2nd Integration Day

It has been a month since the last integration day, and so the Brothers set off today to the Pastoral Centre to meet with the spiritual directors:  Sr Helenka, Sr Janis and Fr Andrew. Each Brother will have an hour with their director where they can discuss the impact that the Orientation Programme (OP) is having on them.  Prior to leaving for the meeting with the spiritual directors, each Brother was given some questions about the OP and about their discernment about joining the cluster in Western Province, Zambia.  The hope is that this time apart will afford each Brother the space and time to reflect deeply on where the Lord is calling them.

Following the time with the directors, the Brothers have been invited to write an integration paper where they attempt to describe how the OP is impacting of them, and what changes they are being invited to make as they Journey Together.

5th Day of the Jesus Seminar

The morning prayer took the theme of inclusion by way of introducing the same theme for the final day of the workshop on a Contemporary Understanding of Jesus.

The group began discussing the theme of meals in the New Testament. The various groups were invited to identify the various meals as narrated in the gospels and to discover the various aspects of these meals. The group examined who were present at the meals, leading to the insight that Jesus was very committed to include everyone, and especially those who were considered to be at the margins. The meal often is the place where there is established a new world order, where the people at the margins become part of the wider society. Meals were crucial moments of conversion especially for those who had been marginalised.

The session then went on to examine the elements of the Last Supper as outlined in the Synoptics. Three aspects of this meal were highlighted:
• New beginnings
• Sustenance on the journey
• Solidarity together

Then the group studied the account of the last supper in John’s gospel where the meal was omitted and instead there was the washing of the feet to stress the idea of service on one another.

The group was then invited to share on their experience of Eucharist both within their families and in their parish community.

The morning concluded with groups preparing a simple liturgy of the Eucharist and celebrating the Eucharist in a creative way.

Day 4 of the ‘Jesus Workshop’

The morning prayer was a good introduction to the workshop for today.  The group continued to discuss the various titles that we traditionally use for Jesus.  Brigit explained that while it is difficult to do away with the titles, and maybe we should not dismiss them, we can have a new understanding of the titles.  Hence, the challenge facing us is to come to a new understanding of the person of Jesus.

Then the group examined the Scriptures, the Church doctrines and the Creed and saw how many aspects of each of these religious dimensions need to be viewed critically and understood in a new way.  The discussion led to the debate on the historical religious colonization of traditional African practices.  Brothers explained that while Christianity was introduced to Africa, even today the traditional African practices continue to be honoured.

The challenge facing the Brothers when they enter into the new communities is how to engage with the people even when the Brothers have a different theological view.  As religious we will be expected to lead by example and attend the more traditional liturgies and participate in the various religious practices.

Day Three of the ‘Jesus Workshop’

Day three of the workshop on a Contemporary Understanding of Jesus began with a lectio divina on the passage of Bartimaeus.  The practice of lectio divina was explained as a rich traditional practice to discover the wealth of the Scriptures.

The group reflected on the various passages that they had been given the previous day and saw how each of the passages pointed to the power of experience. They saw how valuable it was to unpack each gospel event in order discover the truth of each experience.

The group then discussed the various messianic titles that were given to Jesus.  The significance of these titles was explored.

Following the discussion on the titles of Jesus, the group examined the image of God as Redeemer.  It was explained that the term Redeemer was a later development in the understanding of Jesus.  The questions that emerged from this understanding are:

  1. What is the image of God flowing from this understanding?
  2. How true is this for you?
  3. What’s the image of a Christian life flowing from this understanding?


A Contemporary Understanding of Jesus – Day Two

Today we celebrated Francis’ birthday, wishing him every blessing for his life ahead.

Day two of the workshop on a Contemporary Understanding of Jesus began with a prayer celebrating the birthday of Francis Hall.

The morning was devoted to exploring the origin of the gospels, and how they were written.  Brigit and Francis invited the Brothers to explore some key passages from the gospels.  Some significant events of the life of Jesus were examined:  the infancy narratives, the Birth of Jesus and the account of Jesus walking on the water. The group explored the types of narratives in the gospels:  the historical facts and the more-than-factual meanings.  The question was about what significance these passages had.  Each of the groups reported on the result of their discussions on each of the above passages.

The discussion continued where the Brothers asked key questions on the factual or metaphorical nature of the Birth and Resurrection narratives.

Then the group were invited to study a variety of articles that describe some aspects of the historical Jesus.  As each group went to research these articles, they came to a deeper appreciation of the humanity of Jesus.

Shillong diaries

PIC: During a prayer service in Umtyrkhrang, one of the new locations where the Brothers will be moving to in January.

      Ruvan, Roshan, Romeo, Jockey and Bipin went to Umtyrkhrang on 29th Oct. We attended the prayer service and to meet the community. It was very warm welcome by the local community. We were happy visit and meet them. Bipin gave the homily, which was down to earth. Brothers visited the new constructions mission house and the new Church in the village.We had our breakfast and lunch Fr. Sngi’s cousin house. Then we came to see the hub site in Jyntru.

      David and Mahendra conducted Lectio Divina on 30th Oct in the morning . On 31st Oct Second and Gambhir conducted morning prayer on theme the kingdom of God. On 1st Nov Jockey and Romeo conducted morning prayer on theme All Saint’s day. On 2nd Nov Roshan conducted morning prayer on theme All Soul’s Day. Brothers went to Laitumkhrah cemetery for Khasi mass at 1:00pm and some stayed back for evening Rosary. On 3rd Willie and Con conducted the morning prayer. On 4th of Nov we had check in, in the morning.

A Contemporary Understanding of Jesus

Today began a five-day workshop on a contemporary understanding of Jesus. Brigit Mathew and Francis Hall are the two presenters.

The morning began with the Brothers outlining what they hoped to gain from the workshop.  They were then invited to reflect on their images of Jesus that they had from childhood, and how these images have changed over the years.

In the afternoon, Brigit then explained how the Scriptures needed to be read at various levels.  She said that elements of the Bible can be classified as factual, literal, historical, metaphorical and more than literal.  She invited the Brothers to examine a few passages from Scripture and to decide at what level the passages need to be understood..

The Seven Elements of Journeying Together

After a very creative morning prayer organised by Konkoro and Dominic, we invited the Brothers to divide into their groups and have a check-in.  Each Saturday when we are in Tamale we engage in this exercise which affords the Brothers the opportunity to share more deeply on how the Orientation Programme is impacting on them.

Following this session, the Brothers were introduced to the seven elements of Journeying Together:

  • Across Cultures
  • Cluster Hub System
  • Community Living
  • Dislocation
  • Community Engagement
  • In-depth Training
  • The God Search

After some personal time reflecting on these seven elements, the Brothers took part in a plenary session where a lively discussion ensued.

Workshop on Edmund Rice Part II

The morning prayer introduced a video where Philip Pinto talked about the changes in the Congregation and the call to solidarity with the people made poor.  Such an inspiring message!

Then Chris presented the video of The Story of a People Led by the Spirit, which had been commissioned by way of preparation to present Journeying Together to all the Brothers in the Congregation.

Following the video, some Brothers shared their experience of life in the Congregation prior to Vatican II, and how the Council had changed the culture of Religious Life.

There followed a lively conversation on the video where Brothers began to see the message of Journeying Together as a challenge to change.

The second session of the morning was directed by Francis Hall where he situated the life of Edmund Rice within the Universe Story, identifying some of the key elements of evolution as they applied to the life of Edmund Rice.

The afternoon session was concerned with bringing the learnings of the previous days to a unified whole and giving space for the Brothers to share the impact that the life of Edmund Rice has on their individual lives.

Workshop on Edmund Rice

The morning prayer was based on reflections on the life of Edmund Rice in preparation for Chris’ workshop on the same topic.

Chris invited the Brothers to think of three qualities that they associated with Edmund Rice. When each Brother had reflected on the qualities,  they formed table groups to come up with some agreed qualities which they then shared in the plenary session.  Some qualities  that were not mentioned were then introduced and the session ended with Chris presenting some quotations attributed to Edmund Rice.

Following the first session the Brothers engaged in an exercise where they were invited to link about fifty dates with events that had happened on those particular dates…this proved to be both challenging and fascinating as Brothers discussed the history of the Congregation.

Then in the afternoon, the Brothers were invited to read some accounts of various moments in the life of Edmund and discuss the importance of these events in shaping the life of Edmund Rice. Thus, concluded the first day of the workshop.