Superior’s Meeting

Superior’s Meeting

Ter., 13 Jun. 23 Vida do Instituto

Introduction:

The meeting for the Animators and vicars total of 22 members  of the Daughters of the Church in India began on  15th May 2023 at 9 PM with an introduction on charismatic aspect  by Rev. Sr. Gracy, the Delegate Superior.  On May 16, 2023 Rev Fr. Abraham Karkaparambil, Rector of the Minor Seminary of Rayagada- Odhisha focused on the theme of leadership and synodality within the Church/ withing the religious community. The meeting aimed to explore the sisters’ experiences and good practices in living synodality in their communities and nurturing personal vocations. Fr. Abraham emphasized the importance of participation, belongingness, personal conversion, and making room for others in embracing synodality.

The challenges faced in leadership and within religious congregations include a lack of good examples, a lack of authenticity, difficulties, acceptance and obedience, and struggles in leading community members. Additionally, acceptance of change, humility in wielding power, courage, compassion, the right form of love, forgiveness, and a lack of listening are identified as obstacles to effective leadership.

Factors Influencing Leadership Roles in Religious Setups: During the meeting, it was recognized that some people today may be less inclined to take leadership roles in religious setups. Several potential factors contributing to this phenomenon were discussed:

Changing social dynamics: Modern society's evolving expectations and aspirations may not align with traditional religious hierarchies and leadership roles. Individuals prioritize personal autonomy and individual spiritual experiences over formal leadership positions.

Decline in religious affiliation: The decline in religious affiliation and the rise in secularism in many parts of the world have resulted in a diminished pool of individuals interested in assuming leadership roles within religious organizations.

Lack of trust in religious institutions: Scandals and controversies involving religious leaders have eroded public trust in religious institutions. This loss of trust discourages individuals from actively pursuing leadership roles within religious settings.

Professional and personal considerations: Leadership roles within religious organizations often require significant time, commitment, and personal sacrifice. Demanding professional careers and personal responsibilities may make it difficult for individuals to dedicate the necessary time and energy to assume leadership roles.

Alternative forms of spirituality: Some individuals find spiritual fulfilment outside of traditional religious structures, exploring alternative practices or non-institutionalized forms of spirituality. This diverts potential leaders away from religious setups.

Key Points Discussed in the Meeting:

Witnessing and Living Synodality: The members reflected on their communities' experiences of synodality. While some acknowledged experiencing synodality to some extent, others expressed the need for further exploration and implementation. Good practices were shared, and the current state of synodality in various communities was discussed.

Seeds of Synodality and Threats: Essential elements of synodality, such as open communication, active listening, collaboration, and shared decision-making, were identified. Participants also highlighted threats that hinder synodality, including individualism, power dynamics, lack of inclusivity, and resistance to change. The meeting aimed to address these challenges and find ways to overcome them.

Identity, Belongingness, and God's Work: Fr. Abraham emphasized that identity comes from the Church and belongingness is inherent in every individual. Synodality was presented as a process that begins with personal conversion and a change of mentality. The animators were encouraged to reflect on their attitudes and embrace synodality in their ministry missions.

Nourishing Personal Vocations: The meeting emphasized the importance of nurturing personal vocations within the context of synodality. All were urged to make room for others and enlarge their tents, prioritizing the needs of others over personal freedoms. Synodality was presented as a way to bear each other's burdens and nurture vocations in relationship with others.

Survey Question: A survey question was presented to the Sisters, prompting them to reflect on their personal work in nurturing their vocations. The aim was to stimulate self-reflection and encourage discussions on actively contributing to the synodal journey within the community.

Conclusion: The Superiors Meeting concluded with a commitment to embrace synodality and nurture personal vocations within the Church and within the respective communities. Fr. Abraham's insights on identity, belongingness, and God's work provided a strong foundation for understanding the essence of synodality. The animators acknowledged the need for personal conversion, making room for others, and working in relationship with one another. The meeting served as an opportunity to share good practices and address challenges hindering synodality. Moving forward, the attendees expressed their commitment to fostering a synodal culture and actively nurturing their personal vocations within the community.

The take-home message from the meeting is the importance of embracing the joy of being ourselves, having patience to bear with one another, and practicing acceptance, tolerance, and rediscovery. Members were encouraged to dedicate themselves to these principles, and superiors are called upon to build a sense of fraternity within the community. Ultimately, the goal is to live a synodal community, where everyone's participation is valued, and the mission of the Church is carried out in a spirit of unity and collaboration.

To address these issues, the meeting emphasizes the need for a new way of conversation, where individuals enter into dialogue and actively listen to one another. It also suggests the importance of building a Trinitarian community, embracing an apostolic mission, praying and sharing meals together. Living a synodal community involves fostering fraternal communion, being open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and dedicating oneself to the joy of being oneself and walking together.