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AD GENTES - Documents in the Archives

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10/11/2011: General House

Brother Jean Ronzon, former Secretary General, said we should have a “sense of the history”. By that he meant to show each of the secretariats in Rome the importance of having well classified files in each sector. And at the desired time,“to send them down to the archives”. I think it is easy to agree with Brother Jean Ronzon. From him I have learned not to let this “sense of the history” pass unnoticed.

Recently, 486 documents have been deposited in the archives of AD GENTES. Thanks to them, we have available a reasonable number of selected documents, which will help us reconstruct the history of the beginnings of AD GENTES in these last two years. That is, since this administration took up the general animation and government of the Congregation, after the Chapter of 2009. A great part of this documentation relates to Groupe VII, in 2010, which had its formation in Davao. Group VIII (which is, in fact, only one brother) will follow a course of formation in Madrid, following the cancellation of the course in missionary formation at the Jesuit Formation Centre in Manila, the Centre called EAPI, the abbreviation of East Asia Pastoral Institute.

This Centre offers a programme quite similar to the one we organized in Davao. It consists of five blocks which include references to the world of Asia. Block 1: Christian reading of the reality. Block 2: Religious phenomenology. Block 3: Mission. Block 4: Geographical dimension of mission. Block 5: Practical activities. These parts of the programme are completed by some “complementary activities”, such as pilgrimages, cultural visits, and a visit to the headquarters of the Pontifical Mission Works.

The 486 documents are of differing importance, but they have been selected from others which have little “historical importance”. We find there, in English and Spanish, the document presented to the last Chapter   and which was praised for its excellent presentation and rich content: “ASIAN PROJECT MISSION AD GENTES, 2005 - 2009. DETAILED REPORT ”. The longest and most important chapter of AD GENTES describes the organization of the initiative, from its launching in 2005 at the Provincials’ Conference in Sri Lanka up to the 21st General Chapter. The Chapter reaffirmed the necessity and continuity of AD GENTES, but in different molds, which would allow the enlarging of the missionary vision of the Congregation, oriented more towards the Asiatic dimension of AD GENTES,  a vision more pluricontinental and discerning of the missionary needs of the Institute wherever they were. This perspective may be translated by the expression: INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION IN MISSION.

Another document of great importance is the COURSE OF FORMATION FOR MARIST LAY MISSIONARIES. Although not an official document of the Congregation, it is a proposal offered to the Provinces to prepare lay people who feel themselves called to be Marist missionaries. Certainly, each   Province can offer its own programme of formation and this document is merely an offer of help. The brief   history of AD GENTES tells us that the formation of Marist missionaries, brothers and laity, is of capital importance. Maturity is an essential element and the course covers the various aspects required from the   perspective of the Marist charism.

The archives are not lacking various reports, sent to the General Council, on the visitations of the AD GENTES Sector, giving account of the current situation, but at the same time, looking forward to the future. A future when we would like to see the AD GENTES Sector consolidated by solid communities composing it, with its reduced number of brothers and laity. A future when we would also like to respond to other missionary needs of the Congregation in INTERNATIONAL MISSIONARY CO-OPERATION.

______________
Br Teófilo Minga
Co-ordinator of Project AD GENTES - Rome, 25 October 2011

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