Jan 25, 2022 Last Updated 10:26 PM, Jan 25, 2022

North America: New ways of evangelization

Categoria: I Nostri Dicono
Visite: 1599 volte

{mosimage} It took more than one year to start and have our Regional Conference. The long disease and death of the late Regional Superior, Fr. H. Crespi, caused this delay. Last September we got our new leader, Fr. Charles Bonelli, and the long awaited Regional Conference eventually took place the last but one week of October 2006.

Twenty-one members of our Region convened in Toronto at our Missionary Centre, together with Fr. Stefano Camerlengo, Vice-Superior General. The Conference was opened with one day retreat directed by Fr. James Monet, a Jesuit priest and historian, who introduced us into the theme of martyrdom-witnessing, following the example of the Canadian Martyrs.

In three meetings or meditations he reported the experience of the first Catholic missionaries in Canada during the first half of the seventeen centuries. Each meditation contained the facts of their first preaching of Christianity in Canada together with an invitation to read the most significant passages of the New Testament on martyrdom. Good start: there is no evangelization without witnessing to Jesus, suffering and shedding of blood.

After this spiritual introduction on Tuesday Oct. 24th evening we met for the installation of three co-coordinators or facilitators, Fr. Lenny DePasquale, Fr. Carlos Sierra and Fr. Rino Aiardi, and the presentation and approval of the procedure to be followed during the conference. The three did very well and made everything smooth for the next three days of debates, group meetings and general assembly.

{mosimage}On Wednesday 25th we had a kind of evaluation of the previous Regional Conference, followed by the presentation of the state of the Region by Fr. Charles Bonelli. Though recently arrived in North America, Fr. Bonelli showed a good knowledge of our situation since in the past he had spent several years in the Stated as Regional Administrator and Councilor. His report was followed by the speech of Fr. Stefano Camerlengo, who had for us encouraging words and showed us his support.

At this point everybody got the real starting point for the conference: a reflection on our situation keeping in mind the scarcity and age of the IMC personnel in North America. For the rest of the day the groups worked hard on this issue. It became clear to all that our structures are too many and big in relation to the available personnel.

The following day – Thursday – was dedicated to other two issues: ways of evangelization in North America and restructuring our presence in the continent. We did not face the important issues of the kind of community life we live or what is essential for a renewal of our missionary animation in North America. Right from the beginning we had established that this late conference could not discuss all aspects of our religious life since we had a limited time and we thought that for the remaining two years of the present administration a simple program had to be worked out.

Our reflection of this two issues convinced us that in North America we can be true evangelizers even ad Gentes , due to the multi-ethnic environment in which we live and the presence of large areas to be evangelized (non-Christian people are more numerous than those who are Christianized especially in Canada). Regarding our structures we examined the situation of our centres especially those of Toronto and Somerset, which to a certain extent are too large and too expensive to maintain according to our possibilities. The merger of the two sectors of Quebec and English speaking part of our Region was also reconsidered in another more acceptable perspective. As a result of this second part of our work it became clear to all that more commitments in parish structures are very effective in the work of evangelization and in view of an efficient missionary and vocation promotion.

{mosimage}The last day – until late in the evening – was spent in finding out a suitable plan of action for the next two years in order to offer our Regional Council ideas for our future in North America. For sure not all the aspects of our missionary and religious life were thoroughly examined and, maybe, the conclusions we forwarded to the attention of our Superiors are limited to a few issues only. This was done purposely in order to help the regional Council to consider the most relevant points. For us too this selection of essential aspects to be urgently solved was an attempt at convincing us that our presence in North America is still valid.

At the end of this exercise everybody could consider himself satisfied and our prayer is that the Holy Spirit and the protection of Our Lady Consolata will assist us in taking good decision for the future of our presence in North America. We left Toronto with a positive sensation that despite our small number and increasing age we still have a role to play as Consolata missionaries in this part of the world.

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