Arrival in Lima and first activities
From 20th to 29th of March, the members of the General Council gathered in the city of Lima (Perú) to hold their ordinary meeting and support the lay communities from Peru and Bolivia. Some people from the community “Chaski” (Lima) and the Secretary of Economy, Edison Chalco, extended a warm welcome to all the members of the Council, who were heartily hosted in the Provincial Curia. On the following day they started the work which had been programmed for this visit.
On Monday 21st March, the Council celebrated a meeting with Fr. José Antonio Álvarez cmf, Prefect of Formation for Peru-Bolivia and with Fr. Ricardo Urbano cmf, Secretary of Youth Ministry and Vocations. In this meeting, they standardized criteria for cooperating in what concerns the Claretian charisma and the Movement among the communities spread around the province.
Later in the day, the community “Chaski” of Lima offered the Council a delicious lunch with a wide range of typical Peruvian dishes in a wonderful and cordial atmosphere.
In the afternoon, the members of the Council had an updating meeting on their future visits to Bolivia and Arequipa. They also took part in a couple of events whose aim was to present the Movement: a meeting with the lay communities of “San Miguel Arcángel” Claretian Parish; and an interview on the TV channel “JN19”, run by Fr. Manuel Rodriguez cmf.
Visits to Cochabamba and Arequipa
After a tight schedule on the first day in Lima, some of the members of the Council left for Arequipa in Peru and some others for Cochabamba in Bolivia, with the aim of meeting the lay communities in both positions and promote the movement.
In Cochabamba, after a difficult trip due to transfers and changes in the flight times, the General Secretary, Bernardeta Arbaiza, and the Secretary of Economy, Edison Chalco, hold a meeting with the Bolivia Regional Council. They also had the chance to meet some members of the communities in Cochabamba and La Paz. They could become familiar with the life and situation of the lay claretians in Bolivia. They shared a fraternal meeting with all people present and also with those who could contact them through messages, videos, etc. Among them were the lay claretians from Tarija and the community “Khanntati” from La Paz who couldn’t travel to Cochabamba.
In Arequipa, the Secretary of Formation, Miguel Ángel Sosa and the Religious Counselor, Fr. Manuel Tamargo, Cmf, hold some meetings with the enthusiastic community of that city. They got to know some of the missionary activities that both as a personal level and as a group, the local people are taking ahead. They also had the chance to present the movement to other members of the Parish and to enjoy an unexpected but happy meeting with some sisters of Coordimarian Filiation from Arequipa.
After two hectic days, all members of the Council went back to Lima to begin their meeting and share the Easter celebrations with the claretian community of Lima.
Development of the meeting
The final days of the visit covered the annual meeting that the General Council set up in order to plan the work for the coming months and to take strategic decisions concerning the march of the movement. During more than four days, the members of the Council were given the opportunity: (i) to share their points of views and reach agreements in order to promote the movement; (ii) to develop a communication plan; (iii) to consider how the work teams are doing; (iv) to plan visits to different Claretian communities in Africa with the objective of establishing the movement in that continent; (v) and finally to set priorities in subjects such as formation, communion of goods and assistance to the regions and communities.
During this time the Council also contacted via Skype some members of different communities, feeling close to them and encouraging their particular situations. It was particularly significant the closeness to people from Juanjuí in Peru, who showed a great interest in revitalising their claretian spirit, and in creating a community rooted in the Movement. These groups were highly motivated in spite of the fact that the claretian missionaries had to leave that position some time ago.
It is also worth mentioning that the Council suggested a meeting with the General Government of the claretian missionaries. The idea was welcome with joy and the encounter has been arranged for next October. It will be an outstanding opportunity to set the areas in which both branches of the family can work together.
Meeting with the community of Lima
During these days, the Council could share the Easter celebrations with the claretian communities in Lima.
On Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, the Council attended San Antonio Mª Claret Parish in the neighbourhood of “El Porvenir”, a zone in the city of Lima known by its social problems. Despite the difficulties and lack of security, both Missionaries and lay members are working hard to address the issues that concern people who live here. On Easter Sunday, after the mass, the members of the Council presented the movement to other members of the parish.
For Good Friday services and for the easter vigil they visited “San Miguel Arcángel” Parish in the neighbourhood of “San Miguel”, which is an area close to the claretian school and the provincial curia. This lively parish community run by the claretians is very much involved in evangelization. There are very active believers with different charismas but with a deep spirituality.
In both parishes, after the church celebrations, the claretian community honored the members of the Council with a fraternal banquet. A common space was created to establish a dialogue about the life in the parish and situation of the Movement.
On Easter Sunday afternoon, the Council enjoyed a relaxing and cordial meeting with the members of the community “Chaski”. It took place in their usual meeting point, in Magdalena’s rooms. They could get to know more in detail all the work this community is carrying through, how they are organized, their problems, and their vision of the Movement. At the end of the day, they shared a meal in a family environment.
End of the visit
On the penultimate day of the visit, the members of the Council could find two hours to sightsee the city of Lima, its coast, its Cristo de la Concordia (Christ of Peace) and its historic centre. Later in the day, before supper, some people from channel JN19 moved to the Curia to do an interview to our visitors. The idea was to report on the Movement and the visit of the Council to Peru. On the next day, the Council devoted their time to review and sign the acts of the sessions. At lunch time they could thank the provincial curia and its community for their hospitality and kindness. In such a nice atmosphere, all members of the Council concluded their visit and set off home.