1. 3RD ECLDF MEETING (8TH – 11TH NOVEMBER 2012) IN ESTAVAYER LE LAC, SWITZERLAND
ECLDF team traveled for its 3rd meeting to Switzerland. Once at the airport in Geneva, we were warmly welcomed by Swiss Lay Dominicans Evelyn von Steffens and Anne Marie, who together with other Lay Dominicans took care for an organization of our travel from Geneva to Yverdon and then to Monastery in Estavayer le Lac. In the Monastery we met with Fr. Bernard Bonvin, OP and nuns, including the Prioress, Sr. Marie.
Dear Swiss Dominicans thank you for a wonderful time with you: for a great support, fraternal love, touching meetings with you and for a beautiful liturgy in a Monastery Church.
Evelyn and Anne Marie, you accompanied us as guardian angels, thank you for discussions with you, for a meal with you and for your faith witness.
2. VISIT OF ECLDF REPRESENTATIVES TO KIEV
The ECLDF meeting started on Friday (9th November) and the first discussed topic was a report from a Kiev meeting. In August fr. David Kammler, Leny Beemer de Vos and Eva Zudorova visited Lay Dominicans from Ukrain and Russia in Kiev, Ukrain. Leny presented a summary of the meeting. The goal was to proclaim together the Word of God and to share experiences from Formation in European context.
3. FORMATION WORKING GROUP
Leny Beemer then informed about a valuable work of Working group, who is preparing ´recommendations’ about formation in a general context and gathering documents from various Provinces. The Working group had at the feast of St. Dominic’s Translation send the first paper with various questions related to formation. Out of the 27 European Provinces, who received the formation questionnaire, 13 sent back the answers. In general, the reaction from the Provinces was very positive, with some best practices examples and recommendations. Several challenges were risen based on the responses:
• a necessity to organize a formation for Formators, 1 – 2 years study program;
• organize an European meetings of Formators;
• recommend a list of books which are available in proper number of languages;
• difficulty of establishing a program for different formation situation in Provinces, etc.
As ECLDF discussed, there are several formation programs on the net, such as a booklet of Formation of the Province of Assumption, in the USA.
Ruth Anne Henderson raised the problem of different books being available in different current European languages. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a good example, and it is already translated into different languages. A lot of documents will come with the Year of Faith. Further valuable authors and books were named, e.g.: the Spanish ´Timothy´ Felicísimo Martinez, Martinez Puche and Martín Gelavert; Mary Driscoll and Susan Nofke in English; Cardinal Martini, in Italian; fr. Ulrich Engel, who has published a book entitled ´Dominican Spirituality´, in German language, translated into Slovak language; fr. Jean-Bernard Dousse, who published a book ´Les Fraternités laïques et la mission de l´Ordre des Prêcheurs´. This book was translated into English by Gillian Lenoir and Bob di Viana, but not so far published.
As Leny informed, the second working weekend of the Working group will be held in Utrecht 11-13 January 2013.
In connection with a very fruitful work which this group is doing for European Lay Dominicans, a question of reimbursement of their travel expenses was pointed out to ECLDF. So far these brothers and sisters bear all expenses!
At next ECLDF meeting in May 2013, the Formation group will present its progress.
4. FUND RAISING
Jose Antonio Munoz Mata, the ECLDF treasurer, informed, that contributions which were sent by some of provinces are not enough for a balanced budget, and they just cover the two annual meetings of ECLDF. ECLDF encourages provinces and vicariates to send their annual contributions, as this money are essential for organization of the next European Assembly in 2014. It was discussed, that additional donations are necessary and ECLDF will look for creative initiatives and will promote them to the Provinces, such as concerts, bazaars, T-shirts selling, etc. We shall to promote an itinerant Europe, to move from our communities, provinces, as St. Dominic did, as a symbol of unity. Spirituality has something to do with money: Jesus had a treasurer. We need money to unite more closely the whole Dominican Europe. The New Evangelization is linked with the itinerancy of St. Dominic. Eva Zudorova mentioned a Slovakian initiative for unification of Lay Dominicans. An Icon of Mary presenting her son Jesus to the world, moved from fraternity to fraternity throughout Slovakia (Fr. David Kammler used this icon for his Christmas message). Each fraternity exchanged the Icon with the other one. Members of fraternities and even parishes gathered to pray, to exchange faith, to learn more about Lay Dominicans, to support Dominicans and their projects with prayers, but also finances.
5. PREPARATION OF EUROPEAN ASSEMBLY OF LAY DOMINICANS IN 2014
Ruth Anne Henderson has several times traveled to Bologna to meet and talk with the Prior and friars in Bologna Priory about the Assembly of lay Dominicans, which will be held from 21st– 26th May 2014 in Bologna. ECLDF then discussed organizational issues as a travel connection, an accommodation, a liturgy, a logo, a title, social program, invitation of speakers, etc. Members of ECLDF will work on preparation and more information will be available after May 2013 meeting.
6. VISIT OF ECLDF MEMBERS TO PROVINCES
The visit of Ukraine and also meeting with Lay Dominicans in Chieri and Estavayer le Lac uncovered very important piece of knowledge: face to face meetings are very important for unity and closer cooperation of European Lay Dominicans and for understanding a work and ministry of ECLDF council. That is why members of ECLDF council will possibly visit nearby Provinces: Jean Michel – Belgium, Leny – Germany, Eva – Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Jose Antonio – Portugal, Ruth Anne – England.
7. COMMUNICATION LETTER – BULLETIN FROM LIFE OF EUROPEAN LAY DOMINICANS
The council members discussed, based on some reactions from different provinces, a need of issuing a quarterly communication letter with news collected from different provinces. Eva as a communication officer will prepare a bulletin, with interesting articles or news from different corners of Europe. The provinces are invited to share with others about their mission. Please be encouraged to send interesting information to Eva.
8. NEXT MEETING OF ECLDF
The next meeting of the European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities will be held in Rome, Italy, from 9th to 12th May 2013.
ECLDF Communication Officer