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Our future is full of hope



   Every four years a representation of our Community of Servants of the Gospel meets for our general assembly, known as “Belen” (Bethlehem). This year 40 membersparticipated in Belen 2018 in Espinosa de Henares, (Guadalajara, Spain) from April 20th to May 6th.



   In addition to the consecrated missionaries, André, a diocesan priest from Munster was present, together with Carlos Joao and Claudia, a missionary couple from Coimbra with their children.


This Belen was the fourth in our brief history as a community. There were many issues that we had to deal with, but thanks to the committees who had begun work previously, we were able to cover a great deal in the two long weeks of the assembly.



   We were all in agreement and felt very united as we listened to the presentation of the topics and worked together in small groups or individually, before  discussing the feedback altogether. After a general assessment of the progress of the Community during the last four years (2014-2018), we spent time on essential topics such as: "our specific mission", “young people", "the servidores", "obedience and responsibility "," accompaniment " and" formation." Occasionally it was necessary to make decisions and vote in the assembly. We agreed to make a “preferential option for young people" during these next four years of mission. We also approved the creation of several commissions which will continue to work on different areas which remain pending over the next four years or on a permanent basis. These include a formative itinerary for young people and the servidores and reviewing and developing our Statutes.



  There were a few days when we were accompanied by FatherElíasRoyón, SJ and our missionary sister Nike Vennekens, who brought all her experience as a canonist. On April 30th, we elected Ma Amparo Checa (general responsible), Teresa Fernández and Laura Alonso as members of the new base group. In the Eucharist after the election each of them in turn  expressed  what it meant to respond to God`s new call  at this stage of the Community's journey and they received the blessing of all those present in the Belen. The Belen, as always, hasan ¨infra¨ team made up of missionaries and servidores which we cannot do without. Thanks to them meals, journeys and many other details were covered.  BRAVO to them!




   A day that will always be deeply engraved in each one of our hearts was the day we went to Loeches to share the Eucharist with our brothers and sisters of the Verbum Dei fraternity. That Mass meant a fraternal reunion, full of faith and emotion! We were able to see each other again, embrace each other during the sign of peace and sing those well-known songs together that have expressed who God is for us so well on our missionary journey.This Mass and the agape that followed, sealed the beginning of a new stage among us that began with the funerals of Maria Areitioand Jaime Bonet.




   We spent a whole afternoon of the Belen dedicated to the "digital continent". The diffusion team transmitted the urgency for us as missionaries to "be present there” where the young people are, as well as their passion for the mission in the NETWORKS. Another day we saw a presentation of the Discovery program, (program of accompaniment and vocational discernment for young people) that was first carried out with  10 young people from Germany and Spain and is about to begin in Korea and Japan. One afternoon we were able to welcome Don Atilano, bishop of Guadalajara, who came to visit us and to celebrate the Eucharist with us. How good it is to have the support and affection of our Pastor and to know that our community is loved and needed in each of the local Churches where we are.



   We finished our Belen on Sunday May 6th, with a festive Eucharist celebrating all that the Lord had given us in these two intense weeks, before leaving for the different continents.  And of course, the final celebration was inan Oriental key! Go out brothers and sisters, to live the mission where each one of us has been sent! A huge THANK YOU to the base group that have finished their service and to our incoming sisters who now take on this new MISSION-SERVICE as those responsible for the Community.




Laurence Vasseur