Today, the 15th October 2012, at 9.00 A.M, the Rector General, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, officially opened the X Consultative Congress. Referring to SAC Law (nn. 131 and 367), he reminded those present that the aim of the Consultative Congress is to deal with the fundamental questions pertaining to the state of the Society and to set new goals to be achieved. Further, such an event is also to promote collaboration among the entities and to enable solutions to common problems and challenges to be found. Quoting the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians (3:16-19), he also prayed for a genuine spiritual renewal at the personal and community levels in our Society, always with the help of a profound experience of the love of Christ.
The official opening was followed by the spiritual retreat conducted by Fr. Eamonn Monson, the Ex-Provincial of the Mother of Divine Love Province. Fr. Eamonn, a well-known retreat preacher, a person of deep faith, was able to share his own life-experiences as a Provincial Rector and as a priest. He referred to the call of Abram by God to go to the unknown land, as described in Genesis 12:1. He mentioned that the Post-Assembly Document (Ariccia 2010) speaks of Abraham's experience of God, his experience of faith that drove him forward towards the blessings of God's promise. The first basic movement of faith is to leave the past behind and follow God's gravitational pull into the future (1.2.1).
Fr. Eamonn referred to the Scriptural theme of this Congress, "You in your turn must strengthen your brothers… (Luke 22:32), as an indication of what we are called to do as leaders and brothers. For Peter, this ministry of strengthening came only after his own experience of failure. Therefore, it is not our strength, not even our gifts, that are our greatest assets but our weakness - weakness that is surrendered to God whose strength alone is what makes it possible for us to witness. Christ carried our sufferings in his own body and in a similar way the Major Superiors embody the life of our community. The Upper Room is a place to strengthen our own lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the imitation of the loving, obedient surrender of Mary to the will of God are other strengthening experiences in our lives. The surrender to the Spirit is the source of our lasting joy in the presence of life, which has its origins in God, joy that is God's own joy.
As our confrere Bishop Séamus Freeman could not come due to unavoidable circumstances, Fr. Eamonn also presided over the Eucharistic celebration. All the participants of the Congress remain deeply grateful to Fr. Eamonn for strengthening his confreres in their own faith.