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First Meeting of the Provincial's Reference Persons for Brussels Office

About 20 members of the St John of God Family met for the first time in Rome on 5 June, 2012 as the “reference persons” – or Provincial Representatives – for the Order's Office in Brussels. They also included the new Superior General of the Sisters Hospitallers, Sister Anabela Moreira G. Carneiro, accompanied by Sister Matilde Porras. It was also attended by the Members of the Order's Europe Commission, to which the Brussels Office belongs.

The meeting was opened by the Prior General. In his welcome address, Brother Donatus Forkan emphasised the great importance of this Office for improving cooperation between the European Provinces.

Brother Rudolf Knopp, the First General Councillor, explained the purpose and the function of the Office, mainly based on the resolutions adopted by the 2011 Europe Regional Conference in Dublin.

The office Director, Carlo Galasso, reported on what had been done so far, and spoke of its future projects. He emphasised in particular the need for the Provinces to be realistic about their expectations of the Office, and its possibilities.

The Representatives of the Provinces were then given the possibility to make requests and express their expectations of this Office.

The Members' attention was also drawn to the two congresses that the Order would be convening shortly at the European level:

–        the Congress on Disabilities of Straubing/Germany, 26-28 June, 2012, http://www.partizipation2012-straubing.de, with simultaneous interpreting in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Polish.

–        the AFaR Congress (Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca) in Brescia/Italy, 10-12 September, 2012 on "Active Ageing: http://www.afar.it.

with simultaneous interpreting in Italian and English.

The following conclusions emerged from the meeting:

Ø      Communications between the European Provinces had to be stepped up so that everyone is better aware of the activities and projects currently in progress in every individual area. This would demand closer cooperation between the Provinces.

Ø      The Provinces were very interested in finding out the programmes which the EU were currently supporting, and those that were in the pipeline.

Ø      The meeting was convinced that the Order had to do more to assert its criteria and its values in relations with the EU in Brussels (lobbying). The Church organisations in Brussels must defend Christian values and ensure that they are tangibly present in all the institutions.

Ø      The next meeting of the Provincial Representatives for the Order's Brussels Office will be in January/February 2013.




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