On Saturday evening 15 February, people of the faith community of Sint Kwinten came together to share their dreams for the future of our community and to speak about their current participation in its concrete life.
First of all, we were seated at a richly filled table, where we enjoyed a delicious meal of chili con carne or chili sin carne with rice and a salad. And, during our conversations that followed, we were spoiled by the now well-known fruit salad made by the cooking team.
Then Joseph’s dream, found in Genesis (28,10-16), was read and provided with a short commentary. In this way we learned that, if you add up all the dreams and visions recorded in the Bible, as well as the action that results from them, you come to a third of the Scriptures. An encouraging verse was certainly verse 15-17:
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
- The Eucharist, daily but especially on Sundays, is celebrated with the active participation of the entire community. The presence of many young people and families with children is especially pleasing to many and helps them enter into prayer.
- The weekly Eucharistic Adoration, with the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is for many an oasis of peace and a moment to receive reconciliation. It was noted that many young people make use of this sacrament on Tuesdays.
- Feeling welcome: receiving a welcoming word and the song booklet at the door of the church, a short conversation, a smile, a handshake…
- Following the Eucharist, there is always the possibility to meet each other during hospitality. In this way new people get the chance to get to know others, and sometimes very strong friendships are formed here.
Several people literally said: “We have found a home here, we are at home here, we are welcome here.”
The discussion then turned to the issue that, while a lot is indeed offered by the community, this is for the most part offered by a small group of volunteers. For instance, one might ask oneself what it is that the community is doing to reach new people. But isn’t the question rather: What do I do to invite people? Do I dare to address people in my own family, circle of friends, co-workers, or rather am I ashamed to express myself as a Christian?
It was also noted that, in the past, many more volunteers did participate in our various activities: distributing flyers at the station at the start of the academic year and flyers at the Friday market to promote the pilgrimage, helping with Corpus Christi, singing at the Christmas market…
Also discussed were activities for the children. It was agreed that the St. Martin procession is very successful. Proposals were made for a Way of the Cross adapted for and by children during Lent but also activities at other times, such as Advent, Candlemas…. Also a proposal to involve children more during Sunday Eucharist: bringing up the offertory gifts and candles, songs led by the children.
Adult faith formation was also discussed. In addition to the RCIA, which has a specific task, namely, the formation and support of adults who request baptism and/or confirmation, there is also the need to meet on a regular basis for faith formation of those who are already following RCIA but also fellow believers of our own community. A proposal was made to meet once a month in the Sint-Kwintenshuis. To prepare and lead this, a working group was set up. They will work closely with those who lead RCIA and make agreements about, among other things, a training program that is more structured and adapted to the background of the candidates.
We plan to meet again in six weeks (the date is still to be set) to concretize the various proposals as well as discuss ways to engage more volunteers.
Do not be afraid to pound the streets, to enter every corner of society, to reach the outskirts of the city, to touch the wounds of our people.
Pope Francis, 14 Feb. 2020