Report about the Congress at Assisi and Gubbio

Assise – Gubbio, 10 – 14 octobre 2016

On the 11th, the Mass was presided by Mgr Lovey, bishop of Sion (Valais), Suisse), a former Prévôt of the Grand Saint Bernard, on the text Gal 5,1-6; Lc 11,37-41 of the day. His homily was in our folder. He put into light 3 words Freedom, Faith and Charity. 
He stressed on freedom according to a double look: 1st looking towards all the liberations Christ has already achieved for me. And a second regard full of hope towards that future which Christ is going to offer to the Father having each of us in his offering. 
And from that moment we accept the grace of freedom, perhaps would it be easier for us to put values at their right place, letting faith working through love/charity. Therefore living through in faith and be rue witness of the joyful freedom acquired by Christ for all. Amen. 

‘Familiers’ of the Congregation of the Regular Canons of St Victor 
Originally, 2 couples, familiars of Champagne should have presented the subject. But being prevented to come to Assisi, it was P. Louis of Champagne who gave the talk. 
Their program is presented in 2 full pages with extracts from the ceremonial of “welcome into the community”.

Then there are 2 excellent conferences.

I.  St Augustine, witness and apostle of God’s mercy (13p.): written by Prof. Gabriele Ferlisi OAD. He was ill and was replaced by another Prof. We, here in Bruges, appreciated his text very much when read during meals. The red thread was: Augustine has experienced the mercy in his life and could therefore be an apostle about it. He purposely let Augustine speak, meaning quoting large extracts from his work. Fascinating.

II. Augustine, common life and pastoral, by Mgr Jean-Michel Girard, prévôt of the Grand Saint Bernard. 
He based his speech in stressing that a same inspiration leads common life lived with his clergy, relationship with the community of his faithful and the one Augustine wants to develop with the parishioners. He quoted much from Possidius, Life of st Augustine. Then he develops 2 examples of preaching about ‘putting goods in common’, prayer, separated life, clothes. As inspiration, he referred to Letter 78 and of course Sermon 355 and 356. 
As examples, he recalls 2 recent experiments: 
   a)  The Grand Saint Bernard has recently decided to fusion their central house with the parish of Martigny (Valais), to celebrate Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours in the parish church! 
   b)  They have recently decided to make an experience based on St Augustine’s practice: they decided to propose to some young workers (having a job) to live near them in a flat of their house.
        They are taking part in some of their prayer, some meals shared and with perhaps an experimental collaboration to their pastoral activities.

Mgr Jean-Marie LOVEY, bishop of Sion (Valais): gave his conference on the subject: What does a bishop wait from the canons regular? 
He began in mentioning the experiment they lived when the former bishop Mgr Schwery ask them to collaborate to the formation of seminarists of the diocese! In 1995, the canonical seminar was joining the one of the diocese and the novice master CR became under-director of that new form of Seminar. Another example: 6 years ago, le Grand Saint Bernard had to resign to animate some parishes in the diocese.

Those 2 examples are an illustration of the possible collaboration between the bishop and some Augustinian religious. 
He then presented 4 propositions: 
  * Consecrated life opens a true way towards happiness. 
  * Consecrated life opens new ways. 
  * Consecrated life could offer a path towards communion. 
  * Consecrated life opens a way to evangelisation. 
He ended his speech in quoting the last sentence said by John Paul II at the end of his pastoral Visit in Switzerland: “May the God of your fathers be always the Father of your children.

Vobis enim sum episcopus – Don Pietro Guglielmi CRL – Augustine in the middle of His people – The Regula clericorum, the Rule of Ravenne.

In Gubbio – where we went for a day – there is a huge basilica built on the top of the hill, consecrated to S.  Ubaldo Baldassini, born in 1084-85. As bishop, he went to Ravenna to find the Rule for the Canons; in doing so, he reformed the conduct of Gubbio’s clergy. In this Rule, is found the rhythm of the canonical day: 8 h. work, 8 h rest and 8 h for prayer, chant and silence. The author is Pietro di Onesti. He stressed much on poverty: common life without any personal belonging.

The lecturer stressed on the fact that his enterprise of translating that Rule can be a source of renewal in parishes, when contemplating the huge success and influence it had in XI and XIIe cent; For him this work of translation from Latin to Italian, in collaboration with people of good will is in no way an academical enterprise but a cultural deepening of Christian and canonical tradition to propose and make known canonical life.

The last was an experiment in parish’s priests life: 
Spiritual and pastoral experiment of the “Community of St Basil and Gregory” 
2 members of that Community gave a very interesting witness: The adventure began on 2 jan. 1995, when 3 priests and a deacon felt an exigency to preserve their life and ministry against isolation and “derives” possible mishaps in the life of a priest. 
During the first 3 years, from 4 they became 7 until suddenly one of them died, alone, in his presbytery and was found only 24 h. after his death. No more such a loneliness! they thought. 
In 2002 they had 2 houses. Then a big step in July 2015 was taken: a big common house was inaugurated. Now they can live according to their ideal: common life and pastoral commitment. Including permanent formation. Those realities in fact, are energizing one another.

Bruges, 21st November 2016 
sr Francis Josep

Below some atmospheric pictures: