Snagov (Romania). On March 5-10, 2018, the Carmelite Monastery at Snagov, a city of Romania, hosted the 18th General Assembly of UCESM. The theme was: “Widen the space of your tent” (Is 54: 2).

The Union of the European Conference of Major Superiors (UCESM) gathers the 39 National Conferences represented by the Major Superiors of Apostolic Religious Institutes of 28 European Countries with about 250,000 women and men religious. There were 36 National Conferences present at the Assembly, about 80 people. The Assembly reflected on actual developments regarding migration and integration both in religious communities as in civil society.

During the Assembly, the new President was elected, Fr. Zsolt Labancz OSCHP, who is the actual President of the Hungarian Conference since September 7th, 2017 when the President of UCESM, Fr. Giovanni Peragine, was consecrated as Bishop of Albania.

Present for the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were Sr. Edvige Carocari, Vice President in Albania, and Sr. Anna Zainchkovska, Councilor and Secretary of the Ukrainian Conference of the Latin Church.

Msgr. Josè Rodriguez Carballo, Secretary of CIVCSVA, spoke in the Assembly. Msgr. Carballo presented the document “New Wineskins for New Wine”, pausing on the three key words of the document:

  1. Discernment in the light of the Gospel.
  2. Fidelity to the charism and reading the signs of the times.
  3. Missionary daring

Mons. Carballo highlighted that the crisis of Consecrated Life is not the lack of vocations, but is evangelical and charismatic authenticity, the truth of Consecrated Life. He invited the participants to make concrete choices: primacy of service; walk toward the poor and the least; move on the roads of Gospel prophecy.

He invited the Superiors to insist on ongoing formation. Consecrated Life is the beatitude of the Church in the world and the therapy for humanity. There is good wine, and we try to place it in wineskins that do not ruin it. The Virgin Mary must enter fully in the perspective of the renewal of Consecrated Life.

Some testimonies were given during the Assembly: Fr. Lucian Bobarnac, OFM recounted his pastoral experience with the Rom; Sr. Adina Balan, IBVM presented the work RENATE (religious who work against human trafficking); Mrs. Ana Blandiana, Rumanian poet presented the difficulty of living in Romania during Communism.

Then there was the Conference with Fr. José Ignacio García SJ, Regional Director of “Jesuit Refugee Service Europe” (JRS), who presented the service of the Jesuits for the refugees, showing how in 2016, there were about 64 million refugees in the world; Brother Alois of Taizè shared on the theme, “Be passionate about unity in the Body of Christ”. Sr. Anna Zainchkovska, FMA spoke on the situation of the war in the Ukraine and of the witness of service of the religious of various Institutes of the Latin Church in the Ukraine who give their service as volunteers in the ‘grey zone’ in collaboration with the ‘Christian Rescue Service’ (CSS) – a Catholic organization with it central office in Kiev that was founded in 2015 with the blessing of the Church authorities. The aim of the Christian Rescue Service is to help in various ways (spiritual, psychological, humanitarian, social, educational, informational) the military in the ATO zone and the civilians of the towns near the war line. The FMA of the Ukraine were volunteers in the towns near the war zone for ten days.

The members of UCESM are committed to strengthening the network among the various National Conferences to make the voice of the Religious in Europe heard.



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