General Assembly of Lay and Priest Associates

| November 24th, 2012

From 25 – 28 September 2012 delegates of the Lay and Priest Associates met in Martillac for their General Assemblies. It was a period of deep reflection, building on the Congress that had preceded it, to chart their specific way forward as members of the Family of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles. Marie Dunne, the delegate for Ireland, gives her experience of the meeting.

Marie Dunne reporting to AGM

“I arrived for the second week of the gathering in Martillac. The Congress was finished and the General Assembly of Lay/Priests Associates was about to begin. I was very much aware that there was a buzz and excitement around the new Congress Declaration that had been agreed upon, and discussions were about to take place on how to implement it. But it was rather difficult to grasp and get a feel for something that had been discussed at length the previous week. We were told in great detail about it, but I felt it was one of those things that would have had to be experienced firsthand to appreciate it fully.

In spite of this, it was amazing to see and experience the atmosphere of so many from all over the world, thousands of miles apart, meeting and greeting each other as if we were, indeed, all family coming together to re-enforce beliefs and bonds. It was the first time I realised we had so many Priest Associates worldwide. It was also very interesting to listen to the variety of ideas and plans from our members living worlds apart and yet having so much in common. The sisters providing the translation made it seem as if we were all speaking the same language in communicating with each other.

There was a strong feeling of connectedness, of belonging to this family of five vocations scattered far and wide. We may not be aware 

of the presence of Consecrated Seculars in our community, or be in contact with our Priest Associates or our Contemplative Sisters, but the comparison was made linking the situation to ordinary families where children/relations are also scattered far and wide, but that those remaining at home are still fully aware of their role as family.

As members of this Family of five vocations, we felt the need for a common formation in looking forward with a contemplative  heart

Priest and Lay Associates, Martillac 2012

 at the unfolding, emerging New World View; that we have a duty to be aware of the very important need to pass on our charism to the next generation; that young people have a right to inherit our spiritual treasures, but that this needs to be done by simple means, with tenderness.

We all had a desire to deepen our identity as Family, with God and all creation. To do this, we knew we would have to push our boundaries and step out of our comfort zones. We were very much aware of the breath of the Holy Spirit being alive and active during our time in Martillac.

We came away with new hope, new vision and more awareness to deepen and broaden our outlook as we start searching/seeking new ways to be drawn into the wonder and awe of God in us, in our world, in our universe and all of creation.

I am grateful for the opportunity given to me to go to Martillac for this General Assembly. It was truly a great and enlightening experience. And much appreciated.”