Our Lady of the Visitation Province, Bangalore
Province Assembly 2017
The long awaited day dawned with the sentiments of gratitude and expectation of the upcoming three grace-filled days of Province Assembly on December 27th to 30th.
Fr. Joseph Royan, a Redemptorist priest set the tone for the day by introducing the Assembly theme “New Wine in New Wineskin” during the Holy Mass. He was impressed that we selected this theme for the Province Assembly and asked us if we really thought about it well to face the Challenges &consequences hidden in it. He further said that we need to be open as the theme calls for new awakening by shedding the old for the love of Jesus. We need to have loyalty to live the consecrated life facing the challenges in living out the theme.
The Provincial Team conducted a befitting prayer service by invoking God’s blessings and leading us into the spirit of the assembly. There was lighting of the lamp by Sr. Sandhya followed by reading of the Word of God and then concluding it with the blessing prayer.
Sr. Sandhya was invited to address the gathering. Sister welcomed us with warm greetings. She said that we had gathered with a purpose and a goal. The theme “New Wine in New Wineskin” awakens us….Sister challenged us to have the courage & readiness to live the theme in our life & ministry.
The first session was with the advocate, Mr. Methal on POCSO: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO Act) 2012. Mr. Prashant Methal addressed the gathering on Sexual and Substance abuse. Then Mr. Rama Krishna, our Chartered Accountantpresented a talk on Goods and Service Tax (GST)/Finance Management.
Sr. Sujita, the facilitator, addressed the gathering by inviting us to focus our attention to the new wine…We need to ask God to find out whatHe is asking of us…maintain and communicate things with hope. Sr. Sujita presented the reflection on the theme, “the New Wine and the new Wineskins” The New wine is JESUS…his teachings…his actions…his way of life…his Mission…. In other words to incarnate the love of our good and provident God, Sister told us that we need to have new guidelines to follow this theme. She suggested to us to pay attention to what is happening inside of us and be flexible to change our set-minds by becoming new “wineskins” Sister confirmed that this theme calls forth a new way of living. Our life must be relational , not as spiritual animators & guides, but having integration of prayer & life. We must be women of God who reflect God’s compassion & caring love. The question she puts forth is “are we more ‘religious’ than ‘Spiritual’… Religiosity is human, Spirituality is divine! She touched the aspects of our Spirituality, Community life, Ministry and Formation.Her detailed focus or the reflection on spiritualitystated that we must bring a transformation; and community life must teach us to love and care for others. Her talk led us to ask ourselves, whatis the “climate” of our community that inspires our candidates, other young formees or others who enter our religious life today? What is our idea of community? What is community for me?We need to repent and change our thinking and attitude, shift paradigms, let go of the old, limited ideas, invest our belief in the new, spirit-filled Gospel vision, become transformed persons not just in word and desire, but CONCRETE action! Sister challenged us with several thoughts: Become a transformed person; Opening of our boundaries for the mission; Collaboration in ministries, God-thirst & following the way of Jesus etc. How do we handle our growing age? Desire to look for a 2nd ministry or remain rooted with the ideas & place where we are!
Ministry: Pope Francis challenges us, Religious to move out of our familiar, comfortable traditional ministries and meet the new demands of a fast changing world and thus become relevant. Her presentation encouraged us to further introspection.
On the Second Day Fr. Prasad SDB, presented Relevance of Adaptations (Digital) in Religious Life Today (CYBER CRIME)
He talked about the harm that can be caused to the persons using media extraordinarily and warned us saying our calls are recorded and our informationin the media, life Facebook, WhatsApp, twitter and other social media can be tapped. “The biggest sin of our time is that we are losing the sense of sin.” said Pope Francis. He awakened us saying every single step that we take using net can be traced back. Every step we take in a cyber world can be traced and trapped. He led us into the evil of which social media can trap us into. Do safe thing to be safe. We should use authentic software. He alerted us to be safe with the use of technology, software and internet. He concluded with Pope Francis quotes on the meaningful use of the communication and how the Church values the uses of the media. He further stated to build society which is healthy and open to sharing. We have to be professional in our thinking, dealings with others, by leading anexemplary life.
There were reports from Education, Socio/Pastoral, Health, NAET, Formation/On Going Formation, Vocation Promotion, Notre Dame Associates Program, JPIC, etc.Time was given foropen discussion and clarification. We were asked to focus ono concrete action plan for the coming two years. We were given ‘Format for preparing the Action Plan’.
The Provincial Team conducted a striking closing prayer ceremony during which all of us were invited to be seated with our community members. At the close of prayer service, Sr. Sandhya was requested to bless all of us with the Holy water and then Sister presented a candle lit from Paschal Candle to each superior of the community; and they in turn lit the candles of their community members. The Province Assembly successfully came to the conclusion with the sense of hope and promise. We praise God for “EVERYTHING THAT BEGINS WELL ENDS WELL”