Meeting of the Secretariat of Evangelisation of the Conference of Europe

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The members of the Secretariat for Evangelisation of the CRE met for the last time during the week of 12-16 June. They are: Eric Corsius (Shared Mission), Sr. Ulrike, MSSR (Social Pastoral), Fr. Pawel Drobot (Youth Ministry), Fr. Miguel Castro (New Missionary Initiatives), Fr. Gianni Congiu, Chair of the Secretariat. Fr. Johannes Römelt, Coordinator of the Conference, was present by video call.
The meeting took place in the Community of Perpetual Help in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) where three Redemptorist missionaries work in the popular Las Torres neighbourhood of the city. The days were spent not only working and evaluating, but also sharing life and mission with the community: prayer, celebrations, Eucharist, fraternities, schools… There was also time to get to know at first hand the rich religious and cultural heritage of the city, visiting some interesting wine cellars where the art of Picasso and the beauty of the thoroughbred horses of Jerez were on display.
The work of the Secretariat consisted primarily in sharing the process experienced by each commission during these difficult years of the Pandemic, although what took up most of our time was to work on what the Final Document of the XXVI General Chapter asks of the Secretariat, as well as what we find in the Decisions and Guidelines of General Chapter. The aim is to be able to make our contribution to the Third Chapter Phase which will soon be held in the CRE.
Concern was expressed about the reception of the Shared Mission with the laity by the Redemptorists, the increase of clericalism that is perceived in Europe, the great humanitarian crises that we are experiencing, the Redemptorist identity crisis, the new configuration in three zones of the CRE, the initial and ongoing formation of both laity and religious… This does not stop us from dreaming and promoting creativity with new initiatives, platforms or structures that help us to work more united and more in synodality.
The challenges still to be faced are to implement the agreements in the Third Phase, bearing in mind the Pastoral Plan approved in the last six years; to locate well the places and peripheries where we can be Missionaries of Hope, as well as those where we have to live the “distacco” and take a step back; to renew our missionary methods….
We dared to define and make a little more concrete what these “Missionary Laboratories” could be like, which appear on several occasions in the Chapter documents, as well as the creation of a Team that would rethink while living a new way of mission.
Finally, we were able to evaluate these six years, which have been marked by the pandemic and by the preparation of the General Chapter. We value positively all the contributions to the Assemblies of the CRE that the Secretariat has made, as well as the meetings in situ that we have had in our respective Units and that have allowed us to get to know better the difficult European reality. There has been no lack of meetings by areas that we have held over the years: social, missionary, youth and with lay people, although the initial strength declined with the passing of the years and the effects of the pandemic. Another of the difficulties we have experienced has been the lack of stability in the responsibilities that the members of the different commissions assumed at the beginning, as well as the lack of coordination of these commissions with their counterparts both at the level of the General Government and in each of the Units or Provinces.
All in all, we thank God for what we have shared, lived and reflected together on the realisation of Evangelisation in our complex Europe.
Miguel Castro Castro CSsR

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