“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.
The visitation of Fr. Bernie Luna, the General Councillor for Asia has provided an opportunity for the members in India to come together to reflection on the proceedings of 19th Chapter of our Society and to deliberate and make resolutions for the immediate concerns of our Missions and Formation Centres in the synodal spirit of Communion, Participation and Mission of the Society and the Church at large. Hence, a semi-annual assembly was convened by the Local Leadership in India from 28th of August to 30th of August 2022 so as to be together praying and discerning the will of God and the common good of our Society.
The first session of the day was spent in prayer and reflection, thanking God for his immense blessings and graces in all our Missions and Formation Centres and concluded it praying for the grace of enlightenment and guidance in our deliberations.
It was then followed by a presentation of the 19th Chapter’s resolutions by the delegates. The whole day was dedicated for deliberations and discussions on the implications of the Chapter’s resolutions for Missions and Formation Centres in India. A number of questions and clarifications were raised and discussed at length throughout the day.
The second day was begun with the discussions on the matters arising from the Annual Assembly held in the month of March 2022. This in fact stirred up many concerns on the future of the Society, concerns on the proper legal procurement of the properties of the Society in our Missions and the challenges of working together as a team in Missions and Formation Centres, the need of Safe-guarding measures and the policy of Protocol in India and above all the financial sustainability of the Society in India. It is here that Fr. Bernie spoke at length to the members gathered of the urgency and the importance of raising the local income in our Missions through various means like mass intentions, collections, offerings, family contributions, produce of the lands owned by the missions etc and even the Formation Centres to be honest in recording the mass stipends and recollections and talks given outside the Formation Centres so as to take up the collective responsibility of securing the sustainability of our Missions and Formation Centres in order to become self-reliant in some little ways by reminding the members the words of St. Francis who said that “Start doing what is NECESSARY, then do what is POSSIBLE and suddenly you are doing the IMPOSSIBLE”.
In the afternoon, the Local Formtors Meeting was convened in the presence of Fr. Bernie Luna where we reflected on the resolutions of the 19th Chapter on Formation. Members appreciated the idea of separating the Basic Formation Centres in order to ensure the integrity of the programme and to give a solid spiritual foundation to the candidates discerning their call to the missionary way of life. Members then moved on to sharing the updates of Formation Centres and various concerns.
The presence of Fr. Emmanuel Nzenze from Cameroon was acknowledged and appreciated the Society’s efforts to ensure that our Formation Centres maintain the face of the International team spirit at the level of the staffing the Formation Centres while reminding ourselves and the leadership to ensure that our 1st Cycle Formation Centre at Karunapuram also needs to be looked into in order to have an international team of staff members and above all made a strong recommendation of physical separation of the BFC from 1st Cycle.
The two days programme was concluded by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Bernie Luna who in his homily reminded members of the need to be grateful for many blessings we’ve received from God and encouraged members to forgive one another and to let go of and appreciate the good things that each member contributes so that learning to work together may foster the bonds of fraternal unity and brotherly collaboration so that we could hand on the great legacy of our Society’s contribution to the future generations. Above all, he insisted on the need of being men prayer for that is what sets us apart from others so as to base all that we do on the spiritual foundation.
Tomvenki Yellavula, MHM
Rector of 2nd Cycle – Pune.