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Conclusion of the Canonical Visit to Colombia (Brs)

The Canonical Visitation of the General Government to the Vice Province of Colombia, conducted by Javier Álvarez-Ossorio and Alberto Toutin, ended on June 23rd.

The visitors had met with 19 brothers: 14 in Colombia (1 in exclaustration situation), and 5 in Puerto Rico. The brothers make up 5 Local communities and work mainly in two schools, 6 parishes, and Fr. Damien Foundation (which is responsible for several kindergartens in Bogota). There have also been meetings with the SSCC sisters (in Medellin and Bogotá), with the bishops of Neiva and San Juan de Puerto Rico, and with lay groups involved in parishes, schools and the Foundation.

In the concluding meeting, Javier and Alberto noted some achievements of the Vice-Province: improvement of community life; remarkable clarification of economic and legal issues; service of authority, which affects more successfully in the life of the brothers; the taste and appreciation of the brothers on being among the poor; organization of the Vocation Ministry;  work with the sisters in some places; and the fact of having made possible the continuation of the mission of the Congregation in Puerto Rico.

As challenges they noted, among others, the following: resuming personal prayer and the ministry of Adoration; overcoming wounds through a more positive attitude toward the brothers; combatting against clerical individualism that threatens us; deepening of economic solidarity; delving further into the margins; and dialoguing between brothers on the relationship with their immediate families.

Similarly were presented some tasks that must be performed without much delay, having to do with the composition of communities of at least three members; establishment of legal contracts with people who work with us; reducing the number of parishes that are served ever since postulancy; organization of schools; and attention to some specific brothers.

Finally, a summary of the answers was given by the brothers to the questions about the project to erect a province together with Peru, Ecuador and Colombia (including Puerto Rico) was presented. The brothers are overwhelmingly in favor of the project. They were asked to deepen some specific points, such as the stages of initial formation, the model of government, the way to manage the funds and the local vocations promotion.