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Dámaso Zuazua, ocd, General Secretary for Missions

Amorebieta-Larrea Centre of Spirituality
(Navare Province, Spain)

- February 26 - March 1, 2007 -
 

Meeting of The Missionary Animators From the European and Middle-East Provinces
*
Chronicle *
 


Larrea: Casa de Epiritualidad

     

I.- Chronicle     ( by Claudio Truzzi, ocd, Milan )

 

“The missionary fervour of the Order is the measure of its interior fervour (…) The spirit of our Holy Mother, Teresa, does not allow us to withdraw into ourselves and be isolated. For this reason I think that in formation, that is to say in the communication of our vocation, the missionary spirit should be more fervent and occupy a more central position”.

 

Fr. General, Luis Arostegui, “Address” to the

Extraordinary Definitory, Chile, September 2005

 

General theme:

 

The Carmelite Mission in an era of evangelization and globalization”.

 

Most of the missionary animators (or missionary zelators) from the European Provinces, and the Middle East, as well as Arizona-California (USA) were present for the opening of the meeting (Monday evening, February 26). The Provincial of the Navare Province welcomed everyone. As it was impossibile for Fr. Anthony M. Zachary, Definitor General, to preside, Fr. General, Luis Arostegui, presided. The Provincial of Navare, Fr. Jesus Murillo, remained for the entire conference.

Besides Fr. Damaso Zuazua, general secretary of the Missions and organizer of the Meeting, those participating were: 1) David Willems (Belgium), 2) Joseph Ortega (Andalusia), 3) Vincent Polo (Aragon-Valencia), 4) John Joseph Herrero (Burgos), 5) Luis Hernández (Castile), 6) Felix Escota (Navare), 7) Armand Levillain (Avignon-Aquitaine, 8) Milos Mato (Croatia), 9) Anastasio Roggero (Genova), 10) Claudio Truzzi (Lombardy), 11) Carmelo Maglione (Naples), 12) Savador Usai (Tuscany), 13) Alexander Bezzi (Venice), 14) Elie Barmo (Lebanon), 15) Pawel Denisiewicz (Hungary), 16) Robert M. Pirastu (Austria), 17) Jerzy Nawojowski (Poland-Cracow), 18) Kasimierz Morawski (Poland – Warsaw), 19) Colm Stone (USA, Arizona-California), 20) Renato Rosso (Holy Land-Egypt). All were pleased with the magnificent gift from “La Obra Máxima” which each participant received consisting of a kind of woolen bag, with the title of the conference written on it, and some printed material inside.

Those who did not come were the delegates from Ireland-England, The Netherlands, Sicily, Rome, Malta, Germany, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and Washington. The delegates from Portugal and Paris were prevented from coming at the last moment. Instead the director of “Il Carmelo e le sue Missioni” (Morena) participated.

After the introductory talk by Fr. Damaso Zuazua, Fr. General addressed us on missionary vocation, beginning with Saint Teresa. The theme of his talk was “Missionaries of St. Teresa today: actuality, meaning, means”. As the prototype of this teresian-missionary assimilation of the Order he presented the example of the extraordinary missionary, Fr. John Vincenz of Jesus and Mary (1862-1943), founder of the Missionary centre, “La Obra Máxima” (San Sebastián). His talk was followed by those of Fr. Domingo Angel Fdz. de Mendiola on “The Carmelite Mission in the past: History, shortcomings, horizons”; then, Fr. Joseph Manuel Madruga, director of the review “Misiones Extranjeras” (Madrid), on “The search for a theology of Mission”; and then, Fr. Zacharie Igirukwayo’s talk, “Theology of human development on the missions” was read in his absence. Two laypeople, the director and secretary of the World Rural Forum (Vitoria), spoke to us of “Mission in an era of globalizzation” (Joseph Mary Ceberio) and “Mission and the NGO’s” (Joseph Anthony Osaba).

A lot of time was given to dialogue and to sharing experiences among the many missionary animators from the Provinces, and in order to hear the initiatives they would adopt in the provinces, the expectations, the challenges and strategies, as well as proposals for a more missionary animation in the provinces, possibile common initiatives, ... so that Carmel remains and becomes even more missionary. All the participants were encouraged and left with a deeper conviction and a renewed energy in the task and responsibility for missionary animation. Regarding Europe the idea came out for a Meeting for those responsible for our missions in western Europe, for their particular evangelization.

Our service to the Gospel is exercised fundamentally within these two areas: the new evangelization and globalization. The two realities have not come about spontaneously. For this reason, the encounter was organized to search for clarification on our missionary roots, roots which are sunk deep in the charism which we have promised to live in the Church. At the same time we needed to clarify the new socio-religious connotations in which missionary activity is developing today. In the same way a general overview of the present state of the Missions was offered, with the modern characteristic stresses, in theology and pastoral activity.

What was the reason for this meeting? The proposed objective was to reactivate the missionary awareness of the Order. This has already been accepted in many cases as a component part of our carmelite image; there , however, it often remains on the level of theory, nothing in practise. And so, in many casese, the missionary awareness of Carmel seems to be asleep. In some cases, we say also in many occasions and in many contexts, it is languid. Moreover there reigns a sleepy reaction to what should be one of the most stimulating features of our lives as carmelites. In many cases all seems to be reduced to a certain sympathy, to an approval, but without any personal commitment. Is Mission (the carmelite missionary awarenss and our common missionary task) a factor that communicates dynamism to our vocation and to our pastoral activity?

Describing the characteristics of the teresian carmel, our Constitutions rightly observe that with the growth of her ecclesial experience, Teresa of Jesus was concerned for the people who had not yet been evangelized and for the immense field of the missions. Here, her apostolic spirit, is clearly evident. The evangelization of people has always been the favoured apostolate of the Order. It was our Holy Mother in person who communcated to her religious family her missionary fervour and who wanted her sons and daughters, each one according to their own vocation, to commit themselves to missionary activity.

 

  Missionary Animation

 

It is not easy to define it, as it includes a multiplicity of ideas, feelings, principles and convictions. The field of missionary animation embraces all that faith embraces. It is like the soul to the body, the first movement of pastoral activity which encourages and sustains development. Animation is another word for communion, life and…spirit. Missionary animation, therefore, is a pastoral activity to create a missionary awarenes in people, in institutions and in our communities. The Council reminds us that christian vitality and maturity are shown in the spirit and the universal missionary responsibility of every church which presents “its contribution to the benefit of the entire Church”.

Missionary animation is an ecclesial ministry, and so we read in the decree “Ad gentes”: “So that every one of the Christian faithful might be well acquainted with the present state of the church in the world and might hear the voice of the multitudes cry ‘help us’, information regarding the missions should be published so as to make them have a part to play in missionary activity, and make them open their hearts to the immense and deep needs of men and women, and come to their assistance”.

Missionary animation is an opportune and necessary ministry. The community must be woken up; it must be motivated by a lot of information, with renewed stimulation, and, when possible, with creativity and originality. Already “Evangelii nuntiandi” recalls the two aspects, though in no way exclusive, of the first proclamation to the “crowds of people” who are unevangelized in our days, to non believers and to the non practising. Years later John Paul II expressed himself in these terms: “We cannot draw boundaries between the pastoral care of the faithful , the new evangelization and specific missionary activity, and we should not think of constructing barricades…We should note a real and growing interdependence in the Church’s different works of salvation: where one influences the other, and where one stimulates and helps”.

The same John Paul II recalled that missionary animation “must be included as a principle element of parish pastoral activity, including associations and groups, especially of young people,…because the missionary theme can be a great help, making clear the main contents of missionary animation”. We must confess that we still have work to do to make people aware of this principle, and for it to be accepted and put into practise as the fruit of our apostolic convinction and in our pastoral activity.

In the same encyclical the Pope states the two principal objectives of animation:

- “to inform and form the People of God for the universal mission of the Church,

- To create vocations “ad gentes” and cooperate in evangelization, and avoid presenting a narrow image of missionary activity.

 

The missionary animator

 

He is not an alms-giver or simply a collector of funds. He acts, reacts, according to theological, ecclesial, missionary and Carmelite criteria. The missionary animator promotes, stimulates, supports, encourages and facilitates missionary conversion, helping communities to consider the Mission “ad gentes” as a constant and privileged horizon. He awakens commitment. Among the concrete goals for missionary animation I would like to highlight:

 

- To infuse, promote, create and encourage a missionary way of thinking with information, and renewed motivation.

- To encourage spiritual and material cooperation,

- To promote and stimulate missionary vocations, not neglecting lay people, for the Missions.

- To coordinate and facilitate the links between our environement and the Missions.

 

Paul VI, addressing our missionary Zealators, states: “Our language should adapt to the times, so that the people understand what we are saying”. The same Pope continues, we need to adapt our culture, our awareness, our vocabulary. We must respond to a new kind of terminology that is being used today, new theological concepts, the new formulation of language, the direct or indirect components of Mission, such as enculturation, inter-religious dialogue and the phenomenon of globalization.

As animators, it is our duty to be well informed and educated in these areas, with a new language, enriched by new concepts, with new techniques and terminology so that we comunicate using present day terminology and is in keeping with today’s religious culture.

For this reason John Paul II suggested, using an apt phrase, that we be “guardians of the future”. We should be aware that we need to renew our understanding so that our missionary animation may be ever more efficient.

 

II.- Texts

For the full text of the conferences:

http://www.ocd.pcn.net/mission/index.htm#Larrea

 

     
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