Fr. Art Gramaje, CMF, Shares His Experience at the Claretian Encounter of Prefects of Apostolate

I had the good fortune to represent our province at the Claretian gathering for Prefects of Apostolate in Lisbon, Portugal, from July 26th to August 5th. During this time, about 50 Claretians from all over the world wrote reflections, visions, priorities, and recommendations for our ministries in preparation for the 2015 General Chapter. As you can imagine, it was quite a challenging task to compile a common vision for our international Congregation. The context of our ministries differs from country to country, so the first order of business was to understand those differences.

We discussed the meaning of these four major areas for our next six years:

  • Youth and Vocational Pastoral Ministry
  • Bible Pastoral Ministry
  • Evangelization through Technology, Information, and Communication
  • Solidarity and Mission

The first three areas are self-explanatory for us in the USA-Canada Province, and we will continue to grow in these ministries. The fourth area, Solidarity and Mission, is a new distinction for us. It is an umbrella term for the collaboration among the following areas: Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC); Mission Procure: Proclade; and the United Nations (UN) Ministry.

JPIC has been known in our province for a number of years now, and we are doing some very good work, especially in the area of immigration.

The Mission Procure is a structure that can bring major funding and accountability to Claretian projects that need resources in order to flourish. Proclade is the Claretian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) entity that already exists in many of our provinces and focuses on JPIC projects. We are awaiting Proclade’s recognition by the UN. As you already know, our involvement in the UN Ministry is still evolving.

In order to flourish, these four areas ideally work hand-in-hand, so the title of Solidarity and Mission is an apt description for what we are striving to accomplish. It is my hope that we as the USA-Canada Province can more readily see how our own provincial structure toward Solidarity and Mission can be an important part of a shared mission with our good works as a Congregation. It would be good to reflect and discuss how to plan and implement all the major areas into our own province before our next Provincial Chapter.