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The Meeting of Provincial Secretaries - Arco Norte

28/11/2007: Mexico

After his appointed by the General Council as Secretary General, Br. Jean Ronzon set about fulfilling his responsibilities for the animation and formation of the Provincial Secretaries in the Institute. The formation program he had envisioned, after receiving the support of the provincials at the General Conference in Sri Lanka in September 2004, developed over the following months.

A working team was formed charged with the task of editing a Practical Handbook for the Use of Provincial Secretaries. With some additional modifications and improvements recommended by the General Council, the Practical Handbook was approved in February 2007. Regional meetings were organized where the Practical Handbook was presented to Provincial Secretaries for their review and study. It was for this reason that the Provincial Secretaries in the Arco Norte (Canada, United States, Central Mexico, Western Mexico, Central America and Norandina) met for four days in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 15th to 18th November, 2007.

While providing an opportunity for the Provincial Secretaries of these Administrative Units to come to know one another better, it was also a unique occasion for them to work together on a common project: the role and work of the Provincial Secretary. Bro. Jean Ronzon contributed much to the Practical Handbook and to the agenda which guided the meeting in Guadalajara. The meeting, announced over a year ago and followed up with successive reminders and information, had been carefully prepared in advance. With the support of all the Provincials in the Arco Norte, this Practical Handbook was offered as an avenue for better service for all.

Over the four-day meeting, the Practical Handbook, prepared by the General Secretary along with the working team that met in Rome in September 2006, was thoroughly reviewed. Every item was studied and discussed allowing time for correcting misconceptions or misunderstandings. This work left the participants with a better understanding of their role as Provinces Secretaries and the close collaboration they have with Provincials and Councils. Above all, each Province Secretary rediscovered a very important fact namely, that besides offering an important service to the province, the Provincial Secretary is also called to contribute to the overall mission of the Institute: to make Jesus known and loved.

At the close of our time together the Provincial Secretaries expressed their thanks and admiration to Br. Jean Ronzon for the dedication and attention he gave in preparing and animating the meeting. It was clear that his overriding concern was, not so much to make his own work easier, but to encourage us in the work we have been given to do in our provinces.

We owe a word of thanks also to Bro. Javier, Provincial Secretary and Bursar of the Province of Western Mexico who made our time together in Guadalajara a warm and comfortable experience. Thanks also to those who organized the welcome, transport and to those who took care of so many other details which contributed to the comfortable stay. We all felt very much at home, as in a family.

The work of the Provincial Secretary often goes unnoticed. It is hidden and often overshadowed by the many other things which go in the provincial office. Regardless, it is an important work in the life of a Province and in the Institute at large.

Gilles Hogue, fms
Secretary - Province of Canada

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