Annual retreat of the Vice-Province of Luanda, Angola

From the evening of May 15 to 19, 15 confreres of the Redemptorists Vice-Province of Luanda in Angola came together for the annual spiritual exercise at  Vouga-Kunhinga community. Usually, the most important meetings of the Vice-Province take place in this community since the place offers great spaces and is a place where you could breath fresh air. Vouga-Kunhinga is 30 km far from the provincial capital of Biè.

The retreat was under the guidance of Fr. João Pedro Fernandes, who mostly centred his talks on the XXV General Chapter. On the first day, the theme of reflection was focused on the process and decisions of the Chapter. Then in the group, the participants were invited to discuss the chapter-related decisions concerning the Vice-Provincial Office and to propose strategies to respond to them. Some of the decisions highlighted by the groups were: the protection of vulnerable children and adults; The Community’s lifestyle (simplicity, solidarity with the poor and transparency); The promotion of vocation and vocational accompaniment.

During the following days, the Spirit led us to reflect and pray on the theme for the next 6 years. We have deepened our reflection on the theme ” Witnesses to the Redeemer ” – a testimony that is credible that flows from the Love of God (“what we have seen and heard, what we have contemplated …”). Something that we can not hold it for us, but we feel the urgency of communicating it to others. And as the Redemptorists, we do it in a particular way: in the way of the Redeemer, who has become “close relative” to each of us, especially those who are in extreme need of solidarity and human and spiritual redemption.

Later reflected on how we can be “in solidarity for the Mission” – united with God in his life and salvation project for the world; Solidarity between us (a great challenge, community solidarity at different levels!); solidarity with the suffering and the humanity in need of Redemption. The World today is “a Wounded World”. The retreat was an opportunity to look with “eyes that they see” – like those of Jesus, full of compassion that leads to action – some of the most painful realities that will shed the human and social fabric of the country. However, we left after the retreat, as consecrated people, looking at our vulnerabilities and wounds, personal and as a community, trying to understand some of the causes for them and to remedy.

(João Pedro Fernandes, CSsR).