Seville (Spain). At the “El Pilar” Formation House in Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville), from different points of Spanish geography, FMA and lay people came – in total 166 people, including 141 FMA, 2 novices, and 23 lay people – to celebrate the Provincial Chapter from 31 October to November 3, 2019,. Everything was prepared, above all hearts open to the Spirit, in a climate of discernment, to bring the voice of the Province to General Chapter XXIV, which will be held in Rome in September 2020.
In her words of greeting and opening of the Provincial Chapter, Sr. Chary García, Provincial, thanked everyone for their presence as representatives of all the houses and educational works of the Province, with special thanks to the laity, young people, and adults; all participants and all protagonists.
It is good to know that we are not the only ones in this pre-Chapter journey with the many provinces of the world that are living their provincial chapter at the same time. Just as she thanked for the words of encouragement of Mother General, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat and for the greetings of Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda, General Councilor for the Salesian Family and Referent for the Interprovincial Conference Europe and Portugal (CIEP).
The report of the provincial reality was then presented by the FMA of the Provincial Council and by the Coordinators of the sectors. A rich report of data, graphs, lived meetings, written documents, which have tried to bring back the short but intense life of two years, a report with names and faces behind each of its pages.
Furthermore, in the 15 work commissions, the synthesis of the contributions of the 57 houses and their educating communities was studied and intensely discussed with regard to the three questions proposed by Mother General in her Letter of convocation of the Chapter, a synthesis drawn up by a pre-chapter Commission. A synodal work that occupied most of the days.
On the 2nd day, listening to Fr. Koldo Gutiérrez, SDB, director of the Salesian National Center for Youth Pastoral of Spain, was proposed with a conference on “Essential Lines for Youth Pastoral Care after the last Synod”. Rich words, a synthesis of what he thinks we have left as a treasure after the three years of a pre-synod, synod, and a post-synod on the Church and the young, in which we were asked to combine 4 verbs: looking, listening, discerning, and walking together.
The assembly also discussed the proposal to be presented to the GCXXIV, to know the motivations, and to proceed with the vote. Likewise, voting took place for the election of the delegates and substitutes to GCXXIV. Sr. Paloma Bravo and Sr. Charo Ten were elected as delegates by the Chapter Assembly and Sr. Maria Paz Castillo and Sr. Maite Seva as Substitutes, who will bring the voice of all the educating communities to the General Chapter.
In these days there are also moments of prayer and celebration, of adoration and fraternity. Thanks for the fraternal presence these days, also to the Salesian Provincials of Spain who presided over the Eucharist on the first and last day.
At the end of the Eucharist, Sister Chary gave each animator a small jar with the Word of God that accompanies the Provincial Community on this path to the Chapter: “Do whatever he tells you.” And she concluded by saying: “To listen, one must be present, as if this were a precious pearl to keep, it is REMAINING. It is a precious word that came out many times here, in our assembly, we pronounced it, we articulated it, we don’t want it to be lost … So let’s not lose it! REMAIN is a precious pearl to keep. Actively participating in the lives of young people is not a possibility, it is an irrevocable choice that cannot be left. It is not a possibility that we have, it is our choice of life.”