Fr Koenraad Van Gucht, Fr Lukasz Nawrat and Clerics Dominic Nguyen Viet Binh and Paul Tran Xuan Binh attended the third Meeting of Missionaries in Europe that took place 13 – 17 February. The meeting was organised by the department for the Missions and held at the “Salesianum” in Munich in Bavaria. At this bi-annual meeting there were 51 participants, including missionaries, speakers and some provincials. Also present were Fr Guillermo Basañes, Councillor General for the Missions, with the team from his department, and Fr Tadeusz Rozmus, Councillor for Central and Northern Europe. The theme of the gathering was “To revitalise the Salesian charism in Europe.”
On the first working day Fr Pascual Chávez, Rector Major Emeritus, presented a report on the Project for Europe in the light of the 26th General Chapter and the situation in Europe today. He stressed that the main objective is to revive the Salesian charism in the continent, in three main ways: endogenous revitalisation of the charism in the confreres and communities; re-organising the Salesian communities in the Provinces; and sending missionaries who are well prepared in terms of language, culture and missionary work.
In the afternoon Fr Martín Lasarte, from the department of the Missions, helped the participants with a biblical reflection on “Paul, Missionary of the Project of God for Europe” presenting the six qualities of a missionary (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-12).
On the second day, a Divine Word priest, Fr Martin Üffing, who is in charge of the congregation’s project “Roscommon Consensus,” launched in 1990, shared the challenges faced by Divine Word missionaries and their specific contribution to the growth of the SVD mission and charism in Europe. Their experience, in the 25 years of activity, was very useful in the debate throughout the meeting.
On the third day, Fr Alfred Maravilla from the Missions Department, presented a report on the characteristic features of European secularism, the challenges for Salesian life and opportunities for the First Proclamation of the Gospel among young Europeans today.
Each report was followed by sharing in groups and discussion in the assembly. Before the meeting the participating missionaries and the Provincial Councils concerned had received a preparatory questionnaire to discover the lights and shadows of the programme and the work still to be done.
In conclusion Fr Basañes stressed the task that missionaries and provinces are called to fulfil, identifying clear objectives for the coming years until the next meeting in 2018, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.