26 and 27 August 2011, at the Priory of the Annunciation in Paris, first meeting of the new European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities elected at Caleruega on 30 May by the European Assembly
1. In Caleruega, at the end of May 2011, the European Assembly of Lay Dominican Fraternities elected a new Council of five members. The new Council has just met in Paris and, as the Statutes affirm, “the officers of the Council are the President, Secretary, Treasurer and Formation Liaison Officer, who shall be elected from its members”. The fifth post was left open, but it has become clear that this free place is for the person responsible for communication.
2. The Council proceeded to assign to each member responsibility for one of the Working Groups whose creation was decided by the European Assembly. The following decisions were made:
Name: Post: Working Group:
Ruth Anne HENDERSON President + Jubilee of the Founding of the Order
Jean Michel SOLENTE Secretary + Communication, including the site
Laicatus Praedicans, with Jacinta O’Donnell José Antonio MUNOZ MATA Treasurer + Fundraising
Leny BEEMER DE VOS Formation + coordination of formation
Jacinta O’Donnell Communciation + Communication (with J M Solente) and Twinning of Fraternities
3. An innovation: Working Groups, coordinated by the members of the Council, are to be set up. They will include representatives of Eastern Europe, on condition that they have a sufficient knowledge of English, written and spoken, and ability to use the Internet.
4. It is also planned that the working of these groups will be verified after one year, during the first week of August 20102, in the course of a meeting held at Kiev, if possible, in response to the invitation given to the Council by the Ukrainian delegation at Caleruega. The largest possible number of East European lay Dominicans will take part in this “halfway” meeting. In addition to permitting evaluation of the Working Groups, this will contribute to balance the relationship among various Dominican Provinces, from the East, West, North and South of Europe.
5. Another decision is to invite to the next Council meeting, on 19 and 20 April 2012 in Chieri (Turin, Italy) the Promoter of the International Dominican Youth Movement (IDYM), Sr Ginevra Rossi OP, for a further link between the Lay Fraternities and IDYM, and to project shared activities, while respecting the charism of each.
6. The Council is very happy at the nomination of Gabriel Silva, outgoing President of ECLDF, as lay Dominican delegate to the Dominican Family Commission, recently created by the Master of the Order, Br Bruno Cadoré OP. This commission will meet at Santa Sabina, Rome, in September 2011.
7. In addition to the wish expressed during the Paris meeting to encourage as far as possible exchanges and opening among Provinces and Dominican structures, the wish also emerged to make the Council’s activities widely known, so that everyone may be aware of how the Provinces’ financial contributions are used.
8. After the April 2012 meeting in Chieri and the planned August meeting in Kiev, the Council intends to meet in Switzerland in early November 2012, at the invitation of the Swiss delegates at Caleruega. It must be stressed that these meetings make the ECLDF known, reinforce the links among the Provinces, laity, friars and Sisters often associated with them, and in the past few years have made possible regional, provincial and vicarial links of an extremely positive nature.
9. The Council greatly appreciates the initiative of Br Piotr GRODECKI OP of Poland, who has set up a moment of prayer every Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. shared y all European Dominicans, for intentions communicated via Internet (e.g. the ECLDF Meeting in Paris, the tragedy of Fukushima, Norway, Libya, Iraq etc.).
10. This meeting at 222 rue de Faubourg St-Honoré, Paris, took place in a serene and very constructive atmosphere. The European Council is very grateful to Br Jean-Paul Vesco OP, Prior Provincial, who came to see us during our meeting and shared a meal with us. We all thank Br Jean Claude Lavigne OP, Prior of the Annunciation community, who welcomed us in his priory in excellent surroundings, sharing meals with the friars, engaging in conversation over coffee between the eight of us and the brethren present on the situation and numbers (10,000?) of lay Dominicans in our various countries, France, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Italy and Spain!
The next European Assembly, in 2014, may be held in Bologna. And the Master of the Order will certainly be invited to take part in the work of the lay Dominicans.
Jean Michel Solente
Secrétaire du Conseil Européen des Fraternités Laïques Dominicaines