The delegates to the Christian Life Community (CLC) Asia Pacific Assembly, held in Seoul, Korea from 17 to 20 October, experienced a movement of the Holy Spirit as we communally discerned our response to the theme ‘Living Faith in the Crowd’.
Brought together as 36 delegates from 13 national communities in the region (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam), we felt a sense of family and communion as we prayed, discerned and dreamed together.
CLC Korea offered attentive hospitality and the Asia Pacific Animating Team (of which Australian Michael Walker was a member) led the Assembly.
Christian Life Community is a world community of ordinary people who live out Ignatian spirituality and who thus act as close collaborators with the Society of Jesus. CLC is grateful for the support and friendship of the Jesuits in Australia and throughout the region.
In our Australian presentation our delegation was able to share with the delegates that within Australia the key CLC-Jesuit collaboration over the past 25 years has been the Jesuit Tertians-CLC retreats in rural and more isolated parts of the country. In recent years these have been First Spiritual Exercises retreats, through which many people have experienced significant graces for their lives.
The heart of the Christian Life Community is the local small community which meets regularly throughout the year. As a world community, however, there are global, Asia Pacific, Australian, and state-based dimensions to membership of CLC. It is experiences such as this Asia Pacific Assembly which reaffirm that we are in fact one community living out our spirituality on mission throughout the world.
‘Communal discernment’ was an important theme in the Assembly, both in response to socio-political situations and the needs of the universal Church. We desire to make this contribution to the needs of the world and the Church that labours for its good. In this we recognised that personal discernment needs to occur alongside communal discernment.
In our Ignatian spirituality we attend to the Holy Spirit bringing light to our experience. Through our Awareness Examen at the end of each day, we became more and more conscious of the Assembly as a Spirit-led experience.
Throughout the Assembly there were ‘open spaces’ for communal discernment bubbling up from among the delegates based on the needs we find in our national communities and local situations. We noticed that we desire to continue to serve among young people.
One common work for the CLC Asia Pacific community in recent years was contributing to the 2017 Asian Youth Day in Indonesia. An important grace we received from that experience is that we desire to encourage deeper and more regular collaboration and communication across and between CLC local and national communities. In both formal and organic ways, we want to work together.
On the final evening we celebrated each culture through songs and presentations from each national community. The Australian delegation of Michael Walker, Gaby Grimaldo, Ana Rita S. and I sang ‘I am, You Are, We Are Australian’. As we came to the end, the screen above us revealed that we had changed the final line to ‘I am, You Are, We Are CLC’.
This was an appropriate ending sung with joy by the entire crowd of Assembly delegates and participants of the accompanying Immersion Program’ for CLC members in the region.
At the end of the Assembly, a new Animating Team was elected to serve the regional community for the next five years. The members of this team are Agnes Shin (Korea), Cosmas Tsao (Taiwan), Jeraldine Ching (Philippines), Gregorius Tjaidjadi (Indonesia) and James O’Brien (Australia). We invite your prayers for the new Animating Team.
If you wish to find out more, CLC Australia’s national website is http://clcaustralia.org.au
By James O’Brien