By Brother John Collins | en français
The June meeting of the Graced Crossroads Integration Team in Rome was the second time, in 57 years as a Xaverian, that I have participated in an international meeting of Brothers. I had looked forward to the meeting with anticipation and hope that those of us participating would find common ground that could eventually open a path for the future of the Congregation.
It was vital, as a first step, that we listen to the representatives of Congo, Kenya, and the USA report on meetings held in their regions regarding the Graced Crossroads process of transformation. I was struck by how direct, candid, open, and honest our African brothers were in reporting about present conditions in their regions, what changes needed to take place and their hopes for the future. I believe they set the tone for the depth of sharing and dialogue that took place during the remaining sessions of the Rome meeting.
One major topic that arose in our deliberations was that of internationality.
We identify ourselves as an international Congregation. What does this mean in today’s reality? What is our present understanding of this term as it relates to each region? What is our level of consciousness regarding it? What impact does it have on decisions that are made with respect to different areas of the Congregation? What is its reality for me? How can we foster a greater sense of awareness concerning it?
It became apparent in our discussions about internationality that, while we acknowledge and affirm that we are an international Congregation, our lived-reality is quite different. What happens in one region has little impact or effect in another. We live as though our regions are separate, distinct and self-contained, each on its own path. It seems that the Congregation is currently more like an assembly of villages: American, Belgian, Congolese and Kenyan that identify themselves as Xaverian.
There is no future, however, for such separate village life in a Congregation whose very roots are international. We need to become ONE VILLAGE deeply rooted in our Fundamental Principles and the unique charism of our Founder, Theodore James Ryken. Once more we are being called to become
A band of brothers
who mutually help,
and edify one another
and who work together
To create this ONE VILLAGE will require personal and communal sacrifice as well as ongoing prayerful discernment and innovation. Like the biblical Abraham, we will have to leave our familiar village and walk an unfamiliar path that holds out the possibility of transformation and refoundation. Hopefully, we can become a truly global Congregation in consciousness, outlook and behavior – one based on respect, appreciation and honest sharing of intercultural values and experiences.