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II PAN AMERICAN ASSEMBLY – 19 TO 24 FEBRUARY 2018
in a climate of prayer, joy and shared fraternity, national responsibles and delegates from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States and Quebec-Acadie have gathered. We thank God and all who have collaborated through their prayers, work and financial contributions so that this meeting would be possible, especially our brothers from the Dominican Republic and also those priests and deacons who covered for us in our parishes.
We reviewed the path of our fraternities the past two years and verified that many of the proposals elaborated in the last assembly were put into practice. We would like to spotlight the celebrations of the centenary of Brother Charles’ second birth realized in all our countries through symposiums, Eucharists, retreats, publications, posters etc. This permitted us to introduce his person and spirituality to many brother priests, deacons, lay persons, religious and seminarians.
During our assembly we focused our attention on two relevant facts in our countries: migration and the mistreatment of our Mother Earth. These are true signs of the times that we want to examine in the light of the Word of God and the social teaching of the Church, especially as given by Pope Francis, and as seen in the spirituality that we have received from Brother Charles de Foucauld. The goal of this communal discernment was to discover the will of God and to more deeply commit ourselves to a true ministry for migrants and a caring for our Common Home.
Listening attentively to the reports from each country we heard that in one way or another we are committed in these two areas, but that we need to do much more because we are dealing with people’s lives, with families, and with vulnerable communities. They are victims of a savage capitalism that destroys without mercy as it worships the god of money.
The two presentations of our brothers Eleuterio Ruiz and Carlos Roberto Dos Santos: “Strangers and Refugees, Reflections on a Challenge of Our time in the Light of the Scripture” and “Biblical and Pope Francis’ Reflections on the Environment” enlightened us.
It has been clear to us that the Lord asks us to “go in search of the most abandoned,” as Brother Charles did in his time, who are in this case migrants who arrive in our countries in situations of great vulnerability. The Word of God is specific: “You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God.” (Lev 19.34) And Pope Francis shows us a very concrete way to express this love: Welcome, protect, promote and integrate our migrant brothers and sisters.
We have also felt a strong call to care for our Common Home and to make ours the question Francis offers to humanity in his encyclical “Laudato Si”: “What kind of a world do we want to leave for those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?” (160).
We want to reflect more on this theme in our fraternities and with our presbyterates so as to have a prophetic stance; we also want to network with church and civil organizations to protect the environment and preserve the beauty and integrity of creation, which is God’s gift to all humanity. Charles’ non-consumer lifestyle encourages us to live in simplicity, in austerity and in harmony with nature.
During our assembly we visited the communities of a local parish in Santo Domingo. This visit put us in contact with the holy people of God, who, from their poverty show us the urgency of being authentic with the obligations that God has shown us in this assembly, which were taken up in our Desert Day and in the Review of Life which we did in small groups.
We ask the Holy Spirit to make us more faithful each day to the charism of Brother Charles, so that we can share it with many members of the people of God and continue developing a “Church that is poor and for the poor.”
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 24 February 2018