#farbutnear

Communication in times of difficulty


Number 5

Dear friends, we meet again after our virtual meeting and we are happy to give you this fifth bulletin. Many of you have told us that it is a pleasure to receive this page and so we have decided to keep it for some time.

We will send you a bulletin every two months and there will be an opportunity as well to ask you to contribute with interventions on your part.

We wish you a good reading

International Responsible Team

Editorial

Clarita & Edgardo BERNAL

International Responsible Couple

ECHOES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY VIRTUAL MEETING

"Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do" (John Wooden)

Dear family of the International College:

Last September 5th, after a week of intense work, we held the closing ceremony of a Virtual Meeting of the International College, in which 20 spiritual counsellors and 24 Super Regional and Regional responsible couples met with the 8 couples of the ERI and their spiritual counsellor. A meeting of the college that convoked 85 people who, from all latitudes of the world, from their countries of origin, with a difference in time zone of 17 hours between Turlock (California) and Canberra (Australia), and communicating in 5 different languages, through the magic of the internet, we were able to overcome the impossibility of meeting in person and not being able to have the usual simultaneous translation.

Since last year, at the College of Valencia, ERI had planned to hold the International College in Warsaw (Poland), at the end of July this year. All its preparation , until then, unpostponable annual meeting that was already in its final stage of development, was truncated by the untimely explosion of the COVID-19 pandemic that led us to take the decision to cancel the College on April 30th, less than three months before its inauguration.

It was a painful and disconcerting decision because all the animation of the Movement carried out by the ERI, has as its central axis and strongest moment the scenario of the International College, where in the fraternity and warmth of the encounter and in the middle of a climate of prayer and community experience of faith, begins the chain of experience and transmission of the directives and guidelines which allows us to be able to walk together with the universe of the Movement, being faithful to the principles that inspire us.

Trying to assimilate the initial confusion, we began to debate within the ERI, what should be the strategy to make up for this absence of the College. To postpone it? To eliminate it and to wait for the College of 2021?

In a scenario of uncertainty, in which we could not guarantee that the situation would not worsen even more, we came to the conclusion that this year would definitely be an atypical year in international animation and that, without bowing to the circumstances, instead of lamenting, we should focus our efforts, not on what the pandemic was preventing us from doing, but on what we could do without trying to follow the same models to which we have become accustomed in the realization and planning of international colleges. So, it was in this way that the first extraordinary virtual meeting of the International College was born, a challenge full of elements absolutely unknown to all.

The first decision, perhaps politically incorrect but necessary and which we know was not very well received by the members of the International College at the beginning, was to hold the virtual meeting, one month after the date initially planned for the Warsaw College.

What was the reason for this decision which even, we must confess, had different opinions at first within the ERI, which finally in the spirit of collegiality, converged in finding it the most convenient?

Actually, holding a virtual meeting, based on what was prepared in a face-to-face college, is not an automatic operation. We had to use, of course, some elements of the college already prepared, to start planning the Virtual Meeting from "zero".

This implied having additional time, since in the less than three months remaining to the date of the already planned Warsaw College, it was impossible to prepare the virtual meeting, which demanded a series of different elements, not only of content but also of technology, which can go unnoticed, when only the final result is observed. This was the reason for postponing the meeting for one more month, a decision that time reaffirmed to us that it was correctly taken.

We know that many members of the College had to block work agendas, multiply the hours of virtuality that had already been demanding on a daily basis and make several sacrifices, for which we present our apologies, which we know will be understood when one knows the origin of the decision.

Today, after having concluded the Virtual Meeting and after having read and evaluated in detail the surveys that all the couples members of the College answered, as well as half of the spiritual counsellors, we can say with much gratitude that the result was clearly and convincingly optimal. Thank you for having dedicated this time to respond with such detail and rigor, the extensive evaluation form, as this allows us to continue building on a firm foundation, recognizing strengths and identifying opportunities for improvement.

In the editorial of the bulletin prior to the meeting, we told you that the preparatory work for the Virtual Meeting had already been carried out by the ERI, and that it only remained for it to be availed and enriched by the participation of each of you who, with the ATTITUDE with which you approached your participation in this meeting and with the presence of the Spirit, could determine the quality of the harvest. With much emotion we have been witnesses of the joy and the commitment with which you participated in this meeting, which has made us obtain fruits in abundance. Thank you all very much for allowing yourselves to be permeated by the Spirit who has seen the work of these days with pleasure.

The Virtual Meeting has left us with many lessons that we can "capitalize" on for the future. In this bulletin, in another section, we present a feedback of the evaluation that you have done and that gives us many elements of reflection for our services. The ERI is already evaluating your suggestions and will respond in a timely manner to the concerns raised.

One of the first actions resulting from this evaluation is precisely the permanence of this publication, #farbutnear. We hope that in this return to the "new normal" we will continue to publish it on a bimonthly basis and that for now will keep suspended the usual ERI Courier that will be reformulated.

Working always under the protection of our model of service and intercessor par excellence, Our Mother Mary, we reiterate our gratitude and affection, and encourage you to echo in your Super Regions and Regions of everything that together we have built and learned in this no longer unknown, new experience of animation of the International College.

God bless you.



How are we travelling?

Father Ricardo Londoño - International Spiritual Counselor

We have been in a situation that took us by surprise for a little over six months and in which we have found a great variety of opinions and behaviors.

The way in which we human beings face the different situations that we encounter on our journey is contrasting.

Before the COVID 19 we see, on the one hand, some who do not manage to overcome their anguish and prevention and fall into mental illnesses of great anxiety and depression and, on the other hand, we find those who continue their existence without the slightest precaution or prevention and with ostensible lack of respect for their fellow men.

Between the two extremes there is a varied range of behaviors that lead us to understand the great complexity that accompanies humanity.

In the midst of diversity, we must walk with our own concerns, looks and actions. And it is worth asking ourselves today what it has meant for us to live so long under conditions different from those we have had before, throughout our lives.

What has the pandemic and its accompanying circumstances represented for us (as individuals, as spouses or ordained ministers, as team members)? Has it been a time of Grace and Mercy, of challenge and invitation to something new, or, on the contrary, a "dead" time and lacking existential significance?

We can try a good exercise to set the Endeavors in motion.

  • In the personal encounter with God, review our life and make a balance of what we have lived.

  • In the individual and conjugal listening of the divine Word, welcome the light that helps us to interpret the moment as a "sign of the times" and possible Kairos.

  • In the conjugal dialogue, consider with serenity and depth the meaning that this season has had for the growth and deepening of the conjugal spirituality in its varied expressions.

  • In the Rule of Life, perhaps, incorporate something that corrects what has been able to deteriorate the close ties due to the greater and more continuous interrelationship.

  • And, in the modality of the Spiritual Retreat that can be lived (far from the ideal of at least 48 hours of recollection and encounter with God), the profound revision of this time and its influence on our history itself.

If the vocation to which we have been called as baptized and as team members is to walk towards holiness, every circumstance, however difficult it may be, must become an opportunity to allow the action of God's Grace.

The time of the coronavirus, the tensions and worries that it produces, the expectation of a possible vaccine, the uncertainty about the form that our life should take, all of this, we can turn into an active presence of the Spirit that helps us to discern, to interpret and to give meaning.


LIVING OUR FAITH WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH

ENCYCLICAL LETTER FRATELLI TUTTI

ON THE FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP

What are the great ideals but also the tangible ways to advance for those who wish to build a more just and fraternal world in their ordinary relationships, in social life, politics and institutions?

This is mainly the question that Fratelli tutti is intended to answer: the Pope describes it as a “Social Encyclical” which borrows the title of the “Admonitions” of Saint Francis of Assisi, who used these words to “address his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel”.

The Poverello “did not wage a war of words aimed at imposing doctrines; he simply spread the love of God”, the Pope writes, and “he became a father to all and inspired the vision of a fraternal society”.

The Encyclical aims to promote a universal aspiration toward fraternity and social friendship. Beginning with our common membership in the human family, from the acknowledgement that we are brothers and sisters because we are the children of one Creator, all in the same boat, and hence we need to be aware that in a globalized and interconnected world, only together can we be saved. (Vatican News, 4.10.2020)

Pope Francis writes at the beginning of his Social Encyclical:

1. “FRATELLI TUTTI”. With these words, Saint Francis of Assisi addressed his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. Of the counsels Francis offered, I would like to select the one in which he calls for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother “as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him”. In his simple and direct way, Saint Francis expressed the essence of a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.

2. This saint of fraternal love, simplicity and joy, who inspired me to write the Encyclical Laudato Si’, prompts me once more to devote this new Encyclical to fraternity and social friendship. Francis felt himself a brother to the sun, the sea and the wind, yet he knew that he was even closer to those of his own flesh. Wherever he went, he sowed seeds of peace and walked alongside the poor, the abandoned, the infirm and the outcast, the least of his brothers and sisters.

[…]

5. Issues of human fraternity and social friendship have always been a concern of mine. In recent years, I have spoken of them repeatedly and in different settings. In this Encyclical, I have sought to bring together many of those statements and to situate them in a broader context of reflection. In the preparation of Laudato Si’, I had a source of inspiration in my brother Bartholomew, the Orthodox Patriarch, who has spoken forcefully of our need to care for creation. In this case, I have felt particularly encouraged by the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, with whom I met in Abu Dhabi, where we declared that “God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters”. This was no mere diplomatic gesture, but a reflection born of dialogue and common commitment. The present Encyclical takes up and develops some of the great themes raised in the Document that we both signed. I have also incorporated, along with my own thoughts, a number of letters, documents and considerations that I have received from many individuals and groups throughout the world.

6. The following pages do not claim to offer a complete teaching on fraternal love, but rather to consider its universal scope, its openness to every man and woman. I offer this social Encyclical as a modest contribution to continued reflection, in the hope that in the face of present-day attempts to eliminate or ignore others, we may prove capable of responding with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words. Although I have written it from the Christian convictions that inspire and sustain me, I have sought to make this reflection an invitation to dialogue among all people of good will.

7. As I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly erupted, exposing our false securities. Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all. Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality.

8. It is my desire that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. Fraternity between all men and women. “Here we have a splendid secret that shows us how to dream and to turn our life into a wonderful adventure. No one can face life in isolation… We need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help one another to keep looking ahead. How important it is to dream together… By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together”. Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.

A Prayer to the Creator

Lord, Father of our human family,

you created all human beings equal in dignity:

pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit

and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,

dialogue, justice and peace.

Move us to create healthier societies

and a more dignified world,

a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open

to all the peoples and nations of the earth.

May we recognize the goodness and beauty

that you have sown in each of us,

and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,

and shared dreams. Amen.



SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING

Dear members of the International College,

In order to provide you with feedback on your evaluation of the recent virtual meeting, we have prepared the following excerpt:

  1. SAMPLE STATISTICS – have responded

● 24 SR and RR couples (100% of the attendees) and

● 10 Priests, Spiritual Counsellors (50% of the attendees).

  1. CONTENT OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING

B.1- THE PRESENTATIONS

Do you think the content of the meeting presentations was adequate and that it provided sufficient topics to continue the animation work of your SR or RR?

Quantitative result: 71% Very appropriate; 29% Appropriate; Average 3.71/4.00

Some comments from respondents:

● Highly relevant topics.

● All the presentations provided very valuable elements.

● Fantastic videos that gave strength to the messages.

● Introductory lecture "Where we are and where we are going" much appreciated.

Some suggestions for improvement from the respondents:

● The 2020-2021 guidelines could be explored further.

● It would be desirable to develop more concretely the proposals presented.

B.2- THE TESTIMONIES

Do you feel that the testimonies for the meeting were adequate and provided inspiration for the animation work of your SR or RR?

Quantitative result: 62% Very appropriate; 32% Appropriate; 6% Moderately appropriate; Average 3.56/4.00.

Some comments from respondents:

● They reflect real life, not dreams. Very objective.

● We are enriched by the experience of other SR and RR.

● Listening centers are inspiring.

Some suggestions for improvements from respondents:

● They found the testimony of the Argentinean couple about the retreat inadequate, both because of its use by the speaker and because of the wrong message it may give.

● It would be more appropriate to orient the testimonies to what the presenters say.

B.3- DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE ZONE MEETINGS

Do you think that the ideas for exchange at the Zone meeting provided a good basis to encourage discussion and enrich the fruits of the meeting?

Quantitative result: 74% Very appropriate; 23% Appropriate; 3% No response.

Some comments from respondents:

● They allowed a rich exchange.

● It is very good to receive the points for discussion before the meeting in order to prepare the participation. This should be continued.

● Very clear and concrete

Some suggestions for improvements from respondents:

● The first meeting should be only for meeting and sharing.

● The questions should be centered on the actions to be developed in the future to keep the charism, the proposals of Vocation and Mission and the guidelines of the church.

B.4- COMPLEMENTARY DOCUMENTS ATTACHED

Do you feel that these documents are of interest to SRs or RRs?

Quantitative result: 62% Very interesting; 32% Interesting; 6% Moderately interesting; Average 3.53/4.00.

Some comments from respondents:

● These are current issues that the movement should be addressing.

● Very relevant

Some suggestions for improvements from respondents:

● Complementary but not decisive for the success of the meeting.

● The Forum is very interesting but should have a translation tool to understand and answer questions in other languages.

B.5- ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Do you feel that the information provided has been clear and sufficient?

Quantitative result: 62% Very clear and sufficient; 32% Clear and sufficient; Average 3.59/4.00.

Some comments from the respondents:

● Absolutely clear and sufficient. The assembly was led by the hands of a master.

● Very well structured and explained presentation.

Some suggestions for improvements from respondents:

● All documents to be approved by the assembly must be translated into all languages, otherwise the approval is incomplete.

● Translations should be sent earlier.

B.6- PERSONAL APPRECIATION

Open question: what concrete suggestions regarding the content of presentations, testimonies, discussion questions, assemblies or any other element do you think it would be useful to include in the future? What element of those included in this current virtual meeting do you think should be preserved and why?

● We value very much the previous spiritual preparation and the daily reflections of Father Ricardo.

● Bravo to the ERI team. It was an enriching and intense experience.

● An exceptional experience!

● We suggest including a report on the progress of Father Caffarel's cause for beatification

● We missed meeting with members from other zones.

  1. THE ZONE MEETINGS

C.1- PARTICIPATION IN MEETINGS

Do you consider that the zone meetings had an enthusiastic participation and a good previous preparation by the participants?

Quantitative result: 76% Very enthusiastic; 24% Enthusiastic; Average 3.76/4.00.

Some comments from the respondents:

● The participation was very enriching because each one was able to prepare their comments in writing and in all the languages spoken in the zone.

● Very well conducted by the zone liaison couples.

● It is important to ensure that comments in the zone are understood by all.

Some suggestions for improvements from respondents:

● If possible, the methodology should be explained and the questions sent in advance to make the meeting more effective.

● Lack of fluency due to the diversity of languages

C.2- FRUITS OF THE MEETING

Objectively, did you find this week's Zone meetings rewarding in your service as Responsible Couple for your SR or RR?

Quantitative result: 74% Very enriching; 26% Enriching; Average 3.74/4.00.

  1. GENERALITIES

D.1- PREVIOUS SPIRITUAL PREPARATION

D.1.1- - Do you consider the suggestions proposed in the spiritual preparation guide were appropriate?

Quantitative result: 79% Very appropriate; 18% Appropriate; 3% Moderately appropriate; Average 3.74/4.00.

Some comments from the respondents:

● Spiritual preparation is essential.

● These reflections are a mini retreat that we will re-read with great interest.

● It allowed us to get into context and to arrive with a very good attitude at the meeting.

● An excellent idea!

Some suggestions for improvements from the respondents:

● In our particular case, because of the agenda, we would have liked to receive the documents earlier.

● Because of the same condition of virtuality we could not concentrate as we would have wished.

D.1.2- - How do you value your participation in the spiritual preparation of this virtual meeting?

Quantitative result: 44% Very enthusiastic; 53% Enthusiastic; 3% Not very enthusiastic; Average 3.41/4.00.

Some comments from the respondents:

● We loved it!

● We do similar preparation for our SR events but the one proposed by the ERI we consider very good.

Some suggestions for improvements from the respondents:

● Remote participation does not always allow for full and focused participation.

D.2- MEANS USED

Do you think the meeting, taken as a whole, had the right processes and tools for its delivery?

Quantitative result: 71% Very good; 29% Good; Average 3.71/4.00.

D.3- GENERAL EVALUATION OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING

All things considered do you feel that this meeting has been:

Quantitative result: 74% Very good; 26% Good; Average 3.74/4.00.

  1. ABOUT THE SPECIAL BULLETIN #FARBUTNEAR

E.1- EXTRAORDINARY NEWSLETTER CONTENT

How do you rate the extraordinary ERI newsletter #farbutnear?

Quantitative result: 62% Very good; 35% Good; 3% No response; Average 3.53/4.00

E.2- CONTINUITY

Do you think that after the virtual meeting we should continue with the publication of the extraordinary newsletter #farbutnear or return to the ERI mail and the usual newsletters?

Quantitative result: 66% Should definitely continue; 28% indifferent; 6% Should not continue.

Some comments in favor:

● As the frequency of appearance is short, the topics are current and close.

● It has allowed us to know how the other SRs have dealt with the pandemic.

● It is a useful means of maintaining the spirit of unity.

● The name, ‘far but near’, is much more suggestive than the name of the newsletter. We like it very much.

Some comments against it:

● It should be returned to the ERI mail so that the messages reach all team members.

GENERAL COMMENT

Thank you all very much. Your comments are very valuable and provide us with many elements of reflection to nourish the animation of the Movement.

Without a doubt, this Virtual Meeting was a success and as we said in the EDITORIAL of this issue, we are certain that the Spirit speaks to us through you because we know that each one of your comments has been expressed in an atmosphere of spiritual communion.

The comments and suggestions have been numerous and naturally for reasons of space, we have only extracted some of them. You can be sure that they are all equally important to us and will be discussed in collegiality within the ERI.



TESTIMONIES

SR Africa Francophone

Benedicta and Théophile GUENTANGUE and Fr. André Fils

Benedicta and Théophile GUENTANGUE, Cameroon, Central Africa, 25 million inhabitants. We live in Douala, port city and the most populated city of the country.

Joined the Teams in 2002. Several times responsible couple of our base team, liaison couple of the sector 2004-2006, Responsible couple of the Centre Region (Cameroon, Central Africa and Gabon) 2009-2013, Participation in the formation of Regional Couples in Massabielle in 2010, Members of the formation team for the Centre and Cameroon-Chad Regions from 2014 to 2019, Responsible Couple for the Centre Province (Cameroon-Chad, Central Africa and Gabon) from August 2019 to July 2020, SRAF Responsible Couple since September 5, 2020. Participation in the gatherings of Lourdes 2006, Brasilia 2012 and Fatima 2018.

Parishioners of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul of Douala, members of several confraternities - The Elders of the Church, Saint Martin of Tours, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion .

Benedicta is a Secretary by training, worked as Executive Secretary, Executive Assistant and Head of Administration in Cameroon's public electricity company until her retirement. She then created some commercial structures that did not prosper much.

Théophile is an engineer by training, worked in a large agro-industrial company as Head of Equipment Department, Deputy Technical Director, Plant Director (6 industrial sites) until his retirement. A few years as Energy Consultant, now definitively retired.

Sacramental marriage on March 22, 1975, six children, 3 boys and 3 girls, aged between 35 and 45. Five are married and parents. Grandchildren, two of whom are entering university this year.

________________________________________

Spiritual Counsellor of the SRAF 2020-2025

Abbot André Fils MBEM was born on November 20, 1968.

After his primary studies at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic School of Botmakak from 1974 to 1980, he entered the Saint Paul Minor Seminary of Nylon in Douala. After obtaining the Latin Baccalaureate A2 series, he entered the Paul VI Major Seminary in Douala in 1987.

In 1989 he was sent by the Archbishop of Douala to continue his studies at the University of Navarra in Spain, then at the Pontifical Comillas University of the Jesuit Fathers in Madrid where he obtained a Master's Degree in Spiritual Theology and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. He was ordained a priest in Madrid, Spain on December 12, 1993 on behalf of the Archdiocese of Douala.

He returned to Cameroon in 1995. He was then Professor at the Paul VI Major Seminary in Douala. In 1997, he was sent by Cardinal Christian Tumi to Rome to the Pontifical Gregorian University where he obtained a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychology of the Gregorian University.

He returned home in 2000. He has served several times as parish priest and professor at the Catholic University of St. Jerome in Douala. Currently he is Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Douala, Diocesan Ceremony, Parish Priest of the Blessed Sacrament Parish of Ndogbong, Chaplain of the orphanage "Hand in Hand".

In the Teams of Our Lady for 20 years, he has been a Regional Spiritual Counsellor Priest; he is currently Spiritual Counsellor Priest for two Teams in Douala, in the Douala A Sector, and of the French-speaking Africa Super Region of the Teams of our Lady.

SR Belgium

Brigitte and Michel Simons and Fr. Charles

We are very happy to have joined the international college!

Allow us to introduce ourselves: Brigitte and Michel Simons, couple responsible for the Super-Region Belgium since September 5, 2020.

We have been married for 36 years and we have 2 sons: Olivier, 31 years old, married to Caroline, and Yannick, 28 years old, lives with Elodie who has two children: Maëlys and Victor.

Michel is a Civil Engineer and works in the IT sector, Brigitte is an actuary and works in the insurance sector.

Michel plays volleyball and Brigitte loves walking (especially the route of Santiago de Compostela).

We have been members of Teams of our Lady for 32 years, a treasure and a source of joy for our life as a couple. We had the great joy of participating in the International Gathering and session in Brasilia in 2012 and in the Fatima Gathering in 2018: what a richness to live the internationality of the Movement through these meetings.

Our service within the Teams in Belgium was very quickly oriented towards information for young couples and the diffusion of the Movement because we wish to offer to all the couples this great chance to be able to walk together as a couple and as a team under the Lord's gaze. We have therefore been successively an information couple (for more than 15 years), a pilot couple, and an organizer couple of sessions for young couples who are not team members.

We have also been a liaison couple and sector couple. For 6 years, we were in the national team as dissemination and information officers. We also worked a lot on communication and the development of a new website with the associated database (www.equipes-notre-dame.be ).

Within the Belgian church, we were part of a team for Pastoral Care of the Family and Marriage Preparation, both in the Vicariate and in the Pastoral Unit in our parish.

As you can see, young couples are important to us and as such, we also encourage the development of Tandem Groups in Belgium.

Today, it is also at the service of all the Belgian team members that we put ourselves to work.

To revitalize our Movement and to stimulate all team members to (re)discover their vocation and mission as Christian couples, we are launching a discernment project within the teams in Belgium: "The Teams. What do we propose for today?”. This project will be done according to the ESDAC method (Spiritual Exercises of Apostolic Discernment in Common) which trusts in the Holy Spirit in each one of us, and with the help of two specialists in this method.

We are fortunate to work in close collaboration with Father Charles Delhez and with a dynamic national team. All of them support this discernment project enthusiastically and stimulate the teams to participate in it.

Father Charles.

I am Father Charles Delhez, a Belgian Jesuit, sociologist by training, parish priest of Blocry (Louvain-la-Neuve), lecturer, columnist in various Belgian media. I joined the Teams 33 years ago and I am accompanying three teams.

National Spiritual Counsellor for almost two years, I wish to accompany the responsible couple of SR Belgium in their discernment so that they can better meet the spiritual needs of today's couples in following Christ and in the Church.

In addition, I accompany many couples in the preparation for marriage. During a previous mission, I was chaplain of the Jesuit University of Namur, editorial director of the Fidélité publishing house (which I founded), editor of the parish weekly Dimanche. I was also asked to preside at televised masses (RTBF and France 2).

Finally, I wrote about forty books, translated into several languages, for adults, young people and children. The latest publication has this title: Where are we going? From modernity to transhumanism. And another book is soon to be published: Si la foi m'était contée.


SR United States

Ellen and T.J. Holt and Fr. Brian

We are T.J. and Ellen Holt. We are very humbled to serve as the United States new Super Regional Couple. We joined Teams of Our Lady over 20 years ago after moving to Kingwood, Texas.

We have been married 26 years and have three lovely daughters who have participated in many Teams socials and other events. They have definitely been with us on our Team's journey. Over the years we were delighted to serve as Pilot and Information Couple, National Prayer Couple, Sector Couple, Regional Couple and the first South Province Couple for the United States.

We were thrilled to accept the invitation a few years ago to serve on a Satellite Team that met in Bogota, Colombia. We have been blessed to see God's hand so active in our movement and sincerely hope we can produce fruit for His Kingdom.

Father Brian:

I am grateful to serve in this role and see ways the hand of God led me to it. My identical twin brother and his wife have been part of a team for over 10 years and my parents are the Sector Couple in their parish.

In 16 years as a priest, I’ve served as Associate Pastor, Director of Campus Ministry and on a seminary formation team.

Since the summer of 2019 I’ve been back in the parish as pastor of St. Patrick in Hutto, TX, with about 1,000 families. The area has grown quickly since 2,000 so there are many new families who are fairly isolated.

I believe Teams has the right charism to help overcome this isolation and help build strong families.



SR Transatlantic

Paul and Annette O'Beirne and Fr. Liam O'Donovan

We are Paul and Annette O’Beirne. Annette was born in Scotland and Paul in London, and we live in the south of England. We are both one of 6 children, so we belong to large families, which is an important aspect of our lives.

Annette worked as a language teacher of French and German until she retired, and Paul, originally trained in Zoology and Agriculture, had a second career as Chief Executive of a local ‘infrastructure’ charity which supported many other charities in governance, charity law and resources. He was a Scout leader in the early days of our marriage and since has had other administrative roles in Scouts.

We have been married for 40 years and celebrated this in August. We renewed our vows at Mass- socially distanced!! We have 3 children Simon -aged 36, and our daughters Kate,33, and Louise,31, who are both married We have 3 grandchildren, aged 6,4 and 1. Louise married last September so we were blessed to be able to have a wonderful family celebration before Covid restrictions came into place.

We have been in Teams for 40 years having joined a few months after we married, and we have had the same Chaplain and mostly the same couples during those years.

We have been Sector Couple more than once and served on the Sector Team before becoming Responsible Couple for Southern Britain last November. In Teams we are responsible also for editing the Transatlantic newsletter once a year and for the maintenance of the Transatlantic website.

Outside of Teams we are active in our Parish and local community. We have been running Marriage Preparation for 35 years and more recently Marriage Enrichment sessions. We have also run the Bible course “Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible” and the Alpha programme. Since retiring Annette has completed courses in the study of Catechesis, Marriage and Family Life, and Parish Mission and Ministry.

We both attended the Catechetical Congress in Rome in 2018 and the Evangelisation Congress in 2019 as well as the Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018 which were enriching experiences.

We had hoped to attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau this year which has been a life-long wish but that is now planned for 2022. We look forward to our term of service as Transatlantic super region responsible couple and pray that it will be fruitful.


Fr Liam O’Donovan

Fr Liam lives at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish in Greenford, West London. He is a Pallottine Father and joined the order in 2010 and was ordained in 2017.

Fr Liam is originally from a farming family in County Kilkenny Ireland, which is to the south of Dublin. He trained and worked as electronics engineer but then felt the Lord’s call to the priestly ministry. He went to the seminary in Maynooth studying philosophy and theology before his ordination and was then sent to serve with the Pallottine community in Greenford.

Fr Liam was invited to attend the Teams Gathering in Fatima and after this experience became more involved in Teams. He has been chaplain to the Transatlantic super region since then and we are delighted that he has decided to continue as chaplain for our term of service.


WHAT IS ERI DOING?

A FAREWELL AND AN UPDATE ON THE PROGRESS OF THE CAUSE OF BEATIFICATION AND SUBSEQUENT CANONIZATION OF FATHER CAFFAREL

Dear friends of the International College:

In this issue, the ERI wants to share with you two important news items that have occurred recently.

The first, is the decision of Dora and João Pedro Sousa to leave the service they had been providing to the Movement with great love and dedication. Dora and João are the ERI couple responsible for communications, and they have been performing these duties until the conclusion of the last Virtual Meeting.

The reasons that led our friends to take this decision to resign are personal, professional and familial. It has saddened us all, particularly the members of the ERI who have worked more closely with them and have shared the life of their service for the past two years. We all understand the reasons that led them to do so, and we know how difficult it was for them to reach this determination.

In addition to participating in all the projects and discernments of the ERI during this period, Dora and João have coordinated the creation of the new website; they developed the presence of the International Movement on all the social networks; they drafted the Translation Protocol of the official documents of the ERI; they took care of the liturgy and musical coordination of the celebrations of the ERI and the International College; carried out various virtual transmissions, especially during this period of COVID-19, and have recently been undertaking a very valuable photographic and film collection of our founder. All their work was always done with great competence, generosity and spirit, without neglecting their primary role as heads of their beautiful family and the professional work that demands so much of them.

Besides the charisma and competences of their service, we must say the ERI will be deprived of a very spiritual couple in the team, who also added a very pleasant and fraternal dimension. They will be remembered as a generous couple, always willing to smile, to give themselves and to help.

As good and faithful servants, referred to in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 25), they put their gifts and talents at the service of all, multiplying what they received from the good Lord for the Movement of the Teams of Our Lady.

We ask God and our intercessor for all times, our Mother Mary, to fill them with graces and blessings, together with all their family in the new direction they are taking. Thank you very much, and see you soon, dear Dora and João Pedro.


The second one refers to an update on the progress of the cause of beatification and canonization of Father Henri Caffarel. Last month we remembered the 24th anniversary of his meeting with the Father, being the object of numerous prayers and Eucharistic celebrations in all corners of the world.

The current situation, and the path still to be covered, is as follows:

Advancement of the Cause

Father Paul-Dominique Marcovits has continued the writing of the most important part of the Positio, the Biography, which will be completed in 2020. The Summarium testium, which contains the testimonies received by the Diocesan Commission, has been completed. The Summarium documentorum which brings together a selection of archival documents and written texts by Father Caffarel, is being completed with the help of Marie-Christine Genillon. A work meeting, cancelled in December 2019, is scheduled with Father Paleri in December 2020.

The Development of the Process for the Canonization

The Positio, based on the file deposited in Rome, is made up of four parts: the first two are finished. The Biography is the longest, and presents the life, thought and work of Father Caffarel. It will be finished by the end of 2020. Finally, the Informatio presents the practice of the virtues of Father Caffarel and his reputation for holiness. The whole will be completed by the end of 2021.

The Positio will then be examined by the two Commissions of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, that of the Consultors and that of the Cardinals, who may propose to the Pope that he recognize the heroic nature of the virtues. Father Henri Caffarel will then be declared "Venerable".

A miracle, an instantaneous, definitive and scientifically unexplained cure, obtained through the intercession of Father Henri Caffarel, would have to be presented for examination by medical experts. The drafting of the Positio on the investigation carried out in the diocese where the miracle took place would be rapid. After the recognition of the miracle, the beatification of Father Henri Caffarel will be proclaimed and he will be declared "Blessed".

A second miracle will allow his canonization and he will be proclaimed "Saint".