January 6, 2023 | DAY FOUR: We want to move forward as a Province
By Br. Daniele Caglioni, A.A -Secretary of the Chapter
We began our fourth day of Chapter with meetings by region, in which we shared insights and impressions that have stood out to us over these days of discussing many themes: mission, internationality, the Lay-Religious Alliance, vocation ministry, and leadership. It was important for us to meet in smaller groups, because each region (U.S./Canada and Mexico) may have different perspectives due to different cultural and societal realities. Both groups focused much of their attention on vocation ministry. We asked ourselves how we can be more visible in our societies both as individuals and as collective communities. Furthermore, we wondered how we could more effectively coordinate our vocation efforts throughout the Province so as to have a more coherent message and witness. We need to share ideas about vocation ministry and remind ourselves that no one is alone in this effort. When it comes to engaging with young people, the U.S./Canada group discussed creating a renewed intentional community at Assumption University in which young men can live and share life with a few young religious. For their part, the brothers in Mexico discussed revitalizing their online presence and streamlining their online engagement with young people.
Both regions also contributed to a passionate discussion of the nature of the Lay-Religious Alliance as part of our large group sharing. After it was suggested that we might broaden the term “Lay Assumptionist,” we realized that there were different paths of engagement with our mission in each of our regions. In Mexico, there are several lay projects in the region that have the name “Assumptionist” attached to them but do not really communicate Assumptionist spirituality. Our brothers there will organize a meeting with their lay partners to discuss this matter more concretely.
Fr. Irvin Santiago Martinez, A.A celebrated the day’s liturgy. In reference to the day’s Gospel, he observed that in today’s world, mankind has encountered much orphanhood. He reminded us of God the Father’s call for all of us to become His children. We too must make an interior “pilgrimage to the Jordan” like Jesus, receive the Father’s blessing, and live from that grace.
The afternoon began with a discussion of our identity as a Province, spearheaded by our Structures Subcommittee. Following a thorough presentation, the committee proposed that we retain our identity as a Province. Our Province, they stated, meets the necessary criteria for this designation: membership, ability to animate the Province, and financial autonomy). They acknowledged, however, that we still will need to make some serious decisions in the immediate future about how we form future leaders so that they can effectively grow our mission and fraternal life. We need to work more collaboratively within this structure and be prepared to be flexible as our own societies change. Many also expressed a fear that enlarging Provinces to cover whole continents would complicate governance and would affect our internationality and interculturality. This proposal to remain a Province was unanimously approved.
The afternoon’s final session focused on a review of our financial situation and health as a Province. We acknowledged the effects of the pandemic on our finances (many ministries had to temporarily cease), but we do have financial resources that have kept us helped us during this time. The question many brothers posed across all regions was how we can all discover new sources of revenue for our communities. How can new leadership create specialized ministries that can help to sustain our Province? This new leadership, furthermore, needs to be trained to take on responsibilities (like local treasurer) that may be more technical. We also acknowledged that we should not be afraid to rely on our parishes for financial support; this is a way for them to be partners in building God’s Kingdom.
In the spirit of the Epiphany, which was celebrated today in Mexico, Maria Carmen graciously gave all the capitulants little goodie bags J Gracias, Maria Carmen!
Tomorrow, our discussions will touch upon the patrimony of our Province, its Mission Co-Op program, and we will need to begin planning for the General Chapter.
Enjoy more pictures from day four here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/M2PcaNMSxaGj97rR9