Day 7 of the Plenary Council 2023

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Day 7 of the Plenary Council 2023
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The better part of the seventh day of the Plenary Council was spent in groups with the aim of finalizing on the pending work that they started dealing with last week. Among the things that members looked at today include the recognition and appreciation of the “Art and Culture Commission” (CAC) to value and protect the SMA historical and cultural heritage (Art objects and documents).

The 21members affirmatively voted for the text while maintaining that MIM-Lyon becomes the center of coordination and protection of historical and cultural artifacts in Europe. At the same time the CAC commission will establish an inventory of the artifacts in each Unit before the end of June 2024. The Plenary Council gave a thumbs up for the work of the SMA-OLA Commission on Common Spiritual patrimony whose fruit is documented in the “Roots and Branches «booklet which is an important contribution to understanding the history of the two Institutes and their charism. With a proposed timetable of activities toward the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Augustine Planque, 150th anniversary of the Foundation of OLA Sisters and the 170th Anniversary of the SMA, the document was considered a vital working document toward the 2025 General Assembly. With regard to associate priests, the SMA sees their participation as a service to the home and host Churches. They argued that by exercising its missionary vocation in this way, the SMA makes itself better known to various local Churches. A diocesan priest is officially accepted as an Associate of the SMA after a contract of a minimum of three years is drawn up has to be signed by the SMA Superior concerned, the priest’s Bishop and the priest himself. In case of any eventuality, one of the three parties to this contract may terminate it after duly notifying (at least three months before the proposed date) the other two parties. The associate priest is under the authority of the Unit Superior of origin and willfully participates in the apostolic work of the SMA under the responsibility of the Superior of the Unit of work. He has the right to participate directly indecision-making concerning the apostolate for which he is appointed. For his participation in the internal life of the SMA, the norms governing the Societies of Apostolic Life will be followed. The document was equally unanimously voted for. Last but not least, the question of retirement was revisited. As was mentioned in the previous article, there are two forms of retirement funds: Central Retirement Fund (managed by the Generalate) and Local Retirement Fund (managed by each Unit). Among the new units, at the request of the Province of Poland, their contribution to the existing retirement fund (2014 till 2023) will be paid back to the province in the first quarter of 2024. As a result, they are not going to be considered as beneficiaries of the two funds. Unlike the other documents, 20 members voted in the affirmative and one member abstained and this is how the seventh day of the PC 2023 came to a close.

                                           By Dominic Wabwireh, SMA

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