FOUR international engagements – Germany, Australia and the Pacific, Vienna and Berlin – greeted Bukal team at the very first quarter of this year 2016. The first week of January was blessed with an informal meeting of the team with two members of the Hildesheim Local Church Development team Fr. Dr. Christian Hennecke, the pastoral director of the diocese and Ms. Gabriele Viecens, also a member of the national coordinating team of Local Church Development in Germany about inspiring and challenging processes happening among the German dioceses. Likewise, they shared with us about two more books they are writing (one just came out recently) and published in Germany which includes also Bukal programs and the different ways Bukal has been part of the journey of the German dioceses the past years. Already, Bukal has been mentioned in three of the books on local church development that Fr. Hennecke, a theologian, has written in recent years.
The second week of January was a very joyful and learning week for Bukal team members Estela and Aleli as they facilitated a cross-cultural leadership conference for the members of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of Australia, together with their sisters from Kiribati, Japan and the Philippines. Estela and Aleli adapted and worked on a new cross-cultural leadership paradigm which can be used as a framework, as well as a planning tool. They are excited to share it with others!
From Jan.19 – Feb.4, the members of the archdiocesan pastoral team of Vienna, in Austria, together with their Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop and pastoral director, 8 parish priests and 6 lay people, participated in Bukal course on Orientation to a Participatory Church, which it regularly gives to German and German-speaking dioceses since 2008. The Vienna group is the 13th batch and this Feb.24-Mar 9 is the 14th batch, this time, priests from Berlin. The Vienna team is Bukal’s first Austrian diocese and the two-week course was very touching for Bukal and its partner diocese – Archdiocese of Jaro – the site for the BEC exposure, especially as the pastoral director talked about the many miracles that happened to their team because of this visit. We hope the same for the Berlin batch of priests!
International engagements are really very challenging for the team, extending their capacities and learnings, but also their joy in having a multi-cultural community of partners in moving towards a participatory church in the world. God be praised!