This year, the diocese’s Office for Consecrated Life and the Social Action Office decided to collaborate, outside their separate mandates, for the occasion of the Carrefour Encounter activities, in which, every year at this time, those in consecrated life gathered together.

By Louise Royer and Donatella Fiorani

The two Offices had a common goal: to bring together their network circles around the focal point of the encyclical "Fratelli tutti:" not so much to delve into it from a theological or spiritual perspective, but to highlight the achievements already accomplished in our communities and to foster the culture of encounter. 

An organizing committee was formed and the "adventure" of the event called "Carrefour Fratelli tutti - For a Culture of Encounter" began.

The event unfolded in three phases:

  • During the summer, a survey was conducted to investigate "the shadows of a closed world" as perceived at the grassroots level and to explore involvement in fraternity and social friendship. Seven groups or individuals responded.
  • On the morning of October 8, a videoconference was held to determine the results of the survey and to sit down in small groups in order to share our reflections and discuss the commitment to fraternity and social friendship. Approximately forty people took part in this phase, and the bishops of the diocese presented a number of ideas for reflection and action. 
  • On October 23, a Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Lépine and Auxiliary Bishop Faubert at the shrine of Marie-Reine-des-Cœurs in thanksgiving for the commitment of those in consecrated life and those involved in social ministry in the diocese of Montreal. Sister Madeleine Rochette was also honoured for her years as Director of the Office for Consecrated Life.  Approximately sixty people, mainly consecrated women, took part in the event amid a warm and familial atmosphere.

We learned a great deal from this process, for instance:

  • Discovering alternative forms of encounter, while following the sanitary guidelines;
  • Taking stock of both the vitality and the fragility of our networks, as well as the importance of strengthening them through meetings;
  • Enjoying the experience of working and deliberating together in the context of the organizing committee;
  • Recognizing the need to communicate better throughout the entire year;
  • Being moved by the depth of Fratelli Tutti;
  • Experiencing the pride taken in past and present commitments as we follow the guidelines set out in this encyclical, while continuing in the spirit of the inspiration and charisms of our founders and foundresses;
  • Embracing the encouragement of our bishops to set up "free" encounters in the peripheries; to encounter the suffering Christ in so many of our brothers and sisters; to serve according to our charisms and by reaching out beyond cultural or linguistic barriers;
  • Understanding the importance of including the results of our encounters in the liturgy, making it more meaningful.

Some of the participants in this event suggested we continue this journey together, and we came up with the idea of: 

  • Continuing our networking activities: by neighbourhood, by apostolate, among English- and French-speaking settings and others also, through working in collaboration;
  • Revamping the social ministry web pages to include links to the projects being carried out by those in consecrated life, enhancing the visibility of places where people can become involved and being accessible to all;
  • Making accessible the tools created for the Carrefour and tools available for other projects, such as the illustration of the Abu Dhabi call (par. 285 of Fratelli tutti), as well as the tools for the dissemination of the teachings of the encyclical.

Above all, however, following this beautiful experience, our desire is more than ever to embark together on the path towards the Synod on synodality.