Dear brothers and sisters in holy Dominic,
The first and constitutional meeting of ECLDF that was elected in Walberberg took place from 30 September to 3 October 2004. I am writing to inform you about our most important discussions and the decisions taken.
Present were Nikolett Muranyi from Hungary, Eva Kameniarova from Slovakia, Chantal Soligny (France), Robert Kopfmüller Knabe (Germany), Patricia Robinson (United Kingdom) and fr. Jerry StookeyOP (Rome). Tomas Machula (Czech Republic) was absent due to illness.
The results of the election of officers are as follows:
Formation assistant: Tomas
Additional Office, Webpage designer: Nikolett
We agreed that all Council members have a common responsibility for the efficiency and success of each task allocated to us. I am happy to report that the whole meeting took place in an atmosphere of great harmony and agreement. I feel that I can say that we have begun to become a real community
We found out that even our dreams and visions are very similar. Soon we found two main questions: How could the Lay Dominicans Fraternities, being a branch of the Dominican Order, increase in ability, influence and self confidence and in this way better able to develop their part in the common work of the Holy Preaching? How could the different communities especially in Western– and Eastern Europe find greater unity without destroying existing differences in an artificial or violent way? It is possible that here can be found part of our work programme for the next three years.
Another and more distressing point was the consideration of financial questions. Even before on the meeting in Walberberg problems had become evident. In spite the extensive investigation and efforts from John O‘Brien, whom I would like to thank here again for his exceptional efforts, unsolved questions and problems remain. After inspecting all the relevant documents we will give you a detailed report. It appears clear already that the expenditure has been greater than the income. In this context we have to think about savings and finding of other sources of income urgently. A body like ECLDF needs sufficient resources, otherwise it will not be able to work.
We also extensively discussed the question of the venue for next European meeting. We will send detailed letters to the provinces regarding the potential places for the Assembly that were discussed in Walberberg. Those were Malta, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia. No decision has yet been made. All proposed locations are too small except for the one in Slovakia. The last is not a religious house but a conference centre. We will continue to search for suitable places together with those provinces that are willing to help in this matter.
Special responsibility for contact with the various regions was delegated as follows:
Eva: Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine
Robert: Germany, Netherlands, Dacia, Poland, Austria
Tomas: Bohemia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania
Chantal: France, Flanders, Belgium, Italy, Malta, Spain, Portugal, Schwitzerland,
Nikolett: Hungary, Turkey, Albania, Greece, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia
After the discussion of very different subjects, it was decided that the venue of the next meeting of the Council is to be in Rome in April 2005. There the experiences of Walberberg will be particularly evaluated.
Finally, I must mention the many personal talks among us. Our unity was also expressed in the daily Holy Mass for our group and in common prayer.
I would like to say thank you to the Slovakian province, especially to the Provincial Fr. Konstanc Adam OP, the Dominican Sisters of the convent in Dunajska Luzna for their heart-warming hospitality. Eva Zudorovaand especially Eva Kameniarova also deserve our grateful thanks for the preparation of the meeting.
Dear brothers and sisters, in future the ECLDF intends to keep close contact with the provinces and with you. We will put reports about every meeting in our Internet – page. Between our meetings we will contact you by e-mail and the Website concerning special questions or with information. The Internet is a suitable platform for this.
During the next three years please may we not only share questions and problems extensively but in addition, exchange our experiences together with our dreams and our vision.
The European meetings will then be much more fruitful.
We will publish soon a text from the Socius for Apostolic Life, fr. Chrys McVeyOP of 4 October 2004. I affirm my agreement with the concern of the letter. Our Dominican charism is preaching. Let us consider this together, what this really means and how it affects our lives and let us also share our experiences.
With a heartfelt and brotherly embrace
Robert Kopfmüller – Knabe
ECLDF – president