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Conclusion of the Canonical Visitation to the Province of Chile-Argentina

The canonical visitation of members of the General Government (Jean Blaise Mwanda and Fernando Cordero) to the Province of Chile-Argentina took place from June 25 to August 6, 2022.  On 6 August, at the end of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter, the Fernando and Jean Blaise shared their report with the brothers of the Province in Santiago de Chile gathered in assembly.

They began with some words taken from the Letter to the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always; I tell you again, rejoice" (4:4) adding how they would like this to be the central message of their report, an invitation to experience the profound joy that springs from faith and comes from giving one's life to following Christ. The visitors have sensed the different challenges and difficulties that the Province is going through, framed in the journey that the Chilean Church is making, hence this invitation to joy takes on a second meaning in the midst of possible fatigue, darkness or disillusionment. However, although we anchor ourselves in the present, looking to the future, recognition is given to the pillars of history and spirituality that have been lived in the Province since the foundation of the first house in Valparaiso. A province cannot forget its roots. And this province show the richness of a line of sscc brothers who have left their mark on the building of the community. They are, without a doubt, a spiritual source for the inner self from which it can drink in daily life. Perhaps the most relevant figure is that of Father Esteban Gumucio. However, his luminous figure is accompanied by that of several other brothers who have marked the history of the Province. A history that is not only its heritage but that of the whole Congregation.

At the same time, the variety of pastoral services carried out by the Province is striking, given the ever-decreasing number of brothers.  This speaks of zeal for the mission in the style of the Founder, the Good Father. In addition to the works that the Province support in schools, parishes, sscc patronage, centres of youth ministry, provincial services, the formation of the laity, we must also highlight some other types of activities that involve a dialogue with culture, society and current challenges such as the Antoine Knibily art gallery "The Color of Prayer", work with migrants in Concepción, participation in Conferre, theological research, marriage encounters, the pastoral care of sexual diversity (Padis), religious dances and music, handicraft work and the chaplaincy of La Moneda.

Alongside a number of values, such as caring for the brothers, challenges have also been identified, among which the visitors highlighted the following:

- Renewing the Common Project.

In a shaken and wounded Church, in which the Congregation in Chile participates, it is necessary to renew the common project. Plunged in the breach of abuses, there is pain and sorrow that do not give life to the Province itself, but rather takes away energy and, above all, one’s convictions are left languishing.  This is why it is really necessary that the brothers sit down, listen to each other, talk and make common choices, committing themselves to the common project with courage and creativity.

All this implies a change of culture, following processes of evaluation and common discernment, comparing notes and questioning the laity. This is not possible without the question: What does the Province want to work on together? There is the risk of losing the ability to work with others, as a team, hence the call to be enthusiastic about the common project, which involves decentralising one’s tasks, and being really open to the other and to the provincial community. This objective can only be achieved out of a sense of deep and true fraternity. May we all be brothers who look out for others.

Restructuring.

Most of the brothers recognise that there is a decrease in the number of members of the Province, but that the volume of works and activities remains the same as when the number of religious was considerably greater. At the same time, new ways of running the works are emerging with the participation of the laity in the management of the works. This avenue of lay work, to be explored further, can provide a new way of being present in our works. The laity is inviting the Province: "count on them". That is, the laity say they want to be part of the reflection and discernment within the discernment process.

However, we believe that a joint discernment is needed to carry out a restructuring of the Province that favors community life, the care of our own brothers and a better service to the mission.

The figure of Esteban Gumucio can be both motivating and, in the end, stimulate the Province to take advantage of all the gifts that the Lord gives to the sscc brothers in Chile-Argentina:

I like this road

and this land

and this time and these men,

my brothers.

I like these hands

that you gave me.

I like You, my God,

who said to me

"come"...

 

Cllick here for a link to the photo album: https://bit.ly/3Ouckpp

08/09/2022