Dec 07, 2021 Last Updated 5:02 PM, Dec 6, 2021

Brasile: Fr. Antonio Fernandes is visiting the Theological Seminary of Sao Paulo

Categoria: I Nostri Dicono
Visite: 1646 volte
{mosimage}Fr. Antonio Fernandes, the General Coucilor of the American Continent is visiting the region of Brazil. He arrived at our community on Thursday August 24, acompanied by Fr. Lírio Girardi, the regional superior. This is Fr. Antonio’s first official visit to our community since he was elected General Councilor. On Friday August 25, we gathered for a community meeting, to share our experiences and of course to hear what he had to say to us as missionaries in formation. In his talk, Fr. Antonio, presented to the seminary community the reality of the American continent emphasising much on the challenges that the Insitute is facing in this continent.
He said that it is important for the theological seminary to be aware of the reality and the options of the Institute here in South America, because its here that we live and study and most probably some of us will be called upon to work as missionaries.

He said that we should consider ourselves lucky to have an opportunity to study in South América with all the cultural richness that its offers.

Among the big challenges that the Institute is facing in South América he said, is the way the countries are formed; the difference in language between the countries, for example, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, United States. With this, he said, will be a stumbling stone to the new Idea of administering the Institute at continental level that Institute is thinking about now, for this to work, we need to work without losing the charism, the commoness of the Institute. Still on the administration of the Institute at continental level, Fr. Antonio said that another great challenge is the lack of vocations from the american continent. “Its a great preocupation that each year there are only two or three novices joing the noviciate in Argentina, something has to be done”, he said. There are no vocations because the Institute today is not working with the youth. Youth apostolate is now a need for our Institute. For that matter, the Institute has decided to give more attention to the Youth Apostolate. That is why in December this year, in Argentina, the Institute is going to hold its first meeting on Youth Apostolate in order to discuss the methods that can be employed in order to take up this apostolate seriously. Fr. Antonio recognised that there are no vocations because we do not look a head at the missions. He said that today many of our missionaries have become good parish priests forgeting the missionary aspect of our congregation hence dont look for vocations!

The second challenge is the option to work with the indigenous and Afro- americans. He said that most of our missionaries working in Latin America have sidelined this option that is a great reality in Latin América. He challenged us to start identifying ourselves with this kind of apostolate as they are the ones at our door steps, our continent. He recognised though that most of us come from other cultures and that it might take time for one to adapt to the Latin American culture and hence develop interest for this kind of apostolate but that does not impede one who feels has the zeal to work with this kind of apostolate to start even as early as formation stage.

{mosimage} He also took the opportunity to comment on the Continental Assembly that was held here in São Paulo in January this year. He said that the assembly discussed the challenges mentioned above and came to a conclusion that the best way to face the challenge is to get involved actively at the level of the local churches that is, try to be involved in the pastoral activities of the continent especially Youths, Indegenous and Afro-American continental meetings. He mentioned that in the coming days, the Institute is going to hold its first Continental meeting about Afro- American apostolate in Venezuela. He called upon some representatives of the two Latin American theological seminaries to participate in this meeting, and even after the meeting, continue participating in this apostolates at the local levels.

Like the other councillors, Fr. Antonio mentioned that formation is one of the great preocupations of the Institute at the moment. He recomended that formation be done in such a manner that it responds to the demands of the contemporary world. He continued to say that during our formation, we have to identify ourselves with the Institute, feel with the institute, help the Institute to grow in all aspects. And above all have zeal for the missions because that is what we are being formed for: to be Consolata Missionaries.

Its the first time that the first group is going to have the experience of the year of service. About this year, he said that its going to an enriching period therefore those going to start it should go with an open heart, ready to learn and ready to put into pratice all that they have learnt during fomation, contribute with new theological ideas. He also said that its not just the duty of the formator but all the missionaries of the region to try to help the young men who will be doing this year.

Talking directly to the those in the year of theology, Fr. Antonio encouraged them to write their thesis, saying that by so doing, they will be contributing intellectually to the Insitute. He who does not write the thesis is being unjust to the Institute and benefactors who see to it that we study and mark you most of them are poor people who sacrifice the little they have for our sake. And for those who are still behind, its time they started thinking of the areas they want to write on. Preferably, try to be in line with the pastoral work and especially the preferencial areas of the Institute in Latin América; social movements, the poor, Afro-american, indegenous, inter religious dialogue. That way a student will be contributing cientifically for the good of the instiute. “We need you, we need your help in the missions of Latin American!!”he concluded.


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