Between October 2nd and 4th, the Region held a shorter than usual assembly in Kingston at the Providence Spirituality Center. Because of some absences, the assembly was also smaller than usual. Kingston is our favourite location because it is almost equidistant from our three main communities.
The assembly was mainly informational in nature. There were no lengthy table discussions, no process moments. This format allowed for a greater number of topics to be presented. Since the financial report of 2016 had not yet been presented, Maurice had an opportunity to go over the numbers with us. It has been a year without too many surprises and the year ended with a healthy surplus. Also, the Procure under the able new leadership of Nicole Béland showed some gains on the Québec ledger, a bit less so on the English campaigns.
Vocations and youth
Greg Murray presented the vocation portfolio which he introduced with the Letter of the General Administration on youth ministry. With the Youth Synod of next year, the Superior General challenged the congregation to engage with youth of today. He wanted an injection of youthful points of view in our community assemblies, our life together, our viewpoints of religious life and ministry. The topic will be discussed at one of the future Regional Council meetings.
Policy and procedure
Jim Casper updated the assembly on the issue of guidelines regarding sexual abuse. He presented the new document of the Region on “Policy and Procedure for Cases of Alleged Misconduct.” It is a review of the policy that has been in place since 1992. It will be presented and hopefully approved at our next chapter and become part of our Regional Directory.
North American Migration Committee
The North American Migration Committee presented its work and recommendations on Tuesday afternoon. It included a video of the presentation of Sr. Norma at the U.S. assembly in June and information on Canadian immigration and refugee policies by Joe Gunn (pictured at right) and one of his co-workers, Deb. The Canadian Region has assumed this issue as its main component of its commitment to social justice, peace and reconciliation. After the presentation, three members of the committee, Fr. Jan de Jong, Fr. Tony Russo and Fr. Peter McKenna will travel to Ottawa and Montreal to discuss the involvement of local communities in JPR activities.
The first full day ended with a Eucharist with Roger Phaneuf presiding and Peter Sanders preaching. Both celebrated 50 years of ordination. Maurice Légaré also concelebrated because this year he is celebrating 40 years of religious life. Maurice also found a wonderful restaurant further down the road from the Providence Spirituality Centre to complete the festivities. Someone remarked, °It was probably one of the best gatherings we have had for a long time.” A nice tribute!
Pastoral plans of the three communities
On Wednesday each of the communities presented their community plan for this next year. In the Ten-Year Plan that was presented the previous year, it had been stated that each community ought to devise a pastoral plan for the community. If community is our primary mission, it was felt that it was important to indicate what the community does and will do to put that plan into practice. The fact that in the past year the three communities have received new leadership was an important factor in looking at the pastoral plan with new eyes.
Also the content of our spirituality was discussed on Wednesday morning. It consisted of a review by John van den Hengel and Gustave Lulendo of their experience of the theological seminar in Yogyakarta in July of this year. John presented the conclusions of Sr. Nikla Spezzati of the papers presented at the seminar. These conclusions were a wonderful summation of the papers of the seminar and some intuitions about the direction of the reflection on our charism and spirituality in the Congregation. It was hoped that this information would also give new impetus to the establishment of the Dehonian Family in Canada.