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Meeting of CEA in Picpus (Brs)

As customary every year, the Conference of Europe and Africa (CEA) gathers for a few days in one of the Provinces of Europe. This year we met at Picpus in the Pierre Coudrin Community from Tuesday 20 May to Friday 23 May. Derek Laverty led the meeting brilliantly as usual. The program was plentiful but we could finish as early as Thursday afternoon.

We listened to the presentation of the situation of each Province. Then we discussed the highlights of each. Provinces of Iberia and France shared about their respective Provincial Chapter implemented last March. The International Community to be installed in Leuven in July 2014 took quite a portion, as well as the recent canonical visitation of the Province of Poland. Jean-Blaise Mwanda, Provincial of Africa, shared with us the new configuration of communities in Mozambique and Kinshasa, hoping to support of about fifteen postulants.

We were encouraged and supported by Alberto Toutin who represented the General Government. Alberto returned to our questions about the new community of Louvain, stating that the General Government put in place the community as the project was decreed in the last General Chapter of 2012.

Thursday afternoon was a time for meeting, sharing and discovery outside Picpus. We responded positively to the invitation of the SS.CC. Sisters Community for lunch. Afterward we visited St. Gabriel Parish, in particular the new rooms  at the Parish Centre on 81, rue de la Plaine. It was a guided tour by Fr. Alphonse Fraboulet, the parish priest of St. Gabriel. The new community that will move in on 1 September 2014 has a place and a new rectory for a mission full of hope. After visiting house no.81 we continued on to St. Gabriel Church.

On June 1, the parish will celebrate its 100 years of the presence of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, to be presided by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Mgr André Vingt-trois.

Then we joined the "Collège des Bernardins" in the 5th district of Paris. The place was recently acquired by the Diocese of Paris to be a cultural place for church meetings as well as group meetings. The tour was guided by the Superior of the St Augustine Homes who is in Picpus, Fr Gérard Pelletier. From the "top to bottom" he showed us the medieval architecture of this high place, entirely renovated, where Pope Benedict XVI delivered the famous speech on the Christian culture of Europe during his visit to France in 2008.

After that we were restored in a district little-known by members of CEA, the Mouffetard neighborhood, where we went to St Marcel church to watch Gospel singing by Pic'pulse of Réseau-Picpus, a group under the direction of Fr. Serge Gougbèmon, ss.cc., the superior of Pierre Coudrin community.

It was an afternoon and evening full of discoveries for the eyes and ears! Thank you to Pierre Coudrin community that has made this possible for the success of the Conference of Major Superiors of Europe-Africa .

Enrique,  Jean-Blaise,  Piotr,  Heinz -Josef,  Christian,  Derek,  Juliaan