The Beginning of the Year Convivience for 2016 started on Thursday night, October 6th. It was also the 20th Anniversary of this annual convivience. There were about 200-300 people there, which consisted of only the Responsibles and Co-Responsibles. Of all the conviviences we have participated in, this was actually the best one. There was a lot of joy and consolation among the brothers.
First of all, some good news.
1. Kudos to Father Miguel. He will be receiving a doctorate in theology. I understand it is the highest degree a priest can get. According to Father Miguel, his thesis is almost complete, and he will receive his doctorate. The good thing about those who have received their formation at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam is that they not only get a degree from the Lateran University in Rome, but they can also go on to higher graduate studies as Father Miguel had done. Father Fabio is also in Rome pursuing a higher degree.
2. Another kudos...... There are now 115 Redemptoris Mater Seminaries world wide. New RM seminaries have opened in India, Argentina (the home country of Pope Francis), Luxumberg, and other countries. As a result, there are now 115 RM seminaries worldwide.
3. Another good news is that the newly appointed Bishop of Saipan, Rev. Ryan Jimenez is supportive of the Neocatechumenal Way. This is good news coming from our Saipan brothers in the Way.
Secondly, World Youth Day was also mentioned, and we watched a short video from WYD in Poland. There were approximately 200,000 youth from the Neocatechumenal Way who attended the WYD pilgrimage in Poland. Of that number, about 300 came from Guam together with Hawaii, Kiribati, and Saipan. Of the 200,000 youth in Poland, 3000 young boys stood up to become priests and 4000 girls stood up to join the convent. 2000 families also came forward wanting to become mission families.
This same calling was done at our retreat. One 13 year old boy stood up when Father Pius asked for any young men to stand up if they felt called by God to join the seminary. Although the 13 year old boy was still too young to join the seminary, we all applauded him. About 7 girls voluntarily stood up when called to join the convent or become an itinerant. When Father Pius called for families who wanted to go on mission, there were 19 couples who voluntarily stood up. Many of them were from Guam. One couple from Guam who stood up has 18 children. I was very impressed with the families.
Finally, there were many other things that were transmitted to us during this four day convivience. We will be transmitting all these things to our communities during our scheduled transmittal. It turned out to be a beautiful and memorable convivience. Of all the convivences I attended, this one was the best one. Many of the brothers said the same thing. It was a very joyous event for all of us.