Just a little insight on the weekend spent together for those who were unable to attend the US National gathering in Long Island, New York. The gathering began on Friday, May 1 in the evening at the Emmanuel Marianist Retreat House in Uniondale. In the evening there was praise, teaching and Mass.
The following day there was praise followed by a brief sharing of why everyone had chosen to be a part of the Emmanuel Community (EC). There were many beautiful testimonies of faith and the most common themes as to why people had become a part of Emmanuel were: joy, praise, a deeper sense of faith and the feeling of family.
The day proceeded with a teaching by Hubert (the new head for North America) on the “Criteria to be called to the Emmanuel Community”:
- Experience of God’s love
- Desire of conversion
- Desire for mission and evangelization
- Desire for fraternal life
If we want to confirm our calling, all we have to do is look at the fruits of our daily life as we live the graces of the Emmanuel Community. The community should help to guide us, comfort us, heal and purify us.
The second teaching was given by Herve and it was focused on the Fraternity of Jesus. He first talked about what the Fraternity of Jesus is all about. As Pierre Goursat defined it “a thing within the thing” we can only explore more deeply to see that the Fraternity is the heart of the community in that those who feel they are called to a more radical mission give their lives for that mission.
- It is a call to consecrate oneself for life
- a more determined mission to serve the greater Church
- Availability for the mission
- to still be within the Emmanuel Community
The Fraternity is different from the EC in that the commitment is for life as opposed to renewed yearly as it is done for the community commtiment. Some of us have been coming faithfully to community gatherings, household, even Paray-le-Monial, despite our imperfections and distance and even despite the poverty of the community itself. We must take the time to ask ourselves: is He calling us to more? Is He calling us to something more permanent within the community? Please reflect on this and if you feel you may be called to the Fraternity of Jesus, speak with your companion or contact Herve.
The celebration of Holy Mass was followed by more testimonies on how different brothers and sisters live their calling to the community in different circumstances. Just like during household sharing, the brief testimonies one hears on the lives of our brothers and sisters in community are always a source of inspiration.
Later, we took a nice stroll at a near by park and enjoyed each others company in a more leisurely way. Some took strolls together and shared one-on-one, some played soccer and others just walked among the children in the playground. Finally the ice cream man made a few extra bucks as community children and adults enjoyed a nice cool treat in the warm sun.
The rest of the day was filled with more time spent together and prayer. Sunday closed off with praise, Sunday Mass and a final talk. We prayed for all those who were unable to attend and for your intentions. We hope to see you at the National Gathering next year!