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Visit of Fr Fernando Salas sj

The Ecclesiastical Vice Assistant to World Christian Life Community, Fr Fernando Salas sj, visited Wellington in early November, on his return to Rome from a CLC Asia-Pacific regional meeting in Manila. As Ecclesiastical Vice Assistant he is responsible for the world wide promotion and support of Christian Life Community.

Fr Salas was born in Chile and was ordained priest in 1971. One of his first missions was the defence of human rights in his country immediately after the 1973 military coup.  He was secretary to the ecumenical Comite por Paz (Committee for Peace) which was soon suppressed by General Pinochet.

At the Christian Life Community General Assembly in Itaici, Brazil, 1998, he was appointed Ecclesiastical Vice Assistant to the World Christian Life Community.  Fr. Salas is now a member of the General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

In Wellington, he met with a group of priests, religious and lay people to learn about our concerns in NZ, and to offer his vision of the riches of Ignatian spirituality for us. He emphasised that Ignatius of Loyola was a passionate man, whose encounter with God was the formative experience of his life. We too can experience and share God’s love with others, and then work together to build a more just society for all God’s daughters and sons.  This requires a commitment to developing personal talents – to becoming “competent and effective” as we engage with the world.

Fr Salas also stressed the need for regular prayer and spiritual development, and made a strong case for formation through attending retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises. He developed this theme in more depth during the weekend he spent with Loyola CLC.

CLC in New Zealand has received a huge boost through Fr Salas’ visit, and those involved have been encouraged and refreshed by the opportunity to deepen their experience and understanding of Ignatian spirituality.

During his visit, Fr Salas was interviewed for Radio New Zealand’s “Touchstone” programme, and this will be broadcast in the New Year.


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