The European Mission Conference (CEM) met at Nikolauskloster in Germany (Central European Province) for its annual session after two years of pandemic and no meetings.
Present were: Mariusz Bosek (Poland); Jagath Premanath Gunapala (Norway); Jean-Georges Zyilhoubé (France); Martin Moran (Anglo-Ireland); Athanasius Wedon-Jones (Germany/Central European); Pasquale Castrilli (Italy/Mediterranean); Alberto Gnemmi, General Councillor for Europe; Vincent Gruber, CIE provincial delegate to the CEM. Apologies were received from: Roman Tyczynski (Luxembourg/France-Benelux); Serhiy Zakrachenko (Ukraine); Maciej DRZEWICZAK (JPIC).
Vincent Gruber recalled the history of the CEM and its aims in order to put the current situation into context. The President, Pasquale Castrilli, invited each member to introduce himself, given the arrival of two new members.
The priorities and orientations resulting from the joint CIE and General Council session of April 2022 in Florence were highlighted. Namely: Strengthen and develop the place of the laity in the Oblate mission; Encourage and establish international intercultural communities; Meeting the challenges of secularization.
It was recalled the strengths and weaknesses of the Europe Region that were presented to the General Chapter in Nemi. Alberto Gnemmi, General Councillor also presented the follow-up to the theme “Pilgrims of Hope in Communion”.
In the light of Evangelii Gaudium, which invites us to revisit our Constitutions and Rules that we will celebrate in 2026 and which lead us to look at who we are. In particular, in response to the “Rescriptum ex audientia” of Pope Francis, dated May 18, 2022, Oblate Brothers are now eligible for all positions of responsibility in the Congregation.
In the light of Laudato Si’, which moves us forward in the questions of the “Common House” of which JPIC is the concrete expression of our commitments to and with the poorest. The testimonies of the capitulants from Sri Lanka, Haiti and Ukraine were eloquent. Oblates risk their lives so that the poor may be served, fed and supported. This invites us to support young people and vocations and first formation. Restructuring must be done in view of the mission.
Starting from Fratelli Tutti. It is necessary to develop a communion among ourselves / with God / with creation / with all humanity / with other confessions and those without religion. This obliges us to go further and to implement the proposals of the Oblate Lay Associates following their world gathering at the end of May and the presence of representatives at the General Chapter on Saturday, September 15.
Pasquale Castrilli, president of CEM, recalled the project of a CEM meeting for oblates in shrines and pilgrimages, initially planned for 2019 in Lourdes and already budgeted by CIE. The CEM members decided to reschedule this project in Lourdes and worked on its development and the call for speakers. It will be held from Tuesday 21 November to Thursday 23 November 2023 inclusive. By inviting one or two representatives from Oblate places, the participants could be around thirty. Provincials are invited, as well as members of the CEM, to contact the Oblates concerned to reserve these dates and participate.
The CEM participants were very happy to meet in a fraternal, caring and productive atmosphere. They plan to respond to the issues formulated at the joint session and at the General Chapter in a upcoming programming.