The day began with Mass celebrated in the Chapel of Saint Paul of the Cross. The principal celebrant and homelist was Fr Antonio Munduate.
The morning session, which was preceded by a prayer reflection prepared by the STIP students, consisted of two talks given by Fr Aquilino Bocos Merino C.M.F. on Restructuring in the Passionist Congregation. Fr Aquilino is a former Superior General of the Claretians who is working for the periodical ‘Vida Religiosa’ and for the Theological Institute of Religious Life in Madrid. The session was chaired by Fr Luis Alberto Cano.
Fr Aquilino’s first talk covered three topics: the meaning of restructuring; obstacles and opportunities; the ultimate reason for restructuring. In the second talk, he treated these aspects: presuppositions required to make restructuring effective; the relationship between the Congregation and its major organisms (provinces, vice-provinces, vicariates); motivation and co-responsibility in structural innovation; final considerations.
Among the important points raised by Fr Aquilino in the course of a very interesting morning were the following:
The starting point must always be the radical following of Jesus: He is all that is necessary.
The secret of the process of restructuring is in the formulation of a Project for Life and Mission, with its priorities.
Nothing new is born in this world without pain.
The degree of affective and effective attachment to the Congregation will promote either greater or lesser success in the fulfilment of the objectives of restructuring.
One obstacle is the absence of clear ideas or a confusion about the apostolic design of the Institute.
Conversion, change and transformation are necessary in order to overcome routine and lethargy.
It is probably necessary to go beyond solidarity in the three areas that you have singled out (formation, personnel, finance). This has to do with giving an answer to a challenge which is more radical and present within consecrated life.
How can we organise ourselves to live in a more evangelical way and to serve the Lord and others?
Only the primacy of the Holy Spirit in our life can break the circle of mediocrity which is the corrosive force in consecrated life.
Founders have always sought the essential in their projects.
A return to the origins awakens solidarity, promotes communion and supports shared responsibility.
The Congregation is not a corporation but a community of persons, a community of faith, hope and charity which finds itself within the church. A Congregation is a bringing together of people who have the same spirit. The first community that we must affirm is the Congregation.
We need to return to the essential and frequent the future.
The future is inside us. It is ‘Adventus’; we do not create it. It comes about through our being faithful to the Now.
A lively question and answer session followed Fr Aquilino’s two talks. Today being Sunday, the Synod members were free in the afternoon.