Australia’s Christian Life Community held their National Gathering in Adelaide from 19 to 21 January.
The weather was mercilessly hot, barely dropping to 30C at night, but the presentations provided plenty of food for thought and nourishment for the spirit.
CLC members themselves made many of the presentations. Gabrielle Mercer spoke of her decision to abandon the mainstream social concern for housebuilding and homemaking, choosing rather the experience of a remote indigenous community in WA with its heartaches and struggles as well as its rewards and joys.
Anne Zevis and Chiara von Perger described their experience of offering the First Spiritual Exercises (FSE) in parishes. They noted that while the organisation can be a challenge, the reward of seeing the transformation many experience in doing the FSE makes it all worthwhile.
Kay Hooper, Kachig Kabakjian and Ann Hoare shared their experiences and ideas about how the model of leadership that CLC promotes might be taken into the secular world or other church work contexts.
The National Ecclesial Assistant for CLC, Fr Iain Radvan SJ, made a presentation about the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which provoked debate about a possible response CLC might make to the Australian Catholic Bishops. Besides making a public statement about the Royal Commission and its recommendations, CLC members were also invited to participate as fully as possible in the Church’s National Plenary Council of 2020.
Fr Richard Leonard SJ was a guest speaker, exploring ‘The Signs of the Times’ in Australia today and the task of the Church as outlined by Pope Francis.
Fr Radvan said that there were also times of laughter, sharing stories, enjoying good food and playfulness.
‘We witnessed the joy found in deep friendships, honest sharing about faith and life, the goodness of committed disciples of Jesus, and passion for making the culture of the Catholic Church today more relevant, inclusive and life-giving’, he said.
Christian Life Communities are found around Australia and they always welcome Jesuits and laity of all faiths and none to join their fortnightly meetings of sharing and listening. For more, go to www.clcaustralia.org.au.