Thanks be to God the meeting between the representatives of the contemplative life and the members of the General Council and Provincial Superiors continues unfolding and bearing abundant fruit.
Yesterday, Wednesday September 9th, Fr. Marcelo Gallardo presided the Mass in which Fr. Tristán Gelonch preached about the praise which the monk gives to God by means of his silence and solitude.
In the morning sessions, the following points were presented and discussed: The permanent formation of the monks. The monastic libraries (Fr. Martínez); The apostolates in the monasteries: spiritual exercises; spiritual direction; sanctuaries; hostels; classes; works of charity (Fr. Gelonch); The intellectual apostolate of the monks of the IVE in the evangelization of the culture (Fr. Soler).
In the last morning conference Fr. Teodoro Matsapula, Provincial Superior of Ukraine, presented some Particularities of monastic life in the Eastern Branch of the Institute (Byzantine, Ukrainian, and Coptic Rites). The study and adaption of the Rules of St. Basil and St. Teodoro Estudita, which are assumed by Eastern monks, was presented as an important necessity of the evangelization and insertion of the Institute into these cultures. It is at the same time a challenge that requires adaption and learning to bring it about.
During the afternoon of that same day, other topics of great interest for the growth and fuller understanding of the monastic life in the Institute were discussed: The promotion of vocations to the monastic life within the Institute (Fr. Fuentes); Outings and recreation. Vacations and Convivencia. The home visits (Fr. Robledo); The apostolic and personal use of mass media. The cloister and the use of the habit (Fr. Calandra).
That night, after Adoration and the singing of Evening Prayer, the “Good Night” was given by Fr. Luis Miguel Martínez, who related the distinct activities and history of the Monastery of La Marsa in Tunisia.
After dinner a brief presentation was given for all the visiting priests on the witness of the Benedictine Martyrs of El Pueyo, patrons of the Contemplative Branch.
The morning’s session, which was the last of the meeting’s general work, was ended by discussing some pending issues. After which Fr. Carlos Walker presented his vision of the Contemplative Branch in the Institute. Also discussed were the requests for new foundations and the the criteria to adopt in determining in this matter. Fr. Walker also gave the gathered monks the opportunity to voice their opinions for and against particular locations. He also called to attention the next foundation of the Monastery in Maghtas, location of the Baptism of Our Lord. This foundation has been delayed on account of factors outside the control of the Institute, but it is hoped to be realized soon.
By way of conclusion, the different ways in which to present the meeting’s conclusions, in addition to different personal or communitarian suggestions which may later arise, to the General Chapter which will meet next year was discussed.
God willing, the meeting will conclude tomorrow and we will send a third and final communication.
We continue entrusting ourselves to your prayers.
Fr. Juan Manuel Rossi