Paris, January 31 to February 2, 2005
The Coordinating Council of AMM met in the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission in Paris from January 31 to February 2, 2005. There were present:
Martha Leticia Tapia
Sister Marie Yonide Midy, DC
G. Gregory Gay, CM
Charles F. Shelby, CM
Romo Benjamin, CM
Janusz Zwolinski, CM
Alfredo Becerra Vázquez, CM
In outline, this was the agenda of the meeting:
B. Vincentian Family Report
C. Expansion of the Association
E. International Meeting
G. Report on Plan 2002
A. Beginning of the encounter
Father Shelby began with a prayer and he/she informed that Father Manuel Ginete, Delegate of the General Superior for the Vincentian Family could not participate because of his mother’s death and he would be represented by Father Alfredo Becerra, Director of Vincentiana and Nuntia and collaborator of the Delegate for the Vincentian Family.
For a few minutes there was time to share starting from the question: How are you? How is your ministry?
Father Romo has visited Albania, Kosovo, Belgium, and Switzerland. After 6 years in Rome he has moved on to Mexico to become advisor to the Vincentian Family since January 3, 2005.
Father Janusz left the Congo last July. He has had problems with his heart and moved back to Europe. November 1 he went back in Poland and adjusting. His current email address is email@example.com. Now he is at Thessalonica in Greece.
Sr. Yonide does hospitality in the motherhouse and helps the sick. She is receiving help from the JMV secretariat with translations. In her homeland of Haiti there are natural disasters and political problems.
Father Alfredo has been at the Curia since December. He is learning the C.M. in a new way as he works with publications and the web site. He is in good health.
Martha has changed her work since the AMM Mexico elected a new national president in May. She lost her brother in July.
Father Gregory’s life changed when he became Superior General in July. He has all of Fr. Maloney’s responsibilities, including the Vincentian Family. His calendar is getting full. He is hoping to improve the good community life in the Curia house. He knows the AMM from his own formation, but the apostolic dimension is new and praiseworthy.
Father Alfredo kindly agreed to be the secretary of the encounter.
In opening remarks, the Director General said that he has a lot of interest in working with the Vincentian Family (FV) and especially with the AMM. “I like the apostolic dimension that is strengthening in the AMM in different places. It is a very dynamic. I see in rue du Bac the enormous quantity of pilgrims and they have great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. A very strong devotion, for example is at the shrine in Philadelphia where people go, including non-Catholics that will offer homage to the Virgin. I am in the best attitude for supporting the AMM.
B. Vincentian Family
Father Shelby said that several of those present they had participated in the XI Meeting of those responsible for International Vincentian Family (FVI), recently taken place in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of the Charity in Paris. Father Janusz and Sister Yonide did not participate in that meeting. Father Shelby outlined the points covered in this meeting:
Activities carried out by all the FV in 2004.
Activities planned for 2005 by each branch of the FV.
The campaigns of previous years were evaluated; although they have concluded, the actions continue in diverse countries.
The tsunami disaster of southeast Asia was discussed. On behalf of those responsible for FVI, Father Yvon Laroche drafted a letter of solidarity with those suffering damage.
They chose the theme for 2005: “United as Vincentian Family in solidarity with the most vulnerable.”
Support will be given to translate formation materials formation of two countries (Hungary and Madagascar).
There will be developed a dossier of all the branches of the FV and an informative triptych for the Vincentian World Youth Day at Cologne next October. Father Manuel Ginete will coordinate the project and Father Shelby will be responsible for developing the AMM content for the triptych and sending it to the International Secretariat of JMV.
The political action campaign against the malaria will conclude September 27.
Regarding the Year of Youth, the Father Romo visited the AMM of Mendrisio (Switzerland), where the young have a missionary apostolate, to encourage them to continue strengthening its Marian, Vincentian, and missionary identity.
Martha received the invitation to participate in the International Assembly of JMV in Belagalbón (Spain) but this will be delegated to members of AMM of Spain to represent AMM in this assembly.
C. Expansion of the Association
Report of the International Coordinator. He indicated that there are 14 countries with approved National Statutes, and those that have submitted them will soon finish the approval process. Father Shelby asked Father Gregory to send his signature to him. When statutes are approved, they are included in the list of approved statutes on the web site. Martha Tapia was requested to take charge of upgrading her data and sending it to the Office of FV at Rome. Father Gregory announced the appointment of Father Benjamin Romo as the new international coordinator of the AMM. The other members of the International Council, Sister Yonide, P. Janusz and Martha Tapia will conclude their service in June of 2006.
Communication with those responsible in the regions and contacts with the National Councils. A brief report of the countries where the AMM exists:
Congo. The AMM grows but there is a peculiar situation with a member of the CM. At the time of the approval of their National Statutes he requested to the Regional Superior that he name a confrere as Director for the AMM and that the Director General confirm it.
Poland. The AMM as such does not exist, although there is a Marian association that practically appears like the Miraculous Medal. However, it had arisen in the time of Communism, and it has been difficult to achieve recognition of their affiliation to an international organization like AMM. The newly appointed confrere wants to make the international affiliation. So that it can be recognized internationally as part of AMM, the International Coordinator should write them to ask them formally if they want to be part of the international organization. Later on, it will be possible to approve the petition and affiliation with the International AMM. It is recommended to invite them to the Second International Meeting of AMM in next October.
Portugal. Organization and enthusiasm, encouraged by a priest of the CM and a DC. They send frequent progress reports.
Mexico. They had their Extraordinary Assembly and developed a Pastoral Project.
Mozambique. Write to the Visitor to ask who the new director is. The AMM is entirely youth (Sister Yonide).
Switzerland. They want to receive affiliation. They are going to make changes in their Statutes and they will present them for approval. They asked to be able to participate in the Meeting of next October. They can present the experience of the apostolate in the Encounter. This branch developed and flourishes with no direct involvement of the CM or DC. They have excellent apostolates. For 45 years they have supported devotion and missionaries, now numbering 56 projects. Among them, they form youth and send them out to the missions for 6 months.
Venezuela. They don't give financial support, but yes they use the catecheses.
Dominican Republic. They had a national assembly and they chose a new National Council.
El Salvador. There is a new contact, Julio Castellanos. They are going to use the catecheses. They are developing Statutes.
Guatemala. The group exists but they don't want to belong to the International AMM.
Brazil. An e-mail from Mateo was received that this interested one to establish the AMM in River de Janeiro.
Cuba. The P. Luis Lusarreta requests information in a confidential way.
Austria. Meeting of the AMM. They made a visit to the rue du Bac.
Spain. The national offices of AMM were visited and contact and exchange of material continue with them.
Slovenia. Approval of the National Statutes and contact continues for translations. The Provincial is the director of the AMM. The AMM is almost entirely Youth (Sr. Yonide).
Lebanon. There is no news.
Angola. There is no news.
Croatia. The information that arrives is through Slovenia.
France. There is contact with Father Daniel Lamerand. An advisory team is beginning, with the help of a DC. There is not sufficient understanding and support between the AMM and the pastoral services of the chapel at the rue du Bac.
Germany. No news.
Haiti. The Father Jacoslav Lawrenz is no longer the director, now it is the Father Decilus Valcin.
Portugal. The Association continues growing but it needs closer accompaniment. The delegate's visit could help build morale. They want to maintain the contact.
Rumania. At the beginning there was an occasional meeting with a DC that later was the Visitatrix. It is not known if there are groups, as there is not formal contact.
Slovakia. There is no contact.
Vietnam. There is no news. It doesn't seem easy to organize in that country.
Hungary. There is no contact.
Madagascar. The AMM is very motivated -
Mozambique. They already changed director.
In some countries the International Council has still not identified the AMM and therefore the contact is not formal with them.
Martha received an invitation to speak for 7 minutes at the JMV Assembly in Spain. This will be handled by the AMM in Spain.
Report of the web page. During a break Father Shelby made a demonstration of the web page of the international AMM (www.amminter.org)
Electronic news bulletin, eBulletin. The publication is slow because the material that arrives late at the office of Father Shelby, only in the original language, and he does not have a strong translation service. There is a formation plan but they often have lacked the translations. The catecheses plan was revised—some were canceled and others changed publication date and author. The catecheses of the Formation Plan arose from the final document of the First International Meeting in the year 2001. A suggestion was to have Julio Castellanos (San Salvador) create some catecheses. He plans to submit catecheses in three languages (English, French and Spanish) in the October Meeting. It was formalized who will develop the needed catecheses and the respective translations. It was suggested to write to Father Castillo, of the Secretariat of JMV, to ask about the possibility of that members of the Secretariat can support the AMM with this service. It also is possible that they can support the translations from the office of FV. The readiness of some retired DC was also mentioned, and the possibility of volunteers from the UN that offer this type of service gratuitously.
Formation plan for the web site of the Association. We intend to recapture this point at the next International Meeting of the AMM. It would be valuable to present future catecheses with ecclesiastic, Marian, and Vincentian content. The AMM in the different countries has materials for times of formation meetings, assemblies, retreats, etc., it would be good submit them and to share them.
Formation of Leaders. It will be insisted that the participants of the countries for the Second International Meeting of the AMM are people with the capacity to be able to transmit, later on, the wealth of the event to the other members of AMM of their countries. It is necessity to form at the catechetical level and at the leaders’ level. The web site has different catechesis sections: Spirituality, Formation, Apostolate and Mission, Diffusion and Devotion, Vincentian Family and Advisors and accompaniment.
Father Shelby presented a financial report of the international operations of AMM. Many expenses have been absorbed by the AMM of Perryville, USA.
Expenses of trips of the Coordinator (Paris meeting) $597.66
Wages and supports to the Web master 2,898.92
Expenses of trips of the members of the Council (Paris) 2,212.00
This is about 1 cent of dollar for each member of the Association. If there are extraordinary expenses, such as the acquisition of a computer, it could change the expenses considerably. He/she remembered that it will be recaptured in matter of supporting to the International Council. The mechanism would be the following one: the national treasurer of each place support from the members of the different local centers, later he or she sends it to the provincial treasurer of the CM, he sends it to the Econome General of the CM in Rome and finally, it is sent to the International Coordinator of AMM. There is lack communication and clarity in this agreement. The Econome General has the remainder of the funds from the International Meeting in 2001, and he has helped the foundation of the AMM in Venezuela, Madagascar, and Mozambique.
It is necessary to recapture this matter: to clarify it, to communicate it and to promulgate it to the whole AMM.
Father Romo will speak with Father Elmer, the Econome General, to ask him if he will be willing to receive the contributions of the AMM.
Approach the matter in the following way:
1º. Letter of the General Superior (one week):
Announce the appointment of the new Coordinator of AMM
Convoke the Second International Meeting of AMM (Rome, October 24-28 of 2005).
Directed to the Visitors, Visitors and countries where there are approved statutes and countries where the AMM is present.
2º. Letter of Father Shelby, in which he gives a progress report of the AMM in these last years (strong points and weaknesses), the economic situation, clarifying that the other members of the International Council finish in June of 2006.
3º. Letter of the P. Romo. He introduces himself, presents more details of the Meeting and the proposal for the financial support of the AMM.
All the members of AMM show their sense of ownership of the Association. Each intends to give a cent of dollar per member or a free contribution to support to the International AMM and to support it in extraordinary occasions.
The letters will be sent the General Secretaries of each one of the branches of FV.
Second International Meeting of the AMM (Rome, October 24-28, 2005) Place: Casa María Inmacolata.
Still needed: the motto and objective; Father Romo will take charge of this.
We discussed “See the love – feel the care” at the meeting. “Ver el amor, sentir la ternura” (el amor del Padre, la ternura de la Madre)
Sunday October 23
The participants arrive during the day
19:45 Dinner and announcements.
Monday October 24
Moderator: P. Romo
Theme: Evaluation of national situation of the AMM in the light of the Lines of Action of 2001
8:45 Beginning of the meeting
9:00 Mass (P. Gregorio Gay). Possible testimony in the homily of Mrs. Chantal Crepy or Sister Maria Madeleine Decell, DC of the chapel of rue du Bac
10:30 Message of the Director General (15 minutes)
Practical orientation (15 minutes): objectives, final document.
11:30 Participants’ presentation:
Office of coordinator
13.00 Practical orientation: Formation of groups with approved National Statutes (group A) and groups without Statutes (group B).
15:30 Groups A and B with guiding questions
17:30 Preparation of the presentation. Agreements of the group and preparing the presentation (three accomplishments and three challenges)
18:45 End of work of the day
19:15 Prayer in common in the chapel
19:45 Dinner and free time
Tuesday October 25
Moderator: Father Charles F. Shelby.
Theme: The AMM and Its Place in the Church
7:30 Prayer by language groups
9:00 Plenary session. Presentation from the work groups; analysis of the situation of the AMM
11:00 Continuation of the Plenary Session
12:00 End of the morning work
12:15 Resonance for initial groups. Share what was heard in the room. Point out three commitments.
3:30 Formation experiences. Mexico or Santo Domingo
Presentation and questions (45 minutes).
4:30 Topic: “The AMM and the Church” (P. Miguel A. Renes or P. Corpus) (45 minutes). Theme and questions.
6:00 Work in groups. Develop questions.
7:00 Mass (President: a priest of French language).
8:00 Dinner and free time
Wednesday October 26
Moderator: Father Manuel Ginete.
Theme: Today’s Poverty and Youth Shape the Apostolate of the AMM
7:30 Prayer (All in the hall. Led by Africa)
9:00 topic: “The AMM and today's poverty” (Marina Costa, AIC)
Theme and questions (45 minutes), organize the work for the groups
10:15 Experience of apostolate in the AMM (Puerto Rico, Philippines, Cameroon, or Nigeria) Presentation (30 minutes) and questions (15 minutes)
11: 00 Break
11:30 Work groups for apostolate
What poverties challenge us? What new apostolates can respond to them? How can we improve the apostolate to respond to them?
1) Domiciliary visits;
2) Sick–elderly and hospitals
3) Jails–homeless people
4) Soup kitchens–clinics
5) Service for social development
6) Support of the works and projects of the CM
12:30 Plenary sharing: What is the apostolate of the group and how can it be improved to respond to the new poverty.
Father Shelby makes the conclusion. “Our distinctiveness is the style with which we carry out our apostolate.”
15:30 Experience of youth and for youth (Mendrisio-Ticino, Switzerland)
Presentation (30 minutes) and questions (15 minutes)
16:30 topic: “Youth and the AMM” (Karla Pinho, Portugal).
Theme (45 minutes) and questions (15 minutes)
17:30 Break, photograph
18:00 Leave for St. Andrea delle Fratte
18:30 Rosario in St. Andrea delle Fratte
19.00 Mass in St. Andrea delle Fratte (Presider Father Shelby)
20:00 Return to house
20:30 Dinner and free time
Thursday 27 October
Moderator: P. Janusz
Theme: Activities and Commitments for the Coming Years
7:00 Mass (Led by Asia)
9:00 Groups on the topic of youth
What can we do concretely to give the youth a place in the Association? (Groups write their reports turn them in to the secretary)
9:30 Plenary session. Presentation of conclusions and commitments by the Commission for the Final Document. (First Draft)
Explanation of the group process
The groups work with the First Draft and the group reports on all topics.
Three commitments and three convictions are chosen and submitted to the Commission for the Final Document.
Possible outline for the Final Document: General Presentation; Conclusions; Convictions and Commitments.
The First Draft is revised to add, remove, or synthesize and to define the convictions and commitments.
10:00 Work in groups
11:30 Work in groups
15:30 Presentation on the web site amminter.org and questions (45 minutes) (Father Shelby)
16:30 Development and approval of National Statutes (Fathr Romo)
16:45 Funding of the International Council (Fr. Romo)
17:45 Work in groups. Proposals and suggestions to the International Council and the Director General
18:30 Time of preparation for the celebration
Friday October 28
Moderator: P. Romo
9:00 Presentation of the Final Document by the Commission
9:30 Group work on the Final Document
10:30 Response to the proposals by the International Council and the Director General
11:45 The Vincentian Family Projects and collaboration with the AMM (Father Ginete)
13:00 Approval of the Final Document and evaluation of the meeting
15:00 Afternoon free for the participants
Work with the advisers of AMM (informal meeting) (60 minutes)
18:30 Closing Mass (Father Romo)
Invite those responsible for FV in Rome
Distribute the Final Document
Saturday October 29
Fathers Ginete, Shelby, Romo, Sister Natividad del Hoyo and Karla Pinho
Office of Vincentian Family in Rome (Father Ginete)
Create the registration list for the meeting:
Ask what apostolate you do?
Prepare the report on the Document of the 2001 AMM meeting
Office of FV sends the registration list (April) after Father Romo has sent a letter.
Martha Tapia will update the data of the National AMM and will send it to the office of FV of Rome.
Prepare a letter from the Curia for those that could need it when requesting the entry Visa to Italy (A format exists in office of FV).
Send instructions for arriving at the meeting location.
Coordinator: Father Henry W. Grodecki, with two lay people from Perryville AMM
They will produce, if it is possible, a pamphlet with the liturgy of every day (ready by August). From the list of participants, assign people on different days to allow the assembly to have some experience of cultural diversity. Sister Carla at the Casa is the sacristan.
All materials should be sent to the Coordinator by September to be included in the pamphlet. The assignments should be made by June so that those responsible for liturgies and services can prepare them.
Office of FV will send the information on the participating countries.
Commission on Topics
P. Romo coordinates. It contacts with the exponents of the topics, of the experiences and it organizes the work groups.
Responsible: Sister Yonide, DC. She will request support for the encounter. She will collect the registration fees and other payments and expenses.
Rooms hold 1-3 persons, for €40 per day, €200 for the meeting; use of the secretariat room is €50 per day; the meeting hall is €300 per day; copies are €0,10 per day. Some of these costs can be negotiated lower.
Commission for the Festival
Coordinators: Julio Castellanos (El Salvador) and Irma Pérez de Garza (Mexico). Martha will contact them.
Commission for the Exhibit of Promotion and Formation Materials
Responsible: Martha Tapia. She will write to the participating countries to bring material on promotion, formation, and apostolate for the exhibit.
Commission on Translations
Responsible: Father Romo. He will ask Father Pedro Castillo about the possibility of the supporting services of translation and secretariat. He needs to have the conferences, for translation, six weeks before the meeting (10 September).
Ask Father Ginete about the possibility of supplying a computer and photocopier from the offices of the Vincentian Family or the Curia.
The Council meeting was participative, simple, with fraternal atmosphere. All the participants indicated their satisfaction with the meeting.
The next meeting of the International Council will be October 29 in Rome. The Second International Meeting of AMM will be evaluated.
P. Alfredo Becerra V. CM
Secretary “ad casum”