Amiens 2023 Journal (CLC World Assembly)

Our delegation, formed by Cecilia, Carles and Eduardo, begins a new day of the Assembly in Amiens, we share, as a diary, what each day is like. Don’t miss it!

Day 10 (Saturday, August 12)

The assembly has ended. The first delegations will soon embark on long journeys back to their places of origin. They will carry the almost non-transferable experience lived during these ten days. It will now be up to them to see how they can provoke a path of listening to the Spirit and of hope. For this purpose, the service of the new world executive council (exco) and the final document are at your disposal.

The new exco was elected during the morning. 7 persons selected from 32 proposals and available. The assembly has experienced the most emotionally intense morning of these days.

All elections have required at least two rounds of voting. Finally the new exco is:
Chair: Chris Micallef. CLC in Malta
Vice-presidency: Daphe Ho. CLC in Hong Kong
Consultants: Franklin Ibáñez (CLC in Peru), Catherine Waiyaki (CLC in Kenya), Inju Fayez (CLC in Egypt), Catherine Kelly (CLC in Canada) and Cecilia Martínez (CLC in Spain).

We have asked for this new team and for them to feel accompanied. For the Spirit and the community. You are at our service and, at the same time, we are at your disposal.

During the afternoon we have known the progress of the draft of the final document and, having contributed elements that seemed appropriate, the drafting team has been given the confidence to prepare the final version in the coming days.

The document not only gathers the experience of these days and the inspirational elements, but also dares to enter and advance in the frontiers and in the apostolic dimension of the community.

It establishes great routes so that they can be converted to help globally, regionally and in our communities.

For its detailed reading we will have to wait and it will be from September when we will see how to make the “reception” in our community.

Finally, the Eucharist brought the event to a close.
The lights go out on the stage of this assembly. They will remain so until 2028, when our world community will once again raise the curtain on its assembly. In the meantime, it is up to us to continue moving forward making real “incarnation” and to follow those who, looking at the world, said “let us make redemption”. The world awaits us.

Our delegation is now on its way back. They will take the opportunity to reconnect with their life, their family and have a few days of rest. Cecilia is trying out this new service for the first time and dreaming about what it will be like. Carles and Eduardo with the task of connecting the experience with the path we already have. In your case, knowing that in a year’s time our assembly in Malaga will be over and other people will have taken over your service.

From Amiens, with much affection and gratitude for your listening, attention and prayer. It has been a privilege to be here. A fraternal embrace.

Day 9 (Friday, August 11)

A new day has passed and we have already opened the door to the end. During the morning we have been voting. On the one hand, the budget for the 2023-2028 period and, on the other hand, the amendments to the General Principles and Rules. On the budget, the exco had proposed three possibilities. The higher budget has been approved, motivated by the need to increase the work team by strengthening the world secretariat, and supported by a small increase in the dues we pay. On the other hand, the proposal, not an amendment of the ExCo, was approved, whereby a team will be formed to review the General Principles and Norms and, after study and consultation with all the communities, will submit a proposal for modification to the 2028 Assembly. When this proposal was approved, we withdrew our amendments and asked that they be taken into account in the work of this team. The community delegation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has decided the same. Australia’s was maintained and was passed to a vote and approved. For this reason, the General Principles will incorporate the socio-environmental sustainability perspective contained in the encyclical Laudato si.

During the afternoon we returned, as on the previous day, to regional work. There we have identified the most urgent needs and possible ways for the community to address them. It was clear from the sharing that these were inputs for the drafting team, which during the day made a first presentation of the outline on which it is working.

Finally, we celebrated the Eucharist, prepared by the East Asian communities.

Tomorrow we will experience the final day. Throughout the morning, the lengthy voting process for the new World Executive Council (Exco). In the afternoon, the reading and approval of the final document, and a space for dialogue between the assembly and the new Exco. At the time of writing, the editorial team is working and will continue to do so well into the early hours of the morning. In addition, people applying for Exco will be nervous about the possibility of being chosen for this service for the next five years. Among these people is our delegate Cecilia. Tomorrow at the end of the morning we will know the result of the vote and we will be facing the last hours of this assembly. Meanwhile, we hold our breath.


Day 8 (Thursday, August 10)

Today, the heat has arrived in Amiens. Until today we have been accompanied by an autumnal summer. This has been appreciated by those coming from Latin American, African and Asian countries.

We begin to land, and during the landing, doubts, fears, fears begin. First thing in the morning, all the ideas that had emerged during the previous day were handed out and reviewed in detail in three blocks: identity, vocation and mission.

After the reading, the time has come for the expression of concerns. Concerns, some healthy, coming from the Spirit, and others that block, that do not come from the good but from the bad that always lurks on the road.

It was a long and dense plenary session, very focused on what was uncomfortable, what was collected, what was left over, what was missing, what was hidden, what was written… The assembly came to a standstill. Not knowing where to go, how to move forward.

The facilitating team, once the morning was over, worked on modifying the agenda to help unblock the process and identify what is emerging, what is emerging from the Spirit in relation to what the community is called to do in the coming years.

There are difficulties in the hows, in the concretions, and in the voice of reality.

How it has been present, how it helps to move forward, how it allows us to take steps and say that there is a path that can be seen.

In the afternoon, the work was initially done in groups to build the question that emerges from the plenary and their feelings… And then the people got together by the regions of reference to look at the reality they live, collect the needs that emerge and share where and how to build paths of hope. Because this is what it’s all about, how our community lives, shares and brings hope, and how it will do so in the next five years.

The working day ended with the Eucharist in the presence of the Bishop of Amiens.

Tomorrow we will continue our search for answers and concretions, asking for light. We will also begin voting on: the budget for the next period and amendments to the General Principles and Rules. We are therefore beginning to open the last door of the assembly.


Day 7 (Wednesday, August 9)

Today we have begun to seek answers to the fundamental questions that have been raised. From the first, what is CLC being called to in the world today? we have generated conversations based on empathy and encounters with other people. First in pairs, then in groups of four, then in groups of eight, and finally in a plenary session in which the first answers were pooled. They have been organized in three blocks, mission, identity and vocation, and there has been a first open space in the plenary session. It has been very preliminary, with no intention of concretizing or focusing. For now, many ideas in many directions. Tomorrow we will make progress little by little.

At the end, the Eucharist prepared by the African communities was celebrated. And after dinner we had a meeting with the delegations coming from Europe to talk about the next European Assembly and some questions related to the activities that are being developed.


Day 6 (Tuesday, August 8)

Today was the day of silence. A silence full of listening during the previous days in which we have gone through what we have lived in recent years.

Today was the moment to settle it and to pass it through a prayer in which the request was to “enlighten the eyes of the hearts to see where the Spirit is leading us”.

Among the texts used is Isaiah 43:18-19 which says: “Do not remember the former things, do not think about the things of old. I am about to make something new, it is already sprouting, do you not notice it?”. A text that connects us directly with our last assembly in Pamplona and with the song that became its musical memory.

At the end of the day we ended the silence with the Eucharist, organized by Europa, where we brought the red scarf of the Pamplona assembly to the offertory.

We begin the last cycle of this assembly. As of tomorrow the question is directed to formulate to what we are called to the Community.

We are confident in the ability to shape the answers.


Day 5 (Monday, August 7)

Today’s morning had two very significant moments. Arturo Sosa, General of the Jesuits, addressed the assembly. With his words he has provided us with concepts such as “creative and discerned hope”, “courage and astuteness”, “strategic discernment”, “the anchoring of hope”, “human and institutional means”. He advocated full recognition of the lay vocation and the need to exercise responsibility in public life to promote the common good, justice and structural change. He focused on general principles 4 and 8 to encourage us to advance along them: working for justice, the preferential option for the poor, a simple and austere life and the realization that our mission fields have no limits.

Finally, he insisted on an expression in which every word has a profound meaning: lay Ignatian apostolic community. This is what CLC is and wants to be.

Then came a moment with a lot of emotions. The entry of new communities into CLC after years of preparation. All of them, during this time, have been accompanied by another who has acted as a guide. Today, having accomplished this task, the accompanying communities (Malta, Kenya, Germany and Australia) have proposed to the assembly the entry of four new communities. As of today, Slovakia, Ethiopia, Sweden and New Zealand are already part of the CLC world community.

During the afternoon we worked in groups to discuss where our hopes are “anchored” today, looking at particular realities.

Some time was later spent on augmenting the information available on the 2018-23 exco management report and proceeded to its approval with 62 votes in favor and one abstention.

The day ended with the Eucharist organized by the communities of the Middle East, in which the Gospel text was that of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (reminding us of Seve’s brilliant and passionate homily at last January’s extraordinary assembly in El Escorial, which is good to listen to periodically.).

Today has been a day of accumulation of emotions. These, together with those collected since day 1, have made us close the first phase of the assembly. Tomorrow is a day of silence. A complete prayerful silence to make a deep listening of what we have received before starting to land and concretize what our community is being called to.

We prepare ourselves for this long silence so inhabited.


Day 4 (Sunday, August 6)

Today was the “open day”. A day full of images, faces and places. Meeting and celebration. That is why today what we transmit today is what we have experienced through the visual record. Few words. Many people from so many places accompanying us and asking for the fruits of this assembly.


Day 3 (Saturday, August 5)

Today was once again a day to continue listening and opening our minds to what the Spirit has been moving in the community over the last few years. During the morning we have been learning about apostolic initiatives developed by the community in France in different mission fields. It should not be forgotten that this country has the largest group and this gives it a great capacity for community life and apostolic life.

In the afternoon, listening to what has been walked these years has changed in content. The Exco, the world executive council, has presented its five-year report identifying lights and shadows of its service, as well as the moment of the world community and the main challenges it faces. In relation to these challenges, he clearly expressed the fundamental questions that remain to be answered and that we must work on in the coming years, perhaps without urgency but without any pause. This assembly should provide the guideline and the first inputs for this to move forward.

Subsequently, the economic report for the 18-23 period and some of the crossroads to be faced at this assembly were presented.

Amendments to the General Principles and the General Standards were then submitted. At this point we have made our first intervention before the plenary since, as you know, we have made a significant number of amendments. In addition, Australia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the World Executive Council itself have also participated, because they have also made some proposals for changes.

All this has been expository because voting takes place on the ninth day of the assembly.

Finally, the Eucharist was held, organized by people coming from Latin American countries.

At the end of the day we had brief meetings of the so-called “anchor” groups to gather the experiences of the past three days in the form of motions.

The assembly is gradually “warming up”, both in terms of content and relationship.

Tomorrow will be a different day. It is the “open day”, in which there will be visits from people of the community who are not participating in the assembly, a tour of Amiens and a Eucharist in the cathedral, in which Arturo Sosa, General of the Society of Jesus, will be present.

But that will be the chronicle of day 4.


Day 2 (Friday, August 4)

On the morning of this second day, we learned about the experiences that the different communities have developed in recent years on the five frontiers (family, youth, globalization and poverty, ecology and spirituality) and we shared our opinions in small groups.

In the afternoon we had a guided contemplation of the Incarnation (with the same outline of the Exercises) and then we had group meetings for a prayerful listening to what we had experienced during the day.

Finally, we celebrated the Eucharist, organized by the communities of North America (French-speaking Canada, English-speaking Canada, the United States and Mexico).

We are moving along this path of generating a generative listening.


Day 1 (Thursday, August 3)

This morning the assembly began with a Eucharist in which the communities that were unable to send their delegation (due to health problems or difficulties in visa procedures) were remembered. Later, in the plenary room, the methodological process (theory U) that will be used during these days was explained.

In the afternoon, the first meeting of the life groups that will operate on a stable basis was held. He then gave a long explanation of how the voting process to elect the new world council will be conducted on the last day. Finally, we had a short prayerful time to make the examination of the day.

For now, we start slowly and calmly, without haste. Knowing and recognizing each other.

This is very important for an assembly with more than 200 members, who come from almost 70 countries and officially use the three official languages (French, Spanish and English) in addition to others that are specific to many of the countries present.

It is also important to reflect the work and effort of the people of the host community, attentive to all the needs that arise.

One last external detail. Amiens welcomed us with rain and an autumnal atmosphere.

Tomorrow we will continue sharing.

Eduardo Escobés

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