XXV General Chapter – two key points for the CRE

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Letter from the Coordinator, No 24  (25.11.2016)

Dear Confreres,

Dear Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer,

Dear Partners in Mission.

Greetings from Pattaya where we have just finished the Canonical Phase of the XXV General Chapter. It was a great experience of fraternity for all of us, and an experience of the common concerns and preoccupations about the future of our Congregation. We are filled now with hope and vision for the future.

We discovered that through solidarity in our Congregation, (solidarity was one of the themes always present in our discussions) we can face our challenges with faith and hope, and we can transform our preoccupations into new projects and visions. Of course this demands time and good will from all of us. There is already a growing sense of solidarity in our Congregation; we are challenged to develop more and more this solidarity with each other and with the most abandoned and the poor.

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In a few days you will receive a letter from the Superior General. You will also receive the message of the Chapter to the Congregation and the official decisions and postulata which the Chapter accepted. In addition the Major Superiors wish to send you letters, information, their reflections etc. Moreover some Units are preparing assembles, chapters and meetings to share with you the vision on which we were worked almost for four weeks. We will have also the Third Phase of the General Chapter – the so called “implementation phase” – in September 2017 and we should be aware of this in these months.

I do not wish to duplicate information, so in this letter I share with you only the most important decisions connected to our European Conference.

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Thirty Redemptorists from the CRE took part in this Chapter (24 members of the Chapter and another 6 who helped us with their skills). I thank all of the participants for their commitment, work and witness.

I also express my great appreciation of our two confreres who were elected as General Consultors: Fr. Cecilio Alberto Eseverri and Fr. Pedro Lopez Calvo. It was a sign of great esteem for their work and for their love for the Congregation. Only our Conference has two consultors in the General Council! Moreover we congratulate and pray for Fr. Alberto who was elected as the Vicar General.

We made several dozen decisions, but two of them are for me very important.

The first one concerns the continuing process of Restructuring for Mission. We, as the General Chapter members, decided that “… the General Council, in coordination with the Coordinators and Congregational Units, will continue the process of restructuring for Mission with all its implications… The process will involve the re-configuration between the Conferences, the Conferences themselves, and the Units within the Conference.” The General Government will revise “the Directory of Chapters” and will include the Conferences and their Assemblies in this Directory. So we will go ahead with the structures of the Conferences, always refining and improving its work.

We are conscious that restructuring at the deepest level, is about our ongoing capacity to convert our hearts and renew our minds. This is our main work after this second phase of the General Chapter and will be an ongoing process.

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The second most important decision for me is the direction in which we must go in future. I refer to the decision to “develop a sustainable strategic plan for the future missionary presence of the Congregation in Europe and North America”. This plan will be developed in dialogue with the General Government and the Conference of Europe and North America.

It must be said that the foundation of our Redemptorist tradition is found in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Western Europe and North America. In these places our Congregation is passing through some difficult times. We have joys and hopes but we also have anxieties and concerns. To respond to them we need be wise and we should not do everything with great haste. If we wish to respond appropriately and implement all the decisions taken, we should first prioritize them.

It is obvious to me that the Congregation cannot respond to every pastoral need in Europe or simply “fill gaps” or maintain all existing houses. The basic question must be: where do we as Redemptorists want to offer our charism in Europe at this time and in the future? In the implementation of this I believe we can count on the help offered by the confreres from other Conferences.

So “continuation of the process of restructuring for Mission” by the work of Conferences and “the strategic plan for Europe” seems to me the two key points for the CRE in the future.

I ask for your prayers and for your cooperation in the ongoing process of implementing the spirit and vision of this XXV General Chapter. I also wish each one of you a blessed Advent.

In the Redeemer

Jacek Zdrzałek CSsR

Coordinator of the CRE

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