Memhery MekonnenDay 17, July 13: Coming Down the Stretch

After two and a half weeks of meetings, all of the delegates appear ready to end and go home. Well, at least your scribe feels this way.

But there is still business to attend to and a final document to approve. After mass and the official photo, we watched videos from Deacon Yohanes Fery and the Province of Indonesia (he is one of seven Indonesian confreres who will be ordained a priest in August), and from a group of seminarians from Slovakia. The assembly then heard from Guenolé Feugang of the Province of France regarding the summary of the final discussion yesterday regarding renewal of our missions and apostolic works. He mentioned working with the poor, accompanying the Vincentian Family and working for systemic change. Some members of the assembly made interventions, although there was much less discussion than yesterday.

Then, Fr. Greg Gay led a tribute to the missionaries from Holland. As of last year, it is no longer a province, but a mission under the Superior General. He noted that confreres from the Netherlands founded the provinces of Indonesia, Ethiopia and Fortaleza in Brazil, and were a major presence in Central America and China among other places. Harrie Jaspers, the superior of the house in Panningen, made a presentation, noting how lay people have taken up the mission and the charism. Then representatives from the provinces that were founded by Holland paid tribute to these great missionaries as well. Lastly, Fr. Tomaz presented Harrie with a gift to share with his house and received a standing ovation from the assembly.

After a break, Frédéric Pellefigue from the Commission on Synthesis and Redaction presented proposed general lines of action. The floor was then opened for comments. As expected, many delegates made observations and suggestions. After lunch, the delegates again met in continental groups to discuss concrete lines of action for each conference. They will return tomorrow for a plenary session.

Visit the official General Assembly site for a gallery of photographs.