Communion and co-responsibility – celebrating and transmitting the joy of communion and co-responsibility
The 5th Ordinary General Assembly of the Union of Catholic Apostolate took place from January 23rd to 27th 2018, at the Retreat Centre of the Passionist Community in Rome. We were 39 participants: Members of the GCC, Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the National Coordination Councils, 2 representatives of NCC Presidents, the General Secretary and secretarial assistant, the General Bursar, the 3 invited members, the moderators, translators and secretaries.
Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, Rector General of the SAC and Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Union led the opening Eucharistic celebration and it was centred on the general theme of the Assembly. In his homily he outlined four aspects which contribute to, and reinforce among us, communion and co-responsibility: God – the source of communion and collaboration; the will to understand and respect the diversity of vocations and of gifts; a knowledge of, and experience of, the spiritual and mystical way of our holy Founder; the Union as a public association of the faithful at the service of the mission of the Church. Fr. Jacob noted later in his report that “the Union must not become an exclusive club of a few like-minded persons but open to all the members whether they agree or disagree with it.”
We were very happy to know and to see from the reports of the President, the two Mothers General, the General Secretary and General Bursar, the NCC Presidents and the three invited members how the charism of St. Vincent is continuing to spread in the world as a unifying force between lay persons, sisters, brothers and priests. The President of the Union, Ms. Donatella Acerbi, reminded us that “the charism per se is God’s, it belongs to Him. It’s not ours, not even St. Vincent’s. He and we, his children, are its bearers.” God asks our collaboration to live, safeguard, deepen and continuously develop this charism in harmony with the body of Christ which is perennially growing.
Fr. David Kinnear Glenday, MCCJ, Rector General Emeritus of the Comboni Missionaries and General Secretary of the Union of Superiors General (USG), the guest speaker invited to enlighten our sharing, provided us with a very incisive reflection which opened our reciprocal dialogue. His starting point was from chapter 10 of St. Luke’s Gospel and he drew a comparison between the work of our Assembly and the dialogue between Jesus and the 72 disciples on their joyful return following the mission Jesus had entrusted to them.
Fr. David invited us to live with intense and justified joy the real life of the Union; his presentation centred on 5 verbs which characterised the life of our Assembly – they were: to remember – our own personal story as disciples; to discern – from what moved us; to desire – the good that is coming to birth in us; to serve – to serve the joy of the People of God in going out, as Jesus did; and, to console – all those we meet in our apostolic mission.
Five verbs, five stepping stones, on which we trod and on which we can continue to journey with confidence. We looked closely at some of the different aspects of the Union which were chosen by the GCC, they were: formation, finance and evangelisation, and this was done in a sincere and open manner, as we sought to move towards a greater harmony in the life of the Union: it is our hope that the fruits of our discussion will lead to incisive action by the new General Coordination Council and by the National Coordination Councils, because, as Fr. David Glenday, pointed out to us – “the first step in co- responsibility is to experiment with courage and humility.”
The third day of the Assembly saw the election of the ten members (and the three substitute members) who, together with the three General Superiors of the Communities founded by St. Vincent Pallotti, form the new GCC. Their mission is to oversee and carry forward the life of the Union in the next three years. As is our custom, we all gathered in prayer around the altar of our saintly Founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, in the Church of Santissimo Salvatore in Onda, for the closing Eucharist which was led by the General Secretary, Fr. Rory Hanly.
We wish to thank all of you who have accompanied us during these days with your prayer, sacrifices and encouragement. Thank you for all the good you do and for the witness of selfless service which you offer to the entire Pallottine charismatic family. We conclude with the words of Pope Francis, which resounded strongly in the Assembly: “Try to act personally instead of just looking and criticising the work of others from the balcony.” (Address in Cesena, 1 st October 2017).
Yes, and with this spirit we wish to walk, yes, to walk and to journey together as missionary disciples and protagonists of the mission of Jesus, in the footsteps of St Vincent who walked firmly in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
The Members of the 5th Ordinary UAC General Assembly 2018