What have you been seeing in Konstancin?26 july 2016
For four days, the provincial coordinators of Faith and Light met near Warsaw for the coordinators’council.
The meeting, scheduled in our constitution, is an important milestone between two international meetings; there are no elections, no major decisions, we make very simple things, this is a time when an international community is being created (Constitution IV, 65). And I realized how important that time is for everyone to meet and share, to celebrate and pray together! The layout of the premises with a large central hall led to numerous meetings, all very rich; it helped make great fiestas, all very joyful; making it possible for us to gather in front of the Grand Cross of Jerusalem for times of prayer during which a spirit of communion was very sensitive.
To summarize, we were like a great Faith and Light community living an exceptional meeting for four days! To quote but one example, perhaps the main one, the warm welcome of Christine coming from Syria was truly extraordinary: she was able to give her testimony during a morning prayer, of the life of the Faith and Light communities in her country, and we could figure out how strong and solid is what we build in our "small" communities; we build on rock!
If nothing is said in the constitution about the presence of people with an intellectual disability in this meeting, the Polish local team had taken care to invite a dozen; a community meeting without our friends with a disability is like an orchestra without instruments.
There was also a band, of course, that animated many times of our meeting; Kirt, who was in charge of it, had well prepared everything but at the last moment, he could not come ... but, apart from his banjo that we have not heard, everything went well!
There were about ten chaplains; they were the ones who showed us the ecumenical diversity of our movement; liturgies were proposed every morning in different traditions; a great ecumenical celebration, a washing of the feet and the sending off mass have brought us together in the same fervor around Jesus, him to whom we say: Jesus, you have called us to follow you in a community of Faith and Light, we want to say "yes" to you.
There would be no Faith and Light meeting without a gospel mime, and there was one every morning for prayer time and during the sending off mass!
There were also sharing times that were the conclusion of what was experienced during the year with the proposals of the guideline. So, as required by the Constitution, all together we sought the will of God for the movement, and being in the service of people with an intellectual disability and of Faith and Light communities in the spirit of the Charter.
From the same pattern, each day (morning prayer, mime and reflection; personal time for reflection in silence; sharing time in small groups), we tried to discern the will of God for Faith and Light. The main outcome showed several things:
- nothing new: almost all of what came out from the sharing groups is reflected in our prayer or in the booklet "You will shine in the world like bright stars."
- a desire to deepen our spirituality: the guidelines 2017-2018 thus will guide us to meditate our beautiful prayer.
- if our identity has not changed, the world around us has changed since 1971 : so we must be attentive to God's call for our movement today. The International coordinating team is going to work on this in these coming months.
The coordinators' council is also halfway between two international meetings and the provincial coordinators were able to know the progress of the projects launched in Leeds after the definition of the 2013-2018 priorities; this enabled to take better account of the reactions and comments of each and everyone one. The large gathering of young people, which will be held in Spain in early August 2017, was announced and presented; the draft revision of the constitution was the subject of a detailed presentation by the team in charge.
So what have we been seeing in Konstancin? A reed shaken with the wind? People dressed in fine clothes? None of this, we have been:
- in a place of rest for all those who are struggling under the weight of the burden, a very light burden when we are several to carry it together,
- in a workshop where the Faith and Light movement of the future is getting prepared...
Welcome back everyone, this coordinators’ meeting was a wonderful event, a moment where time stops and then everyone leaves with joy and energy to share our good news to all in the provinces!
The day we left, Kristina received her monastic habit from her General Superior in the monastery of Poligny in France and became sister Anawimel, the poor of God. I saw her on my return: she beamed with joy and her prayers and those of the sisters of the monastery have brought us throughout our meeting. O Bonitas!
Special thanks to Joanna and her team for having organized everything; everyone was welcome wonderfully, and we felt like home in this beautiful house of the Pallottyn Fathers. Dziekuje bardzo!
Thank you also to the international secretariat, our three super Musketeers: One for all, all for one!
Ghislain du Chéné, international coordinator