The Fifth Ordinary General Assembly of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate took place at the Retreat Centre of the Passionist Community in Rome from 23rd to 27th January 2018. The General Assembly is the supreme consultation and decision-making body of the UAC and takes place every three years. 39 members of the Union took part, including 12 members of the General Coordination Council, 14 Presidents and Vice Presidents of National Coordination Councils, the General Secretary and General Bursar, some invited members and the members who served the working of the Assembly.The theme of the Assembly was “Communion and co-responsibility”.
Mr. Pat Maguire, President of the Irish NCC took part, as did Fr. Juan Sebastian Velasco, President of the Argentine NCC, and member of the Irish Province. Fr. Derry Murphy participated as a member of the General Coordination Council, Fr. Rory Hanly as General Secretary, Fr. Liam McClarey was one of the two moderators and Brother Stephen Buckley served as one of the translators.
At the opening Mass, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, the Rector General and Ecclesiastical Assistant of the UAC, made reference to three key words of the Pallottine charism which were central to the Assembly: communion, collaboration and co-responsibility and then outlined four aspects that can strengthen ecclesial communion among all the members of the UAC.
Fr. David Kinnear Glenday, former Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries and Secretary General of the Union of Superiors Generals (USG) presented his reflection on the theme “Communion and co-responsibility”. During the Assembly the following participants presented their reports: Miss Donatella Acerbi, the President of the General Coordination Council, the three General Superiors of the three Core Communities, the General Bursar, the General Secretary, the Presidents of the National Coordination Councils and the three invited members. The main topics examined in the Assembly were: the mission of the Union, evangelisation, family apostolate, formation, the economy of the Union, and a number of challenges of a juridical and financial nature.
The Assembly also elected the new General Coordination Council which is composed of the three ex-officio members: Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, Sr. Ivete Garlet, CSAC and Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC, and the ten elected members: Miss Donatella Acerbi – Italy, Sr. Bożena Olszewska, SAC – Poland, Fr. Jeremiah Murphy, SAC – Ireland, Miss Cheryl Sullivan – Australia, Fr. Gilberto Orsolin, SAC – Brazil, Mrs. Sonia Saldana – India, Sr. Beniamina Tropiano, CSAC – Italy, Fr. Florent Eloundou, SAC – Cameroon, Mr. Michał Grzeca – Poland, Miss Linda Barikmo – United States. Substitutes: Mrs. Rosa Colucci – Italy, Fr. Alexander Pietrzyk SAC, France, Fr. Norbert Sequeira SAC, India.
The president and vice-president will be elected during the first meeting of the new General Coordination Council.
Vincent Pallotti made a retreat in this Passionist Centre in 1829 and this is recorded in a hand-written list of retreatants which hangs on the wall of the main corridor of the retreat house; there is also a painting of St. Vincent on display there and this meant that we members of the Pallottine family felt at home there.
The Assembly concluded with a concelebrated Mass in the church of Santissimo Salvatore in Onda, the main celebrant and homilist was Fr. Rory Hanly, SAC. Msgr. Henryk Hoser, SAC, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga in Poland and Msgr. Joseph Werth, Bishop of Novosibirsk in Russia were also present.