July 14, 2014
The 1st International Congress of SGME was held in Sassone, Rome, from 18 to 28 May 2014. It was attended by about 150 brothers along with a few Religious sisters and lay people of the Franciscan Family from 100 Entities of the Order and 50 countries. The theme of the Congress was “Vade, repara domum meam. Identity and Novelty in the Mission of Evangelization in the Order”, which was discussed by speakers, witnesses, in 6 group works and summarized in the final message addressed to the whole Franciscan family.
The objectives set by the SGME Congress were achieved in a positive way, that is, to celebrate a meeting of the Friars of the world, sharing the richness of different cultures and forms of evangelization; to deepen the identity and novelty of the evangelizing mission of the Order; to identify ways and means to renew the mission of evangelization in the Entities; to offer the General Chapter of 2015 (and the Entities) some concrete proposals to revive the missionary dynamism of the Order by reviving enthusiasm.
In the website of the Order, it is possible to consult this rich library of the evangelizing mission of the Order, distributed in the speeches and accessible from the thematic point of view (evangelization according to the Pope, in the mind of Francis and in our story, dialogue, minority, new forms of life and missions, shared missions, etc.). Even the abundance of photos and video found on the website testifies to the richness of this great event for the Order.
Great was the satisfaction of the participants, particularly the Provincial Secretaries for missions and evangelization. There was joy especially during the sharing of life and pastoral work in so many different contexts, which was a great resource to be shared among all. There were also moments of recreations, during which each conference created a climate of its own culture to offer to others, through songs, dances, small crafts, and gastronomy.
At the end of the Congress, the final message launched and appeal to the whole Franciscan family to put into practice in life all the abundance of information received.
Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent.