At the beautiful monastery of the Dominican nuns of Beaufort (France-Bretagne) the ECLDF came together for the second time to continue the work to be done and to make plans for the coming time and for the ECLDF Assembly in 2017.
Read the impression of the days 30 April – 3 May 2015:
The hospitality of the nuns was great. They have, a little separate from the monastery, a former farm, where we could stay and work. We were able to share all the times of prayer together with the nuns and they even invited us for a meeting with the whole community. This community is special because they are very lively with many talented young nuns. Their singing is angelic. Singing and praying with them was really touching and heart-warming. And all this for free!
The five members of the ECLDF were made complete with the coming of the European member of ICLDF Klaus Bornewasser and also with the Promoter General Bro. Rui Carlos Lopes o.p. and his assistant Bro. Manolo o.p.. Alas Arnaud Kientz, the communication officer of the ECLDF, had to leave already the first morning after our arrival, because his mother died that night. All our prayers are with him and his family.
The first thing we discussed was the communication among ourselves. As we are living far away from each other modern media are very important. Email boxes are normally already crowded at home for work and family, but as ECLDF members they often become overcrowded. That’s why we agreed to have a so-called Skype-meeting at least once every two months.
The ECLDF is very ambitious nowadays. We want to improve the communication with IDYM, but especially with all the European Provinces/Vicariates of Lay Dominicans for instance by visiting Provincial meetings, writing more newsletters, etc.
In the former ECLDF (2011-2014) formation was an extra activity. For that a framework of formation issues was composed on the four pillars of Dominican life. But suggestions were also given as to how these issues can become attractive and alive. Provincial formation of the local formators was proposed. Now we will try to have ‘mission’ as a more central theme. Eva Zudorova became not only the new formation officer, but also the officer of our European Lay Dominican mission. For that we have to think together about how we can reach people. The ECLDF website has to be renewed for this purpose, and Facebook or other modern media can be used. We want to stimulate European Lay Dominicans to tell us how they live their vocation and mission. For that we will have detective reporters from the different regions of Europe to gather information and stories to be published on the ECLDF website. We also want to show our commitment to the many problems in Europe: the war in Ukraine, the thousands of fugitives, but also modern society where we live and see poverty and desolation, young people without a future, broken families, etc. Activities for justice and peace will be an increasing challenge for Lay Dominicans.
Language remains a difficulty. Europe has 26 Provinces/Vicariates with at least 20 different languages. The three official languages of the Order are only partly efficient for Europe, because only one country speaks and understands Spanish and only a few countries speak and understand French. For the greater part from East to West and North to South, the English language is the main second language. That’s why ECLDF decided to use only that language for communication, asking every Province/Vicariate already at the Bologna Assembly (2014) to find somebody able to translate the most important information for their provincial/local Lay Dominicans.
The financial situation of ECLDF also demands attention. In order to be able to do our job, we need the yearly contributions of all Provinces/Vicariates. Our treasurer Aksel Misje will write a special letter again about this issue. We received a generous gift from the Province of Switzerland. That will help us to cover the costs of the site renewal!
After discussing all this, we heard reports from Klaus Bornewasser about ICLDF, Bro. Rui about his international experiences and of course about the Jubilee year of the Order. We feel privileged at being invited to Rome on 7 November this year to witness and share the opening celebration of this Jubilee year and we will surely be there!
An important issue for the ECLDF is the organization of the next ECLDF Assembly.
We decided already to have this Assembly not in 2018 but in 2017 (because of the planning of the ICLDF with an Assembly in 2018). Now we even decided, in connection with plans of the ICLDF, to have the next ECLDF Assembly on 4-8 October 2017. The place is not yet certain. In Bologna France (La Tourette) and the Netherlands (Huissen) were suggested as possibilities; now Bro. Rui suggested Portugal (Fatima). That could also be a very good place. Our Dominican lay brother Gabriel Silva and sister Cristina Busto from Portugal are already gathering information.
Last but not least, we discussed a theme for the next Assembly and for the time on our way to that Assembly together with all our European Lay Dominicans. Because ‘mission’ will be a central issue now we chose: PREACHERS OF HOPE.
In this theme we can show our involvement in all the terrible situations in the world of war, terror, fugitives, despair… And we can make alive how the Light is shining through all the disasters of our lives. We want to communicate this theme with as many Lay Dominicans in Europe as possible.
So we are really ambitious, but at the same time, we have to be modest. Our possibilities as the ECLDF are limited. But nevertheless…..
With the intercession of our father St. Dominic and of all the Dominican saints and blessed sisters and brothers, especially in these days around Pentecost we trust in the help of the Holy Spirit, who will be given to us in abundance.
Leny Beemer- de Vos, President ECLDF