The Dominican brothers in Europe met at Lisbon for the 2012 assembly of the Inter-Europe Order of Preachers (IEOP). The assembly took place between the 11th and the 14th of April, 2012 and reflected on the theme, “The New Evangelization in Post-Modernity”. The brothers were fully represented by their superiors.
The following were at the assembly; fr. Francisco Javier Carballo Fernàndez (Provincial, Spain), fr. Gilbert Narcisse (Provincial, Toulouse), fr. Jean-Paul Vesco (Provincial, France), fr. Riccardo Barile (Provincial, St Dominic, Italy), fr. Daniele Cara (Provincial, St Catherine of Sienna, Rome), fr. Francesco La Vecchia (Provincial, St. Thomas Aquinas, Italy), fr. Màté Barna (Vicar General, Hungary), fr. Johannes Bunnenberg (Provincial, Teutonia), fr. Krzysztof Poplawski (Provincial, Poland), fr. Esteban Pérez Delgado (Provincial, Aragon), fr. Benedikt Tomas Mohelnik (Provincial Bohemia), fr. Anto Gavric (Provincial, Croatia), fr. José Manuel Valente da Silva Nunes (Provincial, Portugal), fr. Miguel de Burgos Nunez (Provincial, Betica), fr. Bernard M. Vocking (Provincial, Netherland), fr. Patrick Lucey (Provincial, Ireland), fr. Marcel Braekers (Provincial, Flandria), fr. Paul Gatt (Provincial, Malta), fr. Christophe Holzer (Provincial, South Germany/Austria), fr. Didier Boillat (Provincial, Helvetia), fr. Michel Van Aerde (Vicar General, Belgium), fr. Saulius Rumsas (Vicar General, Baltica), fr. Maciej Rusiecki (Vicar General, Russia/Ukraine), fr. Reginald Adrian Slavkovsky (Provincial, Slovakia), fr. Pedro Juan Alonso Merino (Regional Vicar, Holy Rosary), fr. Paul Dominique Masiclat (Vicar Provincial, Dacia) and fr. Ivan Arzensek (Vicar Provincial, Slovenia).
The curia team was led by the Master himself, fr. Bruno Cadoré. He came with; fr. Vivian Boland (Socius for North-West Europe/Canada), fr. Wojciech Delik (Socius for Central/Eastern Europe), fr. Bernardino Prella (Socius for Italy/Malta/Iberian Peninsula), fr. Prakash Anthony Lohale (Socius for Apostolic life) and fr. Michael Mascari (Socius for Intellectual Life). The following sisters and brothers were at the assembly as translators; Sr. Marie Laetitia Youchtchenko, Sr Marie-Theo Manaud, fr. Philip McShane, fr. Leo Almazan, fr. Mario Jabares and fr. Jean-Ariel Bauza-Salinas. The task of organizing and coordinating the whole assembly rested on the secretary general of IEOP, fr. Filipe Rodrigues.
Before the reflections began, fr. Jose Manuel Valente da Silva Nunes, the provincial of Portugal welcomed all the brothers to the assembly. The current chairman of IEOP, fr. John Paul Vesco also welcomed everyone especially the new provincials. Papers were delivered by different brothers on different issues relating to the main theme of the assembly. On the first day, fr. Bento Domingues set the balls rolling with a reflection on the question, “What is Modernity?”. Later that same day, Bros. Francesco La Vecchia, Saulius Rumsas and Benedikt Mohelnik gave different accounts of the challenges of post-modernity to evangelization in their different entities.
The Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré started-off the 2nd day of the assembly with a presentation on the topic, “The Challenges of the New Evangelization in the Heart of the Mission of the Order”. This was followed by a debate among the brothers after which the Master gave the brothers an update on happenings in the Order; the changes in the curia, the new developments from the internet, the new website and IDI, the changes in the institutes under the Master, the preparations for the next general chapter and the Jubilee of the Order. Later that same day, the Master celebrated the Holy Eucharist to mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Portuguese Province.
On the 3rd day of the assembly, there was a workshop on the challenges of post-modernity on initial formation and the intellectual life of the Order in general. To spices up the debate, frs. Vivian Boland, Gilbert Narcisse, Michel Van Arde, Miguel de Burgos and Michael Mascari all made beautiful presentations. During the sharing, the brothers expressed common concerns from their different provinces; the lack of vocation and the lack of desire for assiduous studies were prominent. There was a call for a common direction in the intellectual formation of the brothers since we share a common intellectual life. The collaboration between the provinces in the form of student exchange was commended and encouraged. In formation, Thomism is part of our tradition, however, we need a common and consistent understanding of Thomism today. In our quest to live a common life, there is still the danger of individuality and diversity even within a province or a community. The brothers all agreed that indeed, we are a universal Order and this must always reflect in our formation.
The last day of the assembly was a more relaxed one. The brothers reflected on; economic matters, the conduct of the assembly and next assembly. It was decided that the next IEOP assembly will be in Mainz, Germany from the 2 to 6 April, 2013 and the brothers will reflect on the documents of Vatican II on religious life.
The assembly was not just for academic reflections and debates. In between the papers and workshops, the brothers had the opportunity for excursions to interesting places to soothe their nerves. They also had good food and rest throughout the assembly. They unanimously acknowledged the fact that the assembly was well organized and they thank fr. Filipe Rodrigues and the host province. Brothers were happy with the presence and input of the Master and the representation from the curia. To end it all, the brothers paid a courtesy call to the Patriarch of Lisbon, José Cardinal Policarpo.