Chapter Communication - 31 May 2022
The first activity of the day was a lecture on the Initial Proclamation by Fr Albert Maravilla (SDB). Fr. Maravilla began by stating that the Church has a desire to foster Christian faith within herself and among the nations. The Christian life is a way of life that encompasses all our lives and activities. He also showed how Jesus himself practiced the initial proclamation, with Nicodemus in need of a greater openness, the Samaritan woman at the well from a human need. The apostles followed Jesus’ example and Fr Maravilla mentioned St Paul who spoke of universal values in Corinth. He also referred to papal documents.
The initial proclamation consists in arousing in the hearts and minds of those around us the desire to hear about Jesus, an interest, a curiosity to know Him more. This interest will lead to an encounter with the Lord who will himself lead to faith through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The initial proclamation is addressed not only to non-Christians, but also to Christians, Catholics, who have abandoned the faith or are living it out of habit, without being fully aware of it. The initial proclamation is lived out at various levels, for example in the family, where the children receive the initial proclamation. It does not replace catechesis or other teachings to nourish the Christian faith in the hearts of people.
The initial proclamation is carried out through everyday encounters and is not concerned with conversion. It is carried out through our activities done with love for Jesus Christ, no matter what kind of activities they are. It wants to bring about a spiritual experience of an encounter with God. Fr Maravilla used the image of the spark that lights a flame.
A time for questions followed.
The capitulants then entered into the plenary session where they discussed the themes already worked on in the teams, such as the charism, the prophetic mission, the evangelical counsels and collaboration with the laity. This work will continue tomorrow and will be submitted to the drafting committee.
Finally, the election of an Assistant General, Father Francis Bomansaan, took place. Father Bomansaan was born in Ghana. He was working in Kenya. We congratulate him and wish him a fruitful ministry in his new responsibilities. We also assure him of our prayers and support.
While we are on the subject of praying for the Chapter, let us not forget that the election of the Assistants General will continue over the next few days. May the Holy Spirit inspire the members of the Chapter in their choices. A prayer to this effect will certainly be a leaven of unity for our whole missionary Society.
Fr. Alfred Maravilla is a Salesian Missionary, a member of the General Council in charge of the Missions. You can listen to the conference – in English – that he gave to the Capitulants on this Tuesday 31st May 2022.