CLC-USA Leadership Assembly
“Will you come and follow me If I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known? Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?”
Do you, those attended the 4th CLC-USA Leadership Assembly at Gilmary Center, remember the song “The Summons” above? This song was sung during the Friday Mass and again on Sunday Eurcharist. Words in that song touched me so much. I felt like God was talking to me: “Huong, you’re here at the Pittsburgh Leadership Assembly (LA). You’re here even though you don’t know any other CLC-USA communities other than your Dong Hanh community and never be the same.” Yes! The graces of the LA were overwhelming for me (and my husband too). Reflecting back to those 3 days I think we all let God’s love be shown to each other, we all let His name be known through the way we communicated with each other, and We all let His life be grown in us and We in Him.
Two weeks before the Assembly, I felt very desolated because of my lack of knowledge about the CLC Re-structure. I was worried what would happen to our Dong Hanh family in this reorganization process. Thank you God for the discernment and send forth process we had 2 weeks before going to Pitts LA and also all homework documents to read. The preparation helped me open my mind and heart and truly surrender to all that would happen the whole weekend.
I came to the LA with my husband, Ân Mai. This was our first time attending the CLC-USA LA. Both of us were sent by our Dong Hanh Midwest Region. Ân represented the Midwest Formation Team and I represented Midwest Leadership Team. Despite all the business and activities that we both had been involved in the last 4 weekends in a row, we felt called, discerned, and then were sent forth. My eyes were opened wide and each day I gradually felt a little more at ease. My heart filled with love and CLC friendship. “This gathering is beyond human wisdom. CLC exists not by the will of itself but by the grace of God.” I recall Liem’s words on Thursday evening’s welcome which was in the “Note of The Day” by Sophie.
Kim Anh, as the Guide for the LA, linking and making the transition from one session to another also help me focus and be more aware of what was going on, be more open to the inner movement, and to have total interior freedom. She also remarked that we will join the “Working Group” and begin the discernment process in this LA.
Friday Morning prayer grace: “to better follow Christ as a body as we seek to discern a framework for the “new way of being together” in CLC-USA helped me set a faithful tone for the day. The Working Group helped all of us enter into communal discernment with our small groups. We shared and reflected our feeling, listened to each other’s input. We embraced the journey to fully live CLC vocation and we put our trust and leave our new body to the flow of the Holy Spirit.
Through the discernment process on Friday and Saturday, I felt consolation in knowing that other CLC communities do support our concern of including Dong Hanh groups in Canada, Belgium, and Germany in the process of future reorganization. I do feel God’s love and caring for his Dong Hanh children through what had happened in 2004, CLC-USA opened the door for Dong Hanh members to step in. In the future, Dong Hanh-CLC can, in some ways, bring life into our CLC-USA family through MRW, SEED program for youth and children, Light Work, and any other activities because Dong Hanh is part of the Organic CLC-USA body.
“Pittsburgh by Night” was a blast. Sophie did a wonderful job organizing it. Magali and Tammy were great MC’s for the night. The atmosphere helped shy people like my husband and myself step out of our “comfort zone” to move right into the skit with the group. The “Rapping Group” and the “Old Timer CLC” gave a big laugh to everyone watching. I feel that everyone was LIVING THE PRESENT MOMENT WITH LOVE AND WITH LAUGHTER. Some of us “performing STARS” still felt the laughing the next morning. We suggested to each other to bring our nationality costume for Pittsburgh by Night next year and requested the “Old Timer CLC” group to return next year with the “Old Timer CLC, part 2” with “upgrade technology”.
It’s so fortunate that, on Sunday after the LA ended, Carol Gonzalez—resident of Pittsburgh--- gave the six of us (Jeanne,Tammy, Tuyến, Sophie, Ân, and Hương) a sight seeing scenic tour over the beautiful Pittsburgh river and bridges. Carol guided us to a special, favorite part of town decorated by a great artist named Randy. It’s amazed how he turned old, unwanted items or materials into great display artistically. During this short sight seeing tour, all of us were so touched through Carol’s story and how Carol and her husband live and serve social justice for her neighbor community. I am thankful to get to know Carol and her husband Henry. I sensed the love of God truly present in them.
A week has passed since the LA but in my mind still remains the pictures of the graces in Pittsburgh. I still feel the closeness of all the faces present there, especially those I did not know at first. I am so thankful for this opportunity to be at this LA. Thank you Dong Hanh Midwest Region and National Dong Hanh for all of your send forth and support. Thank you Lord for leading my family (include my daughter’s family Hoang Dzung, her husband Thai-Son Tran and their children) into Dong Hanh and into CLC-USA. I wanted to use the refrain in the song “Dấu Ấn Tình Yêu---The Seal of Love” to end my sharing and express my sincere feeling for this gathering: “God of love and God of joy. You fill my heart with hope and praise. God of love, My hands can’t hold the gifts you give me all my days”
Hương and Ân Mai
Dong Hanh Midwest Region