and graces of his life – both Consolations and Desolations – and of the necessity of this in planting the seeds of our CLC vocations deeply and receptively.
We then ended our day with a meeting of all the North American representatives to get to know one another better… followed by a festive drink in our ‘cafe’ where Michelle was filled with stories to the delight of many around the table:)
We also pray for Jennifer Gardner, the President of CLC Australia, who was hospitalized. She is doing much better but will remain in the hospital for a few days.
- In the image above, the face of Jesus is composed of all the portraits of the Assembly participants.
Blessings to each of you,
World Assembly Reflections – Day #5
On this 5th Day of our Assembly – Open Day – we woke up for a special one. First we welcomed Father General! This began after breakfast with a grand group photo in our chapel… since it has been raining outside the last couple of days. We somehow managed to pack ourselves in. You should be able to see the photo on the World Assembly website. Michelle and Catherine managed somehow to allow themselves to be lead almost behind Fr. General in the photo:) I am a little more to the right of the photo on the floor:) Then all of us flowed right back to the big tent to hear Fr. General speak to us as an Assembly encouraging us to move forward in a discerning way, developing our sensitivity to the times in which we live and making room to hear the Spirit of the Lord within the silences of our hearts. What also struck me about Fr. General’s talk was his vision of the Spiritual Exercises as a school of discernment. This seems so obvious. But there was a wisdom to this reality that struck me more deeply in his talk to us…. the Spiritual Exercises as a school of discernment… Mmmm! Then Fr. General celebrated eucharist with us. I wish I had something to say about his homily to us, but since it was all in Spanish I am at a loss. But Catherine, who knows Spanish (and French!) told me it was a beautiful homily… with a rubbing it in smile on her face. I asked her if it was the most beautiful talk of the Assembly so far… she then took pity on me and said she would not go that far:)
Father General was just in the morning of our day! As if this was not enough, we were then joined by CLC members and the local community for a time of festive celebration. There were people everywhere! I think our Assembly quadrupled in size… including many children, which was a wonderful addition. So many were dressed in all kinds of cultural manifestations… including Michelle, proudly wearing her Canadian red and white plaid shirt like our Olympic hockey team in a gold medal game:) The scene was like a street carnival with festivities all around the perimeter of the courtyard as we tried to keep out of the rain. For us was served all kinds of delicious local receipts, Argentinian wine, and local crafts for us to be tempted by in stalls set up by local artisans.
Then back to the big tent… where hours of wonderful local entertainment awaited us. There were pop songs, proud songs of the nationalities of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, Tango dancing – including by some of our own CLC members, folk songs, little orchestras. Then to end it all later in the afternoon came the large French contingent… members who have been touring Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina during the time of the Assembly. They came to this Open Day decked with flat hats wrapped with ribbons of the French flag with sketches, songs and dances… to the roar of the crowd.
Then they were gone… to leave us delegates to continue the business of our Assembly. We have concluded the half way point of our Assembly, with much more discernment to be entered into.
Continue to pray for us.
World Assembly Reflections – Day #4
Greetings from Buenos Aires and the CLC World Assembly on this Day #4
Today was more of a prayerful and reflective day, thankfully. It was a day spent reflecting upon on our CLC blessed history through the vision of the time line, a time of personal prayer and what has moved us about our World and National CLC history, and a sharing of this history. In the afternoon we then spent more prayerful time reflecting upon and sharing how we were moved with what was revealed in the morning visually shared on the timeline.
Because we have spent more time in personal prayer and small group reflections today Michelle, Catherine and I have not seen as much of each other. Plus the seating arrangement is getting more fluid…. when people are starting to sit in different places each time we gather people are starting to get to know each other more… looking to sit beside a wider circle of new friends:) But don’t worry, Michelle, Catherine, and I are still friends… I think:) Michelle and Catherine share a room for this Assembly… and Michelle has a cough. Coughing so much last night Michelle had to find a couch somewhere in kindness to Catherine so she could sleep. Then the local CLC members had pity on Michelle, and Catherine, offering them all kinds of home remedies.
Some of us had a free evening… I and the other EA’s met with Fr. General after dinner for question and answer time. Some of the questions that were brought up were how Jesuits and CLC’s can collaborate more together, particularly younger Jesuits. For this collaboration to deepen between us Fr. General mentioned that a conversion needed to continue to take place amongst Jesuits in learning to work with CLC’s. One difficulty in this was suggested… that Jesuits are being asked to collaborate with CLC members and its leaders in a truly collaborative manner… and so many Jesuits are not used to that way of working with others. Jesuits are used to being in charge and directors of works. Our presence with CLC’s requires of us a different way of working together. Certainly thoughts to prayerfully ponder and consider for our future formation in what it means to be truly collaborative.
One other highlight of the day was in coming together with our French Canadian counterparts, along with Sr. Nadia from Haiti, to reflect with each on what has been moving us during this Assembly. Because our days are fulled, we only met briefly after lunch. But we will continue to meet each day like this. On our outing yesterday I had the pleasure of walking with the new President of CVX french Canada, Andrée Richard, who was once a member of CLC english Canada before moving back to Quebec. We had a wonderful talk about the possibilities of CLC and CVX english and french Canada working and interacting more closely together in the future. I do hope this can come about… Andrée is very much excited about these possibilities, and Michelle certainly is too:)
Because wifi is so limited here I only share with you a few photos… one of our CLC Canada presentation… we even provided sweets for people… maple sugar candies in the shape of maple leafs:) And the other of the 3 of us with a CLC elder from Mexico who broke open for us in the morning our CLC history timeline.
For more photos and documents from our Assembly don’t forget about the Assembly website: http://assembly.cvx-clc.net/en/
World Assembly Reflections – Day #3
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,
Greetings from Buenos Aires – Day #2
Another full day! Just after 2 days some of us are trying to find our quiet spaces for our accustomed morning coffee and tea. Can you imagine? …we have to wait in line with around 250 people for a cup of coffee or tea along with our breakfast! But we are all friends in the Lord:) …these inconveniences are made up for in so many other ways by the CLC members we are getting to meet and talk with from all over the world.
We had a good morning session with an update from the World Exco on areas they have been focusing upon, such as the diversity of CLC formation programs (a struggle to maintain consistency and integrity throughout the World; finances (We are in the black!); the challenges of asking members to make commitments (a scary thought for new members), the role of communal discernment within CLC’s (while striving to remain in harmony with the universal CLC charism and mission). We then had an afternoon session on communal discernment, an opportunity to pray together on our gifts as a CLC within the gifts of the loaves and the fishes that Jesus “miraculously” provided his disciples to feed the needs of those around them, an opportunity for spiritual conversation on this prayer, and then finally a plenary session with all of us participants on the fruits of our spiritual conversation from small groups. So we are being prepared to the discernment we will be asked to enter into looking towards our future. You could call today an update and tool learning day – an update from our present World Exco, and re-acquainting ourselves with the tool of spiritual conversation.
Tomorrow will be another full and exciting day… the biographer of Pope Francis, Austen Ivereigh, will come to speak with us about Pope Francis and his vision of our church in the context of how it is rooted in his identity as an Argentinian. Then in the afternoon we will all go out to visit the local community – families, schools, and social centres. Imagine again… all 250 of us from all over the world going to get a taste of local life and concerns here in Argentina!
It is often hard for Michelle, Catherine and I to connect throughout the way. We so often get swept up and separated from each other by the crowd. But this is good… we also get to know different members. But we do make a point of meeting and sharing with another each day how we have been moved by the events.
Some say news… Joseph Richard, a CLC member from Haiti, who’s National we are supporting in their attendance here at the Assembly, was not able to come to Buenos Aires because of Visa difficulties. But Sr. Nadia Gbaguidi from Haiti is here and very present. Stay tuned for a photo of all the Canadians and those we sponsor here in Buenos Aires.
Here you can see Michelle and Catherine present the fruits of their group’s spiritual conversation. Attached also is Pope Francis’ opening letter to our Assembly.
If you are looking for further information on our Assembly, also visit the World CLC website.
Blessings to each of you.
Greetings from Buenos Aires!
Geetings from Buenos Aires CLC Canada members,
The CLC/CVX World Assembly 2018 in Buenos Aires has officially begun. As delegates, Michelle Mahoney, Catherine Kelly, and Trevor Scott arrived in safely and eagerly in Buenos Aires… to join over 250 others delegates from around the world! To accommodate us, all of our official plenary sessions take place under a big white enclosed tent. Our first day was exciting in the opportunity to meet and get to know many of these members of CLC/CVX from around the world… including our French Canadian counterparts. But today was especially exciting in receiving and hearing read to us a letter of support from Pope Francis to open our Assembly… and hearing it at the very college in Buenos Aires that he himself taught at for so many years – Centro Loyola – before being called to Rome. If he was to come to visit Centro Loyola right now… he wouldn’t recognize the big white tent on the grounds… but I sure he would approve:)
With this support we were introduced to each of the National communities in true olympic style, with flags and applauses! Now the flags are hung all around us along the walls of the big white tent:) We then entered into the spirit of the grace of our Assembly: “We desire greater depth and integration in the living out of our CLC charism in the world today,” followed by a beautiful Mass celebrated by the Jesuit Provincial of the Argentina/Uruguay Province.
It continued to be a full day with small group discussions on the topics of: 1) Our personal history with CLC; 2) Portraits of our National communities; 3) And what we hope for in this 10 day Assembly. This was a wonderful way to get to know many more of the different members from around the world in a deeper way. One of the graces that was received was that the difficulties we face as a National community are shared by so many other Nationals… so we are not alone. Something to take comfort in.
Finally, to end our first Assembly day we were introduced to the candidates of the coming World Executive Council for the next 5 years for us to consider in our voting on the last full day of the Council.
As you can imagine it was a very tiring day, especially after such long journeys in getting here for all of us… but also very exhilarating too.
By the way… you may be wondering how the weather is way down here in Buenos Aires… it is winter… it is cool! Even down to zero at night. Catherine even brought her winter coat… and today she wore it:) Many are bearing hats and scarves… scarves that we were given in our care bag with the CLC/CVX Assembly logo!
Please keep us in your prayers as Michelle, Catherine and Trevor continue on their Assembly journeys and enter more deeply into the graces of this special gathering.
CLC/CVX World Assembly Blessings to each of you,
Trevor Scott, sj