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EUF - Provincial Conference: Towards an "Affiche Confer"


Only in French, you say! Affiche Confer is the motto used by the EUF Province to describe what they wanted to achieve at a Conference, held at Clairefontaine from March 19 to 21. The new Provincial, Fr. Jean-Jacques Flammang, had called together the members of the EUF Province to have a look together at their mission in the three francophone countries. Forty members listened to the call, with representatives of the eleven communities. The title of the Conference expressed what was their goal: Education towards dehonian values for a new evangelization in Western societies. The Province wants to respond better in its life and its works to the secular context of France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Affiche Confer was a plea to better explain, better understand, the present situation and to get to the core of what needs to be done.

It was an honest discussion – in many ways a continuation of the European Conference on Secularity held in the same house with delegates from all the European entities in October of last year.

P1020156With the meaning of faith itself at stake, with the experience of the disenchantment of the world, the process of dechristianization and a generalized disaffection with the Church as an institution in these countries, what form ought the “new evangelization” take, or better, how ought dehonians enter into the fray for the future of Europe? Although no ground-breaking decisions were made, the EUF Province entered into a process whose practical consequences ought to become more and more clear as time passes.

As Fr. Jean-Jacques Flammang said in his introduction – in his first such conference as the new Provincial: “We still have five large houses in our Province. To my mind they are essential if we wish to want to serve the Church as an apostolic, religious community… Out of them we can live out what makes us Dehonians: a spiritual and pastoral commitment which is at the same time social and cultural.”

One conclusion, drawn at the end of the second day, was to live more intensely the P1020162charism of Fr. Dehon and the spirituality of heart of Christ as one of the avenues that the Province might take as a counterweight to the dearth of the spiritual in Europe’s dominant secularity.