Summary of the 11th Assembly of the Network of Parishes of Latin America. This event occurs every two years in different cities on the continent. This year the encounter was in Lima, Peru. The coordinator of the Network is Father Rafael Velasco SJ.
For six days (from the 19th to the 24th of May) the delegates of the Network of Parishes in Latin America (RELAPAJ, in Spanish) of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials of Latin America and the Caribbean (CPAL, in Spanish) met in Lima, Peru, to discuss the parish news from each country, and learn how Jesuit parishes are responding to the challenges of the General Congregation 36.
Father Rafael Velasco SJ, Coordinator of RELAPAJ, pointed out that this meeting has two meanings: to share the experiences of the parish sector throughout Latin America and, in turn, to reflect on the mission of reconciliation and justice for the sector. “We agree that our parishes are called to be communities of life, of encounter, that go out to meet communities and human beings, and that they accompany them in their processes, that they help to reconcile, to reconcile people with God and also to reconcile their lives, with their neighbours, with their own society and to work for a more just society”.
The meeting was attended by 15 people: Fr. Luis Javier Serralde (Colombia), Fr. Luis Raúl Arbeláez (Colombia), Fr. Mateo Garr (Peru), Fr. Cristino Quiñonez (Paraguay), Fr. José Luis Serra (Fr. Mexico), Fr. Orlando Contreras (Chile), Fr. Laercio Lima (Brazil), Fr. Javier Antonio Fuenmayor (Venezuela), Fr. Carlos García Carrera (Cuba-Antilles), Fr. Santiago Polanco (Antilles), Fr. Miguel Ángel Vásquez (Central America), Fr. Homero Fuentes (Ecuador), Fr. Rafael Velasco (ARU), Fr. Rafael Moreno (Representative of CPAL) and the only woman Roxana Gutiérrez (Bolivia).
The first two days of the meeting, the participants devoted themselves to learn more about the functioning of the Jesuit parishes that belong to the Province of Peru, they met the parishes of “La Virgen de Nazaret”, which is located in El Agustino (Lima), and “San Pedro de Lima”, which is in the Cercado de Lima. Likewise, they met the parish of “Nuestra Señora de Fátima” in Miraflores, the venue of the meeting.
The Network of Parishes in Latin America (RELAPAJ) also reflected on various topics, such as: the Society of Jesus’ Mission in Latin America, which was in charge of the President of the CPAL, Roberto Jaramillo SJ. Also, they analysed the contributions for the realisation of the Operational Plan of Action of the year 2018 and executed a plenary on the mission of the parishes in the light of the Mission of the Society of Jesus.
On Wednesday morning (20th of June), the participants had the opportunity to listen via Skype to a talk by Fr. Marcelo Amaro,, Delegate of Youth and Vocations on behalf of the CPAL, on the preparation for the Synod of Youth 2018, the World Youth Day (WYD) and the Magis 2019.
To end the meeting, Fr. Velasco emphasized that “Jesuit parishes should be a space of encounter with the God Jesus and that is why we must work hard on Ignatian spirituality, spiritual exercises, exercises in daily life; offer that food of spirituality that helps in this complex world, so that people can meet with God and we can make community that helps transform reality. Communities of life that generate another life”.