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General Chapter 2016 – Thursday, June 30

Thursday, June 30th

„How many times during these first months of the Jubilee we’ve heard about the deeds of mercy! Today the Lord encourages us to make a serious examination of conscience. We should never forget that the mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life. A person can either be merciful or unmerciful. It’s a lifestyle I choose. I decide to live as a merciful or an unmerciful man. It’s one thing to speak of mercy, but it’s another to live mercy“ – with these words Pope Francis began his catechesis during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, in which we also took part.

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It was an unforgetable experience and a great joy to gather around the Holy Father together with an enormous number of pilgrims from all around the world: young seminarians from Lebanon and Syria, many religious people, families and parishes‘ members. Openess, kindness, cordiality, enthusiasm of faith – are all a testimony that the Gospel is for everyone, and „mercy has eyes to see, and ears to hear, and hands to help stand up“. „Whoever doesn’t live to serve, doesn’t serve to live!“ – said the Pope.

During our afternoon session we had a pleasure to meet Fr. Pier Luigi Nava, SMM, who talked to us on a topic of „Re-organization of the Institute: Mission as vision of the future“. As a starting point for his presentation Father used an excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13). Offering a context of today’s situation of different Congregations (such as multiculturality and internationality) and mentioning the documents such as Evengelii Gaudium, Spe Salvi, Communionis notio, Starting afresh from Christ, Vita Consecrata, etc.) to point out a need to reorganize the structures, he directed our attention towards:

  • Interdependence between the charism, the mission and the organization of an institute. Reorganization always serves the communion and the mission which are “the work to which He has called us” (Acts 13,2), with the objective of proclamation of Salvation. This mission is a space within the charism which is a God’s gift shared with the others and given to the community. This means that reorganization is a place of free grace. The mission in a given country, province, region or delegature is connected with its culture. However, there is a danger that a unit may become self-referential. But the mission is universal and the reorganization comes from within the Church.
  • A way of understanding and practicing authority which does not come from this world but which is of an evangelical source. Coming from the current situation, a direction towards the future is a new model of organizing and practicing authority. It relies on going back to the mission, as well as sharing the resources and authority at the service of community. “The future can no longer be faced in isolation” (Starting afresh from Christ, 30).
  • Some indications for the future: lighting of the charism because it means a realization of a reason to start living a new life. Motivation is rooted in grace. Another insight is to make the system flexible because a rigid system leads to monopolization. Then we say: “these are my sisters, our hospitals, our works”, whereas mission and work to which we are called by the Lord is the proclamation of Salvation which is universal. Therefore governance in a religious community should be practiced not from the position of power, but the position of community because “rather they are gifts of the Spirit integrated into the body of the Church, drawn to the center which is Christ (EG 130).