by Vicky Otto, Companions Co-director

Companions throughout both Provinces have been interested in the ongoing discussions that the members have had regarding envisioning the future for the community. In February, Companions throughout the Kansas City Province were invited to enter into the conversations to offer their input on what authentic community living means to them as well as envisioning what the fullest participation of Companions in communal life and apostolic work may look like. This information gathered from the Companion groups will be incorporated into the final report that will be presented at the Community Life Symposium in Rome in July.

Utilizing the same materials that the members were given the Companions shared positive experiences about what authentic community living means to them. Some of the common experiences shared were the experience of the respect and acceptance of thoughts and feelings, that diverse people come together offering support and care for each other, that everyone’s gifts were celebrated and that one of the most important values for authentic community was that there was always a sense that one was never alone, there was support both in good and in bad times.

The Companions embraced the idea of sharing their hopes and dreams for the community for the future and reflecting upon the readings offered by Saint Gaspar. The groups affirmed that the bond of charity that was reflected in the readings must be the cornerstone of any action into the future. Groups discussed that it is important to embrace the future in whatever aspect it may take to make something new, not to reconstruct their vision of what the Church or community was like in the past.

The Companions unanimously agreed that the future must include lay people and members working together in apostolic works. Everyone also agreed that the as we move into the future we need to support new visions and be creative about what community may look like ensuring that all the different sites of apostolic work throughout the Province were embraced.

The Companion groups in the Province will continue to participate in the four planned conversations over the next several months leading up to the Provincial Assembly in June.