A group of about fifty people coming from Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, met in mid-August in Boulogne-sur-Mer, for a summer session on the theme: Legacy and creativity in a Church on the move, the experience of the earliest Christian communities and the inspiration of the Teresian Association.
The group included TA members, AP y ACIT, MIT, and TA friends. This session was part of the synodal process and here is an overview of our reflections.
We looked afresh at our experiences of Church and at what we know about the lives of the first Christian communities, and we came to the following conclusions:
We feel a strong need to build community and strengthen the bonds of fellowship. We dream of a Church where everyone feels loved and supported by their brothers and sisters. We dream of unconditional welcome where each person has a place and is recognised along with his or her talents.
We dream of a Church that opens up meaningful pathways to our contemporaries through its words and actions. ‘The water from the well is for everyone, yet there are many who die of thirst by the side of the well.’ (St Teresa of Avila).
We dream of a diverse Church which dares to dialogue with others, even if those others seem to be unreceptive.
Above all, we dream of a Church where each person encounters Christ mysteriously present in the depths of humanity; a Church at the service of humanity and life; a Church where all come together to celebrate in joy; a Church that is attractive for our times.
We dream of a Church that serves, that is maternal and consoling; a Church that is dynamic, creative and outgoing; a Church of sharing, that is open and simple, in the image of the early Church.
We dream of a Church that dares to change in order to communicate faith in the risen Jesus, as it has always been urged to do by the Holy Spirit ever since Pentecost.
We dream of accessible and understandable language in which to express and celebrate our faith.
We dream of a rethinking about the training of priests so that they can be the presbyters we need.
We dream of a Church that makes room for the laity, where the sharing and commentary of the Word is open to them, without distinction between men and women.
We dream of a Church that is a ‘community of communities’, a Church that is a gathering point that encourages, in addition to its ceremonies, local groups that combine reflection, sharing and action with others; ‘households’ where we can connect and seek to live in fidelity to the Gospel, in connection with the universal Church so as not to remain insular, and to allow ourselves to be touched by the burning issues of our times − ecological, ethical, social, etc.
It is up to us to work and to educate ourselves to make this dream come true, without imposing it. ‘I cannot change the Church or others, but I can change myself.’
Session d'Été. Boulogne-sur-Mer.
TA Translations Team.