Under the motto ‘Rivers of living water’, the XI General Assembly of Lay Claretians was held from July 8 to 16 in Leioa (Vizcaya, Spain). They were eight days of intense work to evaluate the history lived and to dream of the future.
The Assembly, which was attended by more than 80 lay people between 30 and 70 years of age, began with a message sent telematically by Fr. Matthew Vattamattam CMF, Superior General of the Congregation, followed by a reflection on the capacity of the laity to welcome the Gospel, to live it with intensity and to announce it effectively in today’s world.
During these days, and in accordance with the statutes of the Movement, the people who will form part of the General Council were also elected. Pedro Belderrain CMF, General Prefect of Apostolate, takes over from Fr. Manuel Tamargo cmf as General Councillor; Miguel Ángel Sosa, a layman from the Canary Islands, was re-elected Secretary General; the Peruvian Bruno La Hoz was elected Secretary of Formation; and the Guatemalan Silvia Rodríguez was elected Secretary of Economy.
The Eucharists have been very outstanding in the encounter and have left a very good taste in the mouth: those celebrated by several Claretians such as Fr. Belderrain or Fr. Juan Martín Askaiturrieta Ezkurdia cmf, provincial superior of Sanctus Paulus, as well as the one presided by the prelate of the diocese of Bilbao, Joseba Segura Etxezarraga, or the one presided by the pastor of San Sebastián, the missionary Fernando Prado Ayuso, which took place on Friday, July 14.
Precisely, on Friday, July 14, a moment very rarely seen in the history of the Claretian Family was enjoyed: an online encounter of seven of the eight charismatic branches born under the same missionary spirituality, that is, the one dreamt by Fr. Claret. In this way, the Assembly was able to open a space through Internet to connect with the General Chapter of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, with the General Chapter of the Missionary Sisters of the Claretian Institution in Vic and again with Fr. Vattamattam, our Superior General. At this moment some Missionary Sisters of St. Anthony Mary Claret, other consecrated women of Cordimarian Filiation from Mexico, Brazil and Europe, and some other religious of this province also joined us.
There was also a moment to get to know some social projects that the Lay Claretian Movement has been developing in this zone of the Basque Country, such as those in favour of social insertion, the reception of migrants or the promotion of employment.
The final sending out Eucharist was animated by Fr. Gabriel Ponce cmf, coordinator of the social works of the Claretian Province of Fatima and president of Proclade Betica, who highlighted the two options to return to the place of origin: as “super-seculars” who want to conquer the world and finally do nothing, or to fall from our “heights” and see all the good land that is around us and that is already bearing fruit. All participants were sent with their seeds to be “Rivers of living water” wherever they are.