Discerning paths for hope as one community
Final Document of the XVIII General Assembly of the Christian Life Community
On 2 October 2023, the World Executive Council offered a gift to the whole World Community. It shared the final document of the last World Assembly in Amiens. It is a faithful reflection of the joy, discernment, and hope that we feel and live as we make ourselves available to listen to the Spirit.
It is a living document that will evolve as it becomes our own in each concrete reality. We invite you to pray, reflect and allow it to penetrate within you. This document will give a new impulse to our spiritual, community and apostolic life, encouraging us to continue deepening our identity, sharing our Ignatian spirituality from our lay vocation and going forth in the service of those most in need, always working with the Lord in the building of the Kingdom. Anchored in our hope, which is Christ, we recognize ourselves as a lay, Ignatian and apostolic community.
Enjoy this final document and the images included as an Annex.
Read the first words of the new President of World CLC, Chris Micallef, to all companions as he presents the new World Executive Council and the final document of the Assembly, and invites us to seize these orientations.
In Amiens, four people were given the special task of drafting the final document. They were keen to listen and hear the Assembly’s motions and intuitions, and to sense where the Spirit was blowing. The text was gradually co-constructed over the days by going back and forth with the delegates before the Assembly entrusted them with the task of finalising the document. Get to know the writers and find out how they worked.
Who are they?
- Gabriel Fernández Gil (Uruguay): President of the Uruguay ExCo
- Lucina Koyio (Kenya): Member of the Kenya ExCo
- Marielle Matthee (Netherlands): Eurolink Netherlands
- James O’Brien (Australia): outgoing World ExCo member
Two women, two men, from four different regions to embrace the different sensitivities of the Christian Life Community around the world. As a member of the outgoing world ExCo, James was more specifically responsible for ensuring the link with the preparation of the Assembly and the issues facing the worldwide Community.
How were they called to this service?
Only a few days before the start of the Assembly, they were contacted by the World Executive Secretary. They did not know each other before arriving in Amiens and had not had the opportunity to consult each other beforehand on how they were going to proceed. As the days went by, they got to know each other and worked together.
- When I received the call, I was both excited and joyful at the idea of serving in this specific way this Community that I love so much. James
How did they reconcile their roles as Assembly delegates and editors?
- There was no interference between the two roles. Being a writer just meant being part of an additional group within the Assembly. It was a role that enriched me also as a delegate. Gabriel
- I experienced this Assembly on three levels: personally, as a delegate and as an editor. I’m a lawyer, so it’s normal for me to categorise the different roles. I didn’t have any problems with that. Marielle
How did they work during the Assembly?
They met every evening for a meeting at 8.30pm starting on day 3, for two hours, except on the last night when they had to work until 2.30am. As the Assembly progressed, it became more and more interesting to take part in the process. They were convinced that choosing the writers from among the delegates was a good thing. This meant that they were not simply observers from outside the process, but directly involved. This enabled them to really get in touch with the spirit of the Assembly and to feel the movements that were running through it.
During the first few days, their daily exchanges were very open. They began their meeting by praying to the Holy Spirit and then revise the day and the exchanges to get a sense of where the Spirit had been blowing. They tried to capture as much as possible and compare their perception of what they had experienced during the day. In the final days, it was more difficult to synthesize and articulate all this and put it in writing.
They gradually got to know each other and each other’s style. Each of them grasped details from his own unique cultural and geographical perspective.
What was their relationship with the facilitators during the Assembly?
The facilitators explained the method they were going to use to accompany the Assembly’s discernment, the “U process”. They needed clarification as they went along to understand the proposed dynamic. From day 6 onwards, exchanges with the facilitators became a daily occurrence, to help them crystallize the information that the writers were gathering at the heart of the Assembly, and to see how they could relate to each other. The facilitators also drew their attention to points to which they should pay particular attention. On the last two days of the Assembly, the dynamic changed, and discussions with the facilitators became even more valuable in pinpointing what was going on.
And after the meeting?
The writers worked separately on a common file before a video meeting. The basis and general architecture of the final document had been approved by the Assembly. All that remained was to keep on being connected with the dynamics of the Assembly and to identify the comments and contributions made by the delegates on the last day that needed to be integrated. There were some 50 delegates’ contributions that afternoon, and each person suggested 2 or 3 points. We had to discern what were individual expressions and what reflected deep-seated movements in the Assembly that needed to be taken into account.
On 2 October 2023, the final document was officially sent by the world secretariat to all the national communities. The challenge was met! Well done to the writers and many thanks to them!