Reception of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti by the Dominican Family in Latin America and the Caribbean

In order to facilitate communication among the entities, to promote dialogue on themes of common interest and to support the ongoing formation of the Dominican Family in Latin America and the Caribbean, the coordination team of the Interprovincial Conference of Dominicans of Latin America and the Caribbean (CIDALC) organised an online colloquium on the reception of the encyclical Fratelli Tutti on December 4, 2020, at 4:00 pm in Lima, Peru. Sisters, nuns, lay people and friars of the Dominican Family from all over Latin America and the Caribbean participated in this meeting. According to data from the different social media platforms, the event was viewed more than 2,000 times.

As we know, Fratelli Tuttiis the third encyclical of Pope Francis’ pontificate and in it he calls on all humanity to discover in love a force that should transform international relations, politics, economy and culture.

The meeting began with a word of welcome from fr. Luis Javier Rubio, O.P., Socius of the Master of the Order for Latin America and the Caribbean, and President of CIDALC. He stressed the importance of organizing events like this, in which, as a Dominican family, we can reflect and dream about our future as sons and daughters of St. Dominic de Guzman in this part of the world. After the welcome and the exhortation to work together, everyone recited the prayer of the meeting prepared by Sr. Adriana Colombres, from the monastery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

After the prayer and the presentation of the speakers, Sr. Genoveva Saénz Quispe, DIC, began her intervention with a biblical reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan and the merciful dimension expressed in the Gospel according to St. Luke, the text which inspired the Pope to write this encyclical. Sr. Genoveva explained what this Samaritan dimension represents for the Dominican sisters of Latin America and in general for the Dominican family in this time of pandemic, a way of being attentive to the needs of our suffering brothers who are left by the wayside.

Brother Gonzalo Ituarte Verduzco, O.P., a friar of the Province of Mexico, was the second speaker. He invited us to renew our commitment to the search for truth, reminding us that this is our motto. However, he added that it should not be our sword, that is, we have to make an intellectual itinerancy as Dominicans. Thus, leaving our securities, we may discover and enrich ourselves with truths found in other cultures and other religions in order to build more inclusive and supportive societies, as Fratelli Tutti encourages us. And this is a great task for the Order which is called to proclaim the Gospel in the four corners of the world. He also recalled part of our history and the invitation made by various General Chapters to assume this task.

The third lecture was given by Dr. Jelson Oliveira, a lay Dominican from Brazil. Dr. Jelson began by asking for prayers for the thousands of people who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic revealed great inequalities in Latin America in the fields of health, education, media, and others. He therefore asked all the branches of the Order to make not only an intellectual effort to understand the world in which we live, but also a concrete effort to participate, with compassion, in the transformation of this world into the Kingdom of God. This is through political actions that go beyond confrontations between left and right and seek authentic human development.

After the main presentations, the moderator of the event introduced to the Dominican family of the region the new members of the General Curia, who would collaborate in the task of the Master of the Order, Br. Gerard Timoner, O.P., to foster the development of the Order: Br. Florentino Bolo O.P., of the Province of the Philippines, who is now the Socius for Apostolic Life; Br. Juan Ubaldo López Salamanca O.P., of the Province of St. Louis Bertrand in Colombia, the new Promoter General of the Dominican Laity; and Br. Fernando García O.P., of the Province of Mexico, the new Promoter General of the Nuns of the Order. Each took the floor to explain their new role and expectations as they begin their new ministry.

After the presentations, comments were shared by members of the different entities of the Dominican family: Marianella Parra Montero, a lay Dominican woman from Peru who is also a Doctor of Civil Law; Br. Kleyver José García O.P., Vicar Provincial of Venezuela; and Br. Edgar Rubén Olmedo O.P., from Paraguay. Br. Fernando Delgado O.P., from the Vice-Province of Bolivia and Secretary of CIDALC, then spoke about the reception of the Encyclical in the Dominican family of his country. All of them underlined the importance of the organisation of the meeting and the serious task to be carried out by members of the Dominican family. There is the challenge to put into practice in each nation the main pastoral orientations contained in the document, with special attention to those who find themselves in a marginal situation: the poor, women, migrants, etc.

Br. Carlos Cáceres O.P., Provincial of Central America, presented a summary of the lectures, underlining their main theological, spiritual and pastoral lines in relation to the tasks that the Dominican family faces today in the region.

In conclusion, Br. Diego Orlando Serna O.P., Provincial of Colombia, invited the participants to join in thanking the organizers of the event through a moment of prayer and a blessing in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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