Day 18, July 14: Almost Home (I Think)
Jeremy Dixon continues the chronicles with Day 18.
Fr. Tomaz began the day by saying that he had received a note from Manny Ginete, our confrere from the Philippines, who is part of an inter-community mission in South Sudan. He asked for prayers as the situation there is very unstable again and many foreigners and NGOs have left the country.
The assembly then heard from some growing provinces. First, Clement Ondoua Kono, the vice-visitor of Cameroon, spoke about the growth in Cameroon. Formerly a mission and region of the province of Paris, it became a vice-province in February. There are many signs of hope there: they are growing rapidly and have 30 seminarians. They have more requests to join the community than is possible to take at this time. Some other challenges include providing for quality formation and financing the mission.
Then, the vice-province of Vietnam made a presentation on their history. The vice-visitor Augustin Gia Nguyen Huu and delegate Gerard Du Tran Cong spoke about the history of the region which began in the 1950s, again with missionaries from the province of Paris. Despite the challenges of war and government policies, the community has grown. Currently, there are 77 priests and 150 students, including 15 in the internal seminary. Each year, 25-30 new students are welcomed. Many minister in remote areas of the country and in the international missions.
Lastly, Cyril Mbata, the visitor of Nigeria, spoke about their province. Originally started in 1960 by the province of Ireland, they now have 92 priests who minister in Nigeria and throughout the world and have many vocations. He related the sadness and shock in their province over the death of six seminarians in a car accident in February of this year. He thanked everyone for their prayers and support.
Today, the assembly also watched more videos. First was the seminarians who study at the Collegio Alberoni in Piacenza, Italy. It’s an international seminary where we have seminarians from the Province of the Orient, the Province of Italy and the mission of Albania. There also was a video from the seminarians in Colombia.
After the lunch break, Gabriel Naranjo of Colombia presented the final document on behalf of the Synthesis and Redaction Commission. He explained in detail how the committee drafted and prepared the document, and why they added or did not add particular suggestions or proposals that were given on the floor during the assembly. Then, the document was distributed to the members to read. After a short discussion at tables, delegates were invited to make amendments either as individuals or groups. The assembly then moved to take more time in small group discussions before proceeding to a plenary discussion.
The ensuing discussion was lively despite the late hour. Several delegates proposed amendments and changes to the document regarding focus, length and priorities. With that, we concluded the day.