The Pre-Chapter Continental Assembly of the Consolata Missionaries in the Americas takes place this week (from January 8 to 14), in Bogotá, Colombia. It is made of moments of sharing and of reflection aimed at finding an answer to the challenges of today’s mission.
On the first day, January 9, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the meeting began with the Eucharist presided over by the Vice-Superior General, Father Dietrich Pendawazima. At the homily, he pointed out that, at the baptism, God inaugurated the ministry of Jesus: as the servant who does the Father’s will. He invited us to recall the day of our baptism in order to strengthen our commitment to our ministry.
Opening the work session, the facilitators, Fr. Leonel Narváez, IMC, and Mrs. Diana Sosa, specialists in methodology, outlined the method to be adopted by the assembly in order to achieve its proposed objective.
Then the floor was given to Fathers Venanzio Mwangi and Rubén López, members of the committee that had drafted the work document for the Assembly. They reported on the various steps that led to the elaboration of the document.
At the end of the morning, the members of the General Direction, Fathers Stefano Camerlengo, Dietrich Pendawazima and Ugo Pozzoli gave an overview on the Continental Assemblies held in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Consolata Sisters (MC) and Lay Consolata Missionaries (LMC)
In the afternoon, the Consolata Sisters and the Lay Consolata Missionaries shared with the Assembly about the meaningful steps they have taken to address the challenges of the mission in the American Continent.
Sr. Gracia Lameiro, MC, Regional Superior of Colombia-Ecuador, explained that in the Extraordinary Chapter of 2014, the Consolata Sisters decided to gradually unify some regions in order to strengthen their presence in the Continent. “All the Sisters got involved in this process and had the opportunity to express their expectations and doubts” – held Sr. Grace. In her opinion, it is still too early to make an assessment of the process, “but – she said – there is already the perception that fraternity and family spirit have intensified. This is an even greater achievement than to strengthen our presences in the missions. We have opened horizons and we are taking steps to carry out the merging of various sectors”. The options chosen by the Consolata Sisters in the continent are to work with the Indigenous and the Afro.
Representatives of the Lay Consolata Missionaries (LMC) from Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina are also holding their meeting in Bogotá. Aware of the many challenges to address, the representatives reflect on the presence of the Consolata Lay Missionaries in the Church and in the society of our Continent.
Pablo Tansini, addressed the IMC Pre-Chapter Assembly about the steps taken in the past and future projects. The young adult maintained that the LMC are the third branch of the Consolata Family: made up of Fathers and Brothers, of Sisters and of lay people. “In these days – he said – the LMC gathered in Bogotá, reaffirm the journey they have gone through so far; they recall that they have Mary as Mother, model and guide; are willing to receive a formation that stems from the figures of Our Lady Consolata and of Blessed Joseph Allamano; make the permanent option for the mission ad gentes; they assume their being lay missionaries as a lifelong vocation; they share in the charism and spirituality through prayer, the Eucharist and the family spirit. ”
The Eucharist, the love of Mary Consolata and the eyes fixed on the Word of God constitute a path to holiness, which should be the life focus of the LMC.
The day was concluded with the Prayerful Reading of the Word. The text was Acts 11: 19-26: the community of Antioch. The exercise is directed by the Biblical Scholar, Cesar Baratto, who approaches the Sacred Text within a popular and Latin-American perspective.
The biblical illumination will accompany all the steps of the Assembly, day after day, as a light in the building of the Continental Missionary Project.
Father Jaime C. Patias, imc
Bogota’, January 11, 2017.