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ConCon 2022, St. Louis Community, Wa, Ghana Report Monday 26 September. (Reported by: Bro. Raphael Besigrinee)

ConCon 2022, St. Louis Community, Wa, Ghana

Report Monday 26 September

The day began with a Eucharistic celebration at 06:30 together with the brothers of St. Louis community, something different from the daily schedule. This different arrangement was to create room for a prayer service in the evening to mark the birthday celebration of two brothers in St. Louis community. The rest of the day’s program was according to the schedule.   

At 09:00 as usual, we began the first session with a presentation on resolution 16B (Focussing our apostolic works on the most poor and needy)given by Bro. Raphael Besigrinee. The resolution demands that all brothers deepen our awareness and take concrete action towards the poor and needy in our society. The spirit and motivation that drives the implementation of this resolution is clear in our Constitutions, among others articles 17 and 89. 

To implement this resolution concretely, we have to get involved in the lives of people around us especially the poor themselves. Therefore, we cannot implement this resolution theoretically but in real concrete terms; we cannot be in solidarity at a distance. Solidarity according to John Paul II "is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of people, but a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. For instance, our founder, Mgsr. Louis Rutten was moved with a compassion that was not vague; in other words, his feelingfor the misfortunes of the children of Maastricht was accompanied by concrete action.

A number of suggestions from the GC were given in this presentation to help our provinces implement the resolution, among others, caring for the environment as proposed by Laudato Si of Pope Francis. This document makes it clear that there is a strong connection between (the lacks of) care of our environment and poverty. Other measures include engaging our students or co-workers in the care of our environment, embarking on projects such as tree planting, clean-up exercises,  campaign against cutting of trees, environmental education, the prudent use of (drinking) water, paying respect to all animals in all ecological settings, appointing a brother in charge of environment etc. 

The resolution also touched on how the GC concretely responded to covid-19 which put half of the world population in dire need of basic needs. These include first of all a circular letter of the General Superior, publications in the IGC, offering prayers and offering a Covid-19 Relief Fund to our provinces to help mitigate the suffering of people. 

Since the heavier part of the implementation of this resolution lies with our provinces, an opportunity was given to our provincial superiors to share how the resolution was implemented. Among other ways, provinces tried in their little ways to help relieve the needs of victims of natural disasters such as the covid-19 pandemic. Through the solidarity fund provided by the GC, provinces also presented proposals for projects for the poor, among others the renovation of poor schools, provision of accommodation for school girls in poor communities, empowerment of widows, sponsorship of youth activities and In-services Training courses for FIC co-workers. 

The meeting encouraged our provincial superiors to take more concrete actions in their provinces towards relieving the needs of the poor. These include using the solidarity fund in our provinces, helping children with special needs in the immediate surroundings of FIC communities and   institutions, providing poor children with skills training in Carpentry for instance, providing extra classes for weaker students in our schools, providing psychological, spiritual and pastoral care for FIC co-workers, among others.

In conclusion the GC appealed to brothers also to express their solidarity through prayers for the poor and victims of diseases and disasters. As scriptures say, "The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds, and it will not rest until it reaches its goal; it will not desist until the Most High responds" (Sirach 35:21-23). Brothers were also encouraged to give an evangelical interpretation to situations where we feel overwhelmed by peoples suffering. 

In the next presentation, Bro. Valentinus Daru explained resolution 30B which enjoins the General Council to help our Brothers understand (the dogma of) the Immaculate Conception of Mary which forms part of the name of our congregation. There are articles in our Constitution, especially 10, 12 75 and 116 that can help us understand this dogma. Deepening the understanding of this dogma (of our patron Saint Mary), is integral to the affirmation and enrichment of our congregational spirituality. The central message of the dogma is that Mary, from the first moment of her conception, was freed (by God) from original sin, in view of her future task as the mother of Jesus.


The GC shared with the provincial superiors how they handled the resolution. The General Council, together with the RHN Council held a special recollection on the theme in the GC office complex, from 5 to 7 October 2020. The facilitator was Bro. Johan Muijtjens.  He traced the historical background of the dogma, the inspiration of the title 'Immaculate Conception', and what it means to us as individuals and also as a community of brothers today.

Discussion of resolution 4B (seat of the General Council) concluded the days discussion. Instead of the usual Eucharist, the group joined St. Louis community for evening prayer service in honour of two brothers who celebrated their birthdays. 

Bro. Raphael Besigrinee

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