By Anne Walsh
The Edmonton-Toronto Commission for Partnership in Mission met at 426 St. Germain Ave. in Toronto on the weekend of January 5-7, 2018. This early January meeting time has become the common practice of the PIM Commission in this quadriennium and, although the Canadian winter does its best to challenge us, we have proved ourselves up to the challenge!
The members gathered throughout the afternoon and evening on Friday, January 5, with Anne Walsh and Fr. Remi Hebert making airport runs and the community at 426 – and also St. Patrick’s, where two members were welcomed – rolling out the red carpet and offering hospitality. We spent the evening doing that best of all community-builders – socializing as we prepared together the food that would nourish our bodies while our gathering, conversation and prayer would nourish soul and spirit.
The members of the PIM Commission are: Anne Walsh and Fr. Remi Hebert (Co-Chairs), Margie Jansen (St. John’s), Jane Donohue-Logan (Saint John), Heather Chalmers (Toronto), Lynda Browning (Saskatoon), Jeannie Pernal (Grande Prairie), Bertilla Watanabe (Vancouver), and Fr. David Louch. Heather and Jeannie were unable to be present, and so Fr. Ed Eherer jumped into the breach. Despite his busy schedule, our Provincial, Fr. Mark Miller, was with us for the entire weekend. Once again, Margie Jansen served as recording secretary, and provided us with an excellent record of our time together and the work we accomplished, and her action plan has enough items to keep us busy until next January!
During the meetings on Saturday and Sunday, we engaged in some study, some prayer, some planning, and some relaxing. In addition to the major items on the agenda, we explored Communicanda 1 together, and studied the results of a recent study of the experience of religious communities and their associates in North America. (Did you know that there are 57,000 Associates of religious communities in North America?) We heard from each circle of Redemptorist Associates – St John’s, Saint John, Saskatoon, Grande Prairie and Vancouver. Flowing from this sharing, we looked at responding to some emerging needs, and discussed how best to encourage and support the new circle of Associates in Vancouver. We then turned our attention to exploring ways of encouraging and supporting the rejuvenation of the Toronto circle of Redemptorist Associates. We discussed how we will interact with the other CSsR units of North America as now every unit in the Redemptorist Conference of North America is committed to establishing a v/Provincial commission to coordinate efforts in partnership in Mission, and building and resourcing circles of Redemptorist Associates.
Our Saturday evening social was enlivened by an informal and unplanned story-telling session with Brother Raymond, which featured plenty of audience participation! Our cooking session on Friday evening had yielded plenty of snacks for the gathering, and Newfoundland chocolate appeared from an unknown source (? Margie?).
Our Sunday morning celebration of the Eucharist brought it all together for us, and sent us back in mission to the most abandoned across our province.
Our weekend of meeting was very productive! It was also very enlivening and enriching and fun. We are privileged – not many groups can say that about their meetings. Thanks to everybody who attended for a weekend well-spent! And thanks to all the rest of you for your support, prayers and collaboration!