One heart and one soul15 april 2014
the International Coordinating Team met for the first time in Trosly. Report...
It was certainly chilly in the Pierrefonds church that Thursday evening at 6pm! We were still in the month of February and it was no surprise to see everyone gathered around the few places where there was some heating! What was more surprising was that some were wrapped up as if they were at the North Pole, in anoraks, scarves and woolly hats! It should be pointed out that these people come from the southern hemisphere and just the day before had been enjoying the summer sun. However, once he’d taken off his woolly hat, we recognised Judex, chilled to the bone! Judex lives in Beau Bassin, Mauritius, and he is one of the members of the international coordinating team that was meeting for the first time since the Leeds international meeting of July 2013. There have been some changes in this team and five new vice-international coordinators have come to join the seven who have continued or had their mandates renewed.
Along with Agathe (from Paris, France), Fred (from Minneapolis, USA), Joanna (from Jaworzno, Poland), Lucia (from Fidenza, Italy), Ludovic (from Bordeaux, France), Maria-Silvia (from Saõ Paulo, Brazil) and Raúl (from Salamanca, Spain), we now have Amgad (from Mansoura, Egypt), Ann (from Rotherham, United Kingdom), Judex (from Beau Bassin, Mauritius), Kristina (from Vilnius, Lithuania) and Valerie (from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). This is a great team, which also counts Father Isaac and Corinne amongst its members.
I had chosen as a theme: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Ac 4, 32). In fact, despite our numbers, despite the distances that “separate” us the majority of the time, I wanted each and every one of us to:
- be at the service of the provinces and the communities,
- aim to see Faith and Light radiate throughout the world,
- be ready to roll up our sleeves so that we can bring forward proposals.
Right at the beginning of our meeting, we welcomed Jean Vanier and Marie-Hélène Mathieu, who had come along to encourage us! Jean spoke to us at length and opened some new horizons for us to aim at so we can move forward:
- Faith and Light is an extraordinary gift for our time, it is a great desire of God
- Faith and Light is a people of joy, of hope and of celebration. The communities must radiate our vision and our truth.
- We need to grow by putting down roots, not in quantity. Let’s return to our Charter.
- Our message is so simple that we don’t see it: joy and friendship, being together, commitment and other people are the gifts of God.
- We need to be missionaries of joy and of faith.
This talk was a real blessing because the guidance it offered illuminated all of our work!
We shared the joys, the difficulties and the hopes of all the provinces in the world.
We shared all of these during the washing of the feet celebration where each person, after having their feet washed, gave a prayer intention to the person who had just kneeled before them. By us all carrying each other’s prayer intentions we really form a team.
We identified the main working areas to be launched, based on the feedback from provinces but also according to the priorities agreed at Leeds; and small teams of two or three people have committed to work on two topics each (formation, accompaniment, cooperation with L’Arche, young people, identity and mission, spirituality, operating in large provinces….).
We finalised the 2014 budget for coordination and solidarity.
We also enjoyed moments of relaxation and togetherness. For example, Agathe and Ludovic questioned us all on our knowledge of Faith and Light … Rest assured, it’s not because we know everything about Faith and Light that we are part of this team, but rather because of our spirit of service! We also enjoyed some culinary specialities from all over the world.
And then we were surprised and saddened to discover that we’d already reached the end! Time had flown by too quickly, and we didn’t have the time to discuss everything we intended…. It was already time to pack our suitcases, get back into the minibuses hired by the secretariat and say goodbye as we sung: “merci, gracias, thank you, grazie, obrigado, dziękuję, ačiū, شكرا, alléluia, amen!”
Ever since returning from this meeting I have been giving thanks! I am proud of this team – it is a real “dream team”! We really have just one heart and one soul, and we will achieve extraordinary things for the good of our communities and for the glory of God!
Thank you to all of the vice-coordinators, I know that I can count on you! Thank you to Father Isaac, you accompany our team with great discretion and kindness! Thank you to the secretariat, Corinne, Guénaël and Céline, you have made our work so much easier for us! Everything took place very smoothly, you are incredibly precious!
Thank you to the interpreters, who ensured that we could all communicate well in our Tower of Babel (French, English, Spanish and Polish)!
Ghislain du Chéné