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Meeting of the Europe - Africa Conference (CEA) (brothers)


The CEA held its annual meetings in Werne, in the provincial house of Germany. The treasurers met from 23 to 25 April and the superiors (provincial and delegates) from 25 to 28 April. The morning of the 25th was dedicated to a joint meeting in which the treasurers presented their conclusions and suggestions to the superiors.

At the meeting of the treasurers, the participants were: Michael Ruddy (provincial of Ireland-England and coordinator of the CEA), Raja Sebastian (General Treasurer), Raúl Valverde (former treasurer of Africa), Vicente Arnés (treasurer of Iberia), Alex Aarts (layperson, treasurer of the delegation of the Netherlands), Bart Verbesselt (layperson, bursar of the Flemish delegation), Fergal Maguire (bursar of Ireland-England), Alfred Bell (bursar of Germany), and Christian Flottes (provincial superior of France, in the absence of the provincial bursar).

At the meeting of superiors: Michael Ruddy (Province of Ireland-England), Christian Flottes (Provincial of France), Gilbert De Decker (Delegation of Flanders), Jan Munsters (Delegation of the Netherlands), Aurelio Cayón (Province of Iberia), Heinz Josef Catrein (outgoing Provincial of Germany), Martin Königstein (new Provincial of Germany), Wojciech Kotowski (Province of Poland), and Javier Álvarez-Ossorio (Superior General).

It was regrettable that the bursar and the provincial superior of Africa were absent. They had not received in time their visas to enter Europe. Neither did the bursar of Poland attend.

Some of the points made by the treasurers were: the decrease in income in almost all the communities of Europe; the attention paid to the care of the sick and elderly brothers; the need to have expert lay people to advise on finances; the evolution of the negotiations of the Flemish delegation with the Catholic University of Louvain on the ownership and future use of the place where the tomb of St. Damien is located; and while the province is finding its own sources of financing, the expediency of progressively diminishing aid to Africa.

At the meeting of superiors, each community presented its current situation and discussed the preparation of the next General Chapter. Some of the highlights of the situation of the provinces are: Poland's difficulties in maintaining the community in Norway; the German province's project to create an international community in Berlin; the welcome of French novices to the novitiate in Spain; the preparation of the French province to welcome the newly professed after they make their first profession; the uncertainties about the future of the presence of the brothers in Picpus; if the agreement with the University on Louvain is not possible, the Flemish delegation is looking for alternatives to the agreement  (e.g. the future of the site would be entrusted to a foundation in which other provinces of the Congregation could participate); the good animation system of community meetings in Ireland / England; the development of the Strategic Plan of the Iberian province; etc.

Next year's meetings were scheduled for the second week of April 2019 in Madrid.