The laity and the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation

The International Laity Commission

’France is your cradle, but the entire universe is open to you.’ Fr Pernet

As soon as we learned that the year 2015 would be a special one because of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of our Congregation we laity, with the sisters, undertook to prepare and organise various activities together. These were to enable us to review their history of love for the poor and those who are impoverished in the light of the intuition of Father Pernet and Sister Antoinette Fage – an intuition of which we have been part right from the beginning. 
The experience was marked by the preparatory papers drawn up by the Little Sisters: these papers enabled us to deepen our feeling of belonging to this charismatic family of the Assumption by recognising in our actions the elements of the charism, spirituality and mission that we wished to share in life and in the mission. With the freedom that is characteristic of this fine family, each town, group or person develops these elements at their own pace and in line with their interests so that our "actions may speak Jesus Christ". 
 
In the same way we, as the national laity commission, have adopted the proposal by the General Council and the International Laity Commission that each town should develop the activities it considers to be important for making the Congregation known and for celebrating this history of salvation as followers of Jesus, Servant and Saviour. 
 
That is how, in Cali, Medellín and Bogotá, we will celebrate a Eucharist on a date close to that of the foundation of the Congregation (18 July), inviting as large a number as possible of friends, acquaintances and persons in touch with our Congregation and its history. Similarly, we have chosen the month of August (15th and 17th) for a meeting/assembly of the Assumptionist family at which the Little Sisters, the Aolas and the Laity will reflect and pray together and will celebrate this history; we will also look at how we will continue the journey together. It will also be an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitments and it will be the first time for some lay people to express the commitment as associates of the Congregation, because we have enlarged our tent. 
To carry out all that, in the case of Bogotá for example, we organised five little commissions comprising Little Sisters and laypeople that come into being following the first preparatory meeting led by the Little Sisters: the activities we are going to develop, after a shower of propositions, are the following:
  • Communicate and spread information about the 150th anniversary and about the Congregation.
  • Prepare the Eucharist that we will celebrate on the 1st of August 2015.
  • Propose and develop the preparation "path" for the 150th anniversary, in which we envisage having a retreat for the persons of the group that is preparing the celebration and, finally, propose that a novena be made before the date of the foundation. 
  • Organise a "celebration of the Assumptionist people", planned for after the Eucharist, where there will be dancing, music, theatre and occasions when it will be possible to express the value of the Assumption in our life and our commitments, so that this history may continue.
 
We know that all this is guided by the loving hand of God the Father, accompanied along the way by his Son Jesus Christ and animated by the Holy Spirit, with the joy and simplicity of Mary of the Assumption, and within the intuition of Fr Pernet and Sr Antoinette Fage. France was their cradle but they reminded us that the whole universe is open to us to continue journeying with the poor along the path of hope, and make visible the Reign of God here and now. 
 
Victor Andrés Angel, Assumption layman, Colombia 
19/06/2015
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