Conclusion of the Meeting To Serve in Charity
Conclusion of the Meeting of the Provincial Secretaries and the General Government
The Meeting took place from August 24 to September 1, 2015 in Frascati (Rome), at the Formation Center of the Capuchin Friars.
After the discussion on the theoretical and practical aspects of the consecrated life explained by Fr. Sebastiano Paciolla, Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, we visited the General Secretariat of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Based on her extensive knowledge and years of experience, their Secretary General, Sr. Piera Cavaglià, presented the human and spiritual characteristics of the secretary and her particular tasks. Speaking on the characteristics of the mission that is entrusted to the Secretary General/Provincial Secretary, she said that the phrase gathering … so that nothing will be lost (cf. Jn 6:12) is the emblem of the Secretary who has care of faithfully recording, preserving and archiving the documents knowing that what is precisely cared for today provides harmony to the actions of the entire Congregation and a deepening of the charism.
Visiting the Institute’s current and historical archives and their charism exhibit, the secretaries were convinced that the archive is an expression of their responsibility for the history of the Province and the Congregation. They saw the need for acquiring more new technical skills, but even more importantly recognized that the primary work of the secretary is the people whom she serves, thus responding to God’s plan.
On August 29, the Memorial of the Beheading of John the Baptist, the group had the privilege of praying at the tomb of St. John Paul II and celebrating Mass near the tomb of St. Peter. Fr. Sebastiano Paciolla presided at this Mass. While at the Basilica, Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, Secretary General of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, addressed the participants. Making reference to the objectives of the Year of Consecrated Life, he urged the Sisters to have the bold zeal of St. Francis, Mother Margarita Pucher and the first Sisters. He presented the service of secretary as a precious service for building communion within the religious community. Stressing that this work should not be limited only to the office, he reminded them that behind all the sheets of paper that pass through the secretary’s hands are people with their story and dignity.
Following the Mass at St. Peter’s, the Sisters visited the offices of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Fr. Paciolla and Sr. Albertina Baćak, member of the Province of Mostar and employee of the Congregation, described the organization and function of the Congregation.
On Sunday, August 30, as a special gift from the General Government, the participants were offered a pilgrimage to Fonte Colombo, Greccio and La Foresta, where the Sisters were spiritually refreshed by the Franciscan sources.
After a day of pilgrimage, the secretaries continued their work of revising the Manual for Secretaries. Based on the Manual presently in use and their own experiences, new guidelines were adopted to better facilitate the work in the Provinces.
On the last day, Fr. Štefan Kožuh, Vicar General of the Capuchin Friars, celebrated the Eucharist. He urged the Sisters to obediently live to the Word of God and to give witness to the evangelical values with their lives in the contemporary world.
Before closing the Meeting, the participants shared their experiences of working together during the past days. At the end of the Meeting, Superior General Sr. Klara Šimunović thanked the participants for their fraternal communion during the Meeting and the profound depth of belonging to the same religious family, for their loyalty in the daily service to their Provinces and in their relations with the General Government as the center of the Congregation. She expressed her hope that the fruits of this Meeting will contribute to the living out of our charism in this time in which we are living.
The meeting ended with a prayer, during which the Superior General symbolically handed each participant a parchment with containing the words of St. Francis’ Blessing of Brother Leo, his ‘secretary.’
Sr. Marija Petra V. in Sr. Zdenka K.