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Final Message of the 16th General Assembly of UCESM (March 23/28,in Tirana, Albania)

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April 13, 2015

MESSAGE - During the last week of March 2015, the representatives of the European Conferences of Religious met for their 16th General Assembly in Tirana on the topic: “Religious men and women in Europe: witnesses and shapers of communion“.

1. THANKS TO ALBANIA
First of all, we want to thank Albania for the warm hospitality which we enjoyed here in Tirana and the willingness to allow this General Assembly to take place here, after the venue in Kiev had to be cancelled because of the difficult situation – the armed conflict – in the Ukraine. THANK YOU!

2. SITUATION OF RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES

UCESM gathers about 300.000 religious in Europe (1/3 men religious, 2/3 women religious). In the East and South-East of Europe, the increasing numbers of young religious convey signs of hope whereas in Western Europe, religious have to face the issue of ageing due to the decrease in vocations, a reality which challenges us to creativity: how can religious fully live their vocation to religious life according to their age - when the elderly are many and the young religious few.

Faced with the internationalisation of our communities – similar to that of society – we may become prophets and pioneers and show that a peaceful living together can or could be possible.

Each crisis creates opportunities, religious communities get closer to one another and commit themselves into new duties seeing that – in many parts of the continent - they have largely abandoned their great works. Their commitment is noticeable especially in issues of trafficking, violence against women and poverty.

3. YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE

Te Assembly made clear to what extent the religious communities have apprehended and embodied the „Year of Consecrated Life“. The reflection about Consecrated Life has been deepened and many activities have been or will be started in the different national Conferences and religious orders.

4. IMPRESSIONS AND MESSAGES

Fr. Marko Rupnik SJ, lecturer and artist in Rome, keynote speaker of the Assembly, spoke about the special vocation to which religious people of this 21st century are called: witness the face of God which reveals itself in the humanity of Jesus Christ, in the realities of our secular societies, in the places where we, religious men and women, live - in Europe - being aware of the prophetic dimension of our Call!

5. LIVING TOGETHER – INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE – COMMUNIO

With its very dramatic history throughout the last centuries, especially at the time of religious persecution during the communist regime, Albania is exemplary of how a peaceful interreligious dialogue can/could come to existence thanks when based on mutual respect. The Albanian religious bring an essential contribution to this thanks to the bonds they create with the various Christian confessions and with Islam (main religious).

Religious men and women in Europe, we are called to work in favour of this interfaith and interreligious dialogue, especially when we have to face together common problems and challenges such as poverty, corruption, education, safeguarding of creation, integration, hospitality...

6. LET US BE “BEACONS”

May our communities go on being “spiritual beacons” (power plants) which illumine and which the secular society may perceive.

Let us live and apprehend in a renewed way our Call and our testimony, especially in the present “Year of Consecrated Life”.

Let us place at the heart of our communities the words of Pope Francis:

„WITH THE WISDOM OF THE PREVIOUS GENERATION AND THE ENERGY OF THE YOUNG, WE WILL FIND NEW WAYS OF LIVING THE GOSPEL IN THE CHURCH” (Apostolic Letter / November 21, 2014)

Let us pray and work together and face the challenges of our time, in the Church and in society!


March 2015, Tirana/Albania

 

Read also the article published on the site SIR

 

 

 

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