To the Promoting Group, at the end of the meeting
of the General Direction
Dear brothers and sisters,
This meeting of the General Direction in Madrid fills us with satisfaction when realizing that in fact we grow every year in the ability to dialogue, to delve into the spirituality that makes us more human, and in the discovery of an increasingly liberating knowledge of Jesus. We really felt accompanied by the whole Group. We received fraternal messages from America, Latin and Northern Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. We were accompanied during these days by Maite and María del Mar, from the Spanish Group; Silvano and Ilaria visited us from Italy, and so did José and Luisa from Puerto Rico.
Our experience of the Second Itinerary
The most intense experience we had in our first four days here was that of the Second Itinerary. We paid a visit to the city of Toledo. It is extraordinary because it is a city where the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, coexisted for almost fifteen hundred years. That confirmed the riches when these diverse expressions of faith are integrated.
We are on the way; in fact, halfway between the two Cenacles (2015-2019). It is time, according to our tradition, to discern our personal decision regarding belonging to the Promoting Group, as the Rule of Life requires from us. It is something that we expect all the members to do promptly and with the greatest possible awareness. We will offer some guiding questions, not for the purpose of developing a statistical report, but rather to contemplate in depth, personally, and also as members of this Group, looking ahead in an ongoing attitude of discernment.
Our general situation in view of the Plan
We have reviewed the progress of the General Plan in the levels of Apostolic Promotion, Promotion of Persons and Group, Internal Services and External Relations. This Promoting Group has been revising itself for several Cenacles now, in accord with our times. In the last Cenacle we agreed on a few steps of renewal through the experience of the Itineraries of spirituality. Where these steps have been taken properly, there has already emerged a strong revitalizing impulse. Several Local Groups are still to undertake this step. Some are experiencing restlessness in facing the current crises and the weakness of their Local Group.
Nevertheless, most of the Groups are aware of the value of the Convivenzas and are conducting them with true commitment despite the separation of great distance between members and other limitations. Some Groups have grown, while others continue with a minimum number of members. You will receive the specific facts and statistics in the next edition of the Sharing.
Communication from our life experience
We dream of a more agile Group through its processes of participation. In the General Direction we are living and enjoying it: every month and without fail, the five members meet for several hours through “Skype”, practising the attentive process of listening, validating the charism and appreciating the contribution of each one. When the face-to-face meetings occur, we relate to each other through our efforts towards equal and inclusive relations, much richer and more productive each and every time. The General Direction is working towards a future where meetings will be ever more open to the participation of all. This will be achieved through a rapidly increasing accessibility to media and social networks now available to the majority of our members. We have, in fact, adopted the platform that the Spanish Group has put at our disposal so that the participants of the Itineraries can download the materials and be accompanied in real time in different languages. This entire technical process will be completed over coming months. That blog will replace our previous internet site. You are able to visit the page (in Spanish for now) and start exploring what has been placed there: www.porunmundomejor.com
We intend to publish again a new version of “Sharing“ once a year, and “Sharing Life”, in the months of February, April, August and November, commencing this August. We congratulate the members of ALAN and CONSAL, who, since the past Cenacle have been constantly chatting with each other through “Whatsapp”. These media (and others such as YouTube, for example), when incorporated, will enhance our development as a Group. Some of you already use them: let us share these experiences!
Discerning our belonging to the Group: a task to be done between Cenacles
At this point, half way between Cenacles, we feel, as an urgent necessity, that we convene in the Local Groups in order to:
- call to mind the personal situation of each person, in view of the challenges we face;
- exercise ourselves in experiencing life, in such a way that we can answer the following questions: what is my situation, what difficulties and concerns do I encounter in my life or in the service I perform?;
- question ourselves personally: to what extent am I giving answers to those challenges? (the actual experience, not a theoretical interpretation);
- consider: in which particular aspect and how can we grow as Local Groups?
We invite you to write down the answers to this exercise in a narrative way (i.e. the story of your experience), not merely as planning, but as contemplation, looking into the heart, willing to include the images and expressions of emotions and choices that emanate from the depth of your being. It is hoped that it will be shared in the Local Groups and at the end we invite you to write a narrative and to exchange it at the international level. This will become part of the renewed vision of the Group, after we listen carefully to each other.
Decide to live following the steps of the renewed Itineraries
The focus of our General Plan is the renewal of our Group from the charism which inspires it. The result has been the emergence, after dozens of experiences in several countries, of three Itineraries:
(1) “Listening to the signs of the times” (which leads us to “take possession” of our life in the midst of today’s world),
(2) “Jesus, the way, the truth and the life” (which allows us to see how Jesus himself made his own way and became the permanent reference for a believer who journeys towards the fullness of life),
(3) “Walking towards a better world” (which brings us back to our day to day life in order to transform it and so lead us to a new humanity,
Once again we encourage all the Groups to use the Convivenzas as privileged moments for living these renewed itineraries. Indications, texts and basic resources are available, and in the coming months, before the end of the year, we expect to have them translated into the three official languages (Spanish, English, French). The Third Itinerary is currently undergoing experimentation; therefore, as has been the practice with the other two Itineraries, it will be available to the entire Promoting Group after that experimental period, within the next year. We expect to produce the translations into the official languages, and also into Polish and Korean, with the help of the Groups of those countries.
Since it is not just a matter of “receiving a Guide” and “complying” with applying it, we have to train ourselves by exercising first. We will accompany this effort from the General Direction along with other collaborators in the direct animation in the countries where we are and in our respective Areas. We look forward to a close accompaniment in the English-speaking groups and in America. The platforms of the media will assist us considerably. Likewise, ongoing support will be offered in the next issues of “Sharing Life”. The Convivenzas are privileged moments for this: let’s take advantage of them!
We reflected thoroughly on the situation of the Groups that dedicate themselves to the Projects for years now. How can we validate their contributions, while simultaneously promoting a revision of that aspect of the Apostolic Promotion? Over the past days we have listed some first criteria to be implemented. The Groups of Colombia and Mexico are already evaluating their many experiences. This will become part of the general process of evaluation of the projects. As agreed in the Cenacle, we will invite all those who accompany the projects from the various countries to join in this effort.
The administrative issue
The process of selling the International Centre continues, with two companies that are managing the sale in Italy. The Centre is currently closed, except for services of the International Secretariat.
The Ordinary Cenacle has been postponed until August 23, and by that date you should receive the report from the previous year and also the current year´s budget, as is our custom. We are determined to be totally transparent. We remain in a critical economic situation, thus we express our deepest gratitude to the Groups and Areas which provide ongoing support to the International Service at this critical moment. The “Fondazione Mondo Migliore” (Foundation for a Better World) is active; its Board of Directors has been renewed and we approved its placement under the oversight of the Italian Group. They are considering a change of its name to “Foundation Father Riccardo Lombardi”.
- The Pontifical Council for the Laity, to which we belonged up until now, has been restructured by the Church and is now named as: “Dicasterium for the Laity, Family and Life”. The General Direction has already taken part in some meetings at the invitation of the Secretary of the Dicasterium. We have been invited to promote and collaborate the events that are scheduled on Family and Youth, for the whole Church around the world in 2018 and 2019. Details regarding these events will reach you over coming months.
- The Italian Group took up an idea that remain to be addressed after the previous Cenacle: namely, the Symposium on Father Lombardi. Historians Andrea Riccardi and Gianni La Bella, along with Father Federico Lombardi, plan to publish a new book on the life and impact of Father Lombardi, derived from his diary. Ilaria, our secretary, has managed to make copies totalling 13,500 pages of the said diary, and it is possible that the publication might be ready before the Cenacle, and as an immediate preparation for it.
- On the way to the Cenacle we will discern the renewal of the structure of the General Direction as well as the improvement of the election process, both before and during the Cenacle. We ask you to take note of the proposals that we will share with you over coming months.
- Carlos Solá will attend the United Nations this year, as we continue to be present in that forum.
- There is a possibility of starting a new Local Group in Nigeria. Let us pray for that intention!
- Likewise, we are pleased to welcome into our Group four new members presented by the Group of Spain: Bernat Sanchis and María José Serrano; Antonio García and Luisa González. They are the fruit of the Itineraries lived these years in Spain. Welcome!
Father Ignacio González Llopis becomes our new General Director.
We regret to bid farewell to our General Director, Fr. Feliciano Rodríguez. Recently his newly appointed Bishop has asked him to leave office and has assigned him to new tasks in his Diocese. We appreciate his hard work over the past ten years, and we pray for success in his new designation. Fr. Feliciano will continue to collaborate within his Local Group and also in those services designated by the General Direction at the international level. Our Statutes (Art. 9-a) determine that in these cases, the Vice-director will perform the duties of the Director. The number of members of the GD will remain the same until the next election within the Pastoral Cenacle. Therefore, we warmly welcome Father Ignacio González Llopis as our new General Director. May the Lord continue to guide him and may we support, in unity, the service that he so generously assumes.
The Cenacle of 2015 proposed us the image of the backpack of the walkers. Let us continue walking, each one in his/her own life and with a transforming love, so strong, as to make possible a better world!
The General Direction