Vic, Spain. This year’s Formator’s course has gone a long way already. It began in preparing them to have a good discernment; then a deepening of the autobiography of our Father Founder and know the most important places in his early years; studies on congregational history followed. After the historical part it went to an extension of what was already known about the constitutions; and ended with the theme on interculturality, which characterizes us as brothers in the Congregation.
At this moment, they are now looking into the martyrial dimension which moves them deeply to look at our charismatic roots and to try to live what they have chosen to be in their lives. Citing number 77 of our Constitutions, “He (the Prefect) should aim at bringing them, more by example than by words, to embrace our way of life out of an inner conviction of faith.”
To know the life of our Martyrs, is to recognize the magnificent work that those who accompanied them carried out in their process of growth in the faith and in their configuration in Christ. They wanted to take their lives, but they in return donated it, deeply convinced of God’s love for them and their neighbor. Of the 51 Martyrs of Barbastro, 41 of them were young people between 25 and 21 years old; and with great conviction and living faith they expressed: “We all die happy with no regrets or feel faint; we all die praying to God that the blood that falls from our wounds will not be shed in vengeance, but blood that enters red and alive through your veins, stimulates your progress and expansion in the world” (Letter of Faustino).
The life offered by our brother Martyrs, with his love for the Congregation and for God’s call to follow Him, invites each formator to be in his life a faithful and generous witness of the love of God so that others, seeing their lives, can find the merciful love of God the Father, by which we must live our lives. In other words, his life must be a perennial Gospel.
Vic, Spain. With great joy and expectation, on April 3 began the School of the Heart of Mary for Formators of 2018, in the Claretian Spirituality Center in Vic. In this course, 18 participants come from different Major Organisms: Antilles (1), Brazil (3), Central America (2), Colombia-Ecuador (1), Colombia-Venezuela (2), Deutschland (2), Equatorial Guinea (2), Mexico (1), Portugal (2) and San José del Sur (2). We have the grace that, among the participants, there are three Brothers from the Antilles, Colombia-Ecuador and Mexico.
This formation course actually began in January, but online, with the accompaniment of some missionaries responsible for the process of each of the participants. This first part ended in the second week of March, before starting Holy Week. Now, in this actual part, it is about reinforcing what has been seen from the virtual platform.
The Chapter Document “CPR” (Claretian in Process of Renewal – Document of the XX General Chapter, year 1985) reads in number 49: “The greatest wealth of the Congregation is the people, each one of them is valuable because of what he has of autobiographical and non-transferable. ” To put the person of the Claretian Missionary at the center of interest is to pretend the best for each one. A Congregation that cares about its members is an Institute that wants to be healthy.
The proposal to give the best of each one of those who come to our Congregation has to do with the idea of preparing, in the best way possible, those who will have the task of leading the new Claretian Missionaries towards the missionary life. where they should meet Jesus of Nazareth.
Like Mary, the Heart of Mary School aims that those who do not only limit themselves to give to others of what has been learned … but, better still and as it says number 73 of our Constitutions, it is for be more mature every day and deeply aware of their own vocation, learn from experience, in the midst of changes in the world, to live firmly and constantly united to Christ, according to our charism.
Condongcatur, Indonesia. The Scholastics Community of the Independent Delegation of Indonesia – Timor Leste held a seminar on Friday, 1st December with the theme Missionary: Worship, Walk, Accompany (A Way of Living Christian Missionary Vocation in Digital Era), presented by Fr. Nikolaus Ilan, CMF, MaTh, Prefect of Formation of the Delegation.
In this seminar, Fr. Niko emphasized the meaning of being a missionary who dares to play in the challenges of the times. “We are missionaries,” the first and last words of the 2015 document chapter, “speaks on itself its content and meaning because all Christians are called to be missionaries. Not only religious people but also all the people” he said.
Fr. Niko, from Lewotaa, stated that the problem is that the presence of digital technology changes the community, it causes a spiritual decline in society. The society is now characterized by the spirits of consumerism, privatization of religion, and individualism. These spirits lead people to act as they will. It is in this context that the Prefect invited the participants to see the reality of the world with missionary sunglasses: “The eyes of a missionary should be very sharp to see the shrill reality.”
Moreover, Fr. Niko also invited the participants to be missionaries who worship, walk, accompany. “The missionary call of a Christian is to be a missionary whoworships, walks, accompanies. Worship is a celebration of submission and a statement of willingness before the Most High. ‘Walking’ is a pilgrimage and a mission. Pilgrimage shapes the quality of life, the mission is a noble task that must be done in order to become a true missionary. To ‘accompany’ is to build a fraternal network and form the communion of God’s people.From the puddles of the digital age, we must think of something new as a missionary framework.
The participants who attended the seminar were participated by those who live around the monastery and the monks and nuns. The seminar that lasted for three hours was moderated by Sch. Angga Usfal, CMF, guided by the master of ceremony Sch. Kalixtus Kapistrano, CMF. Sch. Bertho, CMF, and friends rendered songs to the participants to refresh the atmosphere.
Nekede, Nigeria. The inauguration of the 2017/2018 academic year as well as the 11th matriculation ceremony of students of Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Maryland, Nekede, Owerri, Nigeria took place on Saturday, December 9, 2017. The event began with an inaugural Mass at 9:00 am, which was presided over by the newly appointed Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Dachelem, Cmf, who is also an alumnus of Claretian Institute of Philosophy (C.I.P). Present at the mass were the Rector of CIP, Rev. Fr. Prof. Ejiogu E.Amaku, Cmf; the Academic Dean, Rev. Fr. Henry Ebo, Cmf; the Provincial Prefect of Formation, East Nigeria Province, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Oguejiofor, Cmf, and other members of the academic staff. In his homily, Bishop Hilary Dachelem expressed gratitude to the past and present lecturers of CIP and emphasised that what he is today is a result of the intellectual and moral formation he received from the institute.
After the Eucharistic celebration, the matriculating students assembled in front of the statute of the Madonna for a procession to the auditorium for the matriculation ceremony. The matriculating students led the procession followed by lecturers of CIP and academic officers from the mother university, Imo State University, Nigeria, to which CIP is affiliated.
The matriculation ceremony began with an opening prayer said by Most Rev. Hilary Dachelem, Cmf, after which both the rector of the institute and representative of the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Uwaoma gave their welcome and opening addresses respectively. The Rector in his address enumerated some of the many opportunities CIP offers, which are not obtainable in other higher institutions of learning. They include serene atmosphere for learning, sound moral formation of her students, academic excellence, development of entrepreneurial skills and creativity in students, qualified lecturers and so many others.
The matriculating students totalled a hundred and eight. Out of this number, twelve are from East Nigeria Province and eight from the West Independent Delegation; the rest come from other congregations and external lay students. After the rector’s address, the matriculating students took an oath of loyalty to both the university and the institute and the representative of the vice chancellor, Prof. Uwaoma admitted them as bona fide students of CIP. The institute presented awards of academic excellence to the best three students of each class. Claretian seminarians took six out of the nine awards given.
The students presented cultural displays to colour the ceremony. The students’ representative, Okereke Kelechi, Cmf gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the students. The event ended with a closing prayer, said by Rev. Fr. Dr Chrysanthus Ogbozo, Cmf. The Vice Chancellor, officials of Imo State University, Staff of CIP and the matriculating students then processed out of the auditorium.
Leioa, Spain. From 17 to 19 November, ten of the young Claretians in Europe gathered together at the Atalaia Claret residential house in Leioa, Biscay, Basque Country, for the annual Quinquennio on-going formation. Present were: Miguel Alvarez Nieto, Gabriel Ponce Carpintero, and Alejandro Suárez Rosales of the Province of Bética; Yohanes Benjitu Bareto and Dion Paskalis Nandut of the Province of Catalunya; Robert Essougou, Aimé Césaire Metena of the Delegation of France; Louie Guades III and Mario Kevin Armijo of the General Houses in Rome; and Iñaki San Nicolás Guimón of the Province of Euskal Herria. Present also were José Ramon Sanz, Prefect of Formation of Santiago and the Provincials of France, Pierre Zanga and of Euskal Herria, Mateo Larrauri. This year’s topic was focused on the ministry to the poor and the excluded. And the main theme was: “Poverty and Marginalization: Keys to Evangelical Responses – Love not in word but in deed.”
The program was divided into two parts – theoretical and practical. For the theoretical part, two resource persons were invited: Fr. Martin Iriberri, SJ and Fr. Agustín Ortiz, CMF. Both of them gave an overview of the reality of poverty and marginalization in the area. And for the practical part, the group visited the Claret Enea located in the City of Bilbao and spoke with some of those who are staying in the shelter house. Then the group, together with some students of Claret School of Askartza, visited some of the homeless who are wandering, begging along the Gran Via of Bilbao. They even gave a birthday present to one of the homeless whose name is Lorenzo. A creative prayer at the community chapel of Claret Enea ended the day.
On Sunday, 19th of November, World Day of the Poor, two homeless, Franc from Nigeria and Fleming from Belgium, gave their testimonies and experiences of being homeless, wanderers, anonymous, unemployed and poor. The participants had the chance to listen and interact with them. The two joined the group in celebrating the Mass for the World Day of the Poor and in the lunch prepared in the community of Leioa.
The young Claretians of ECLA were faithful to the invitation of Father General to celebrate the World Day of the Poor in the best way possible, and responded faithfully to the invitation of Pope Francis in loving not only in words but in deed.
Wardha, India. The Claretian Ashram College of Philosophy in Sawangi (Meghe) Wardha, Maharashtra, had two intense activities these past weeks. One was in view of the Beatification of our 109 brother martyrs and the other was the closing of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Xifre.
Long-term preparations were dedicated to both activities. Weeks before the beatification, the biography of one martyr are posted on their notice board daily to animate the community in their martyrial spirituality, daily liturgical prayers and other reflections. Other materials such as the Circular of Father General on the martyrs and letters from their Provincial were also given as additional sources in rejuvenating the Claretian Missionary and Martyrial Spirit in each one of the students.
On the beatification day, they had a very solemn Eucharistic celebration in the morning, in which their neighboring religious communities, friends and well-wishers were present who were amused of the fact that our Congregation has more than 180 martyrs.
On the other hand, with regards to the Xifre Year celebration, they have started the preparations one month before. They were provided with materials on Fr. Joseph Xifre and were encouraged to present the summary of their readings and their own personal reflections. Then they had three days of special prayer sessions in the evening together with rosary and other church prayers. And the documentary “Father Xifre, Missionary by Profession” was shown to make the students more acquainted with Fr. Joseph Xifre
In the morning of the 3rd of November, they had the solemn Eucharistic celebration in which they thank the Lord for the gift of Fr. Joseph Xifre to our beloved congregation. In the evening of the same day, they had a 2-hour long symposium on the theme “The Impact and Contributions of Fr. Joseph Xifre”. Six papers were presented by the students on the following themes:
Joseph Xifre: From Peasant boy to Priest and the Co-founder of the Congregation.
Joseph Xifre: The First Elected Superior General of the Congregation.
Joseph Xifre: A Missionary by Profession.
Joseph Xifre and the Missionary Expansion of our Congregation.