Fr Moïse Ndione elected “Moderator Father” of the Foyers de Charité
During the course of their general meeting at the Foyer de Charité of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (Drôme – France), the 250 delegates (priests and laity) of the 78 Foyers de Charité around the world elected the new head of the Work, who will be called “Moderator Father” from now on. At the age of 57 years, Fr Moïse Ndione (Senegal) is taking on this role for an initial term of office of four years.
This election, validated by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican), forms part of the new governance arrangements decided during this meeting by a vote.
Biography of Fr Moïse Ndione
As father of the Foyer de Charité of Cap de Biches, near Dakar, from 1997 to 2015, he became a member of the International Council of the Foyers de Charité in 2008.
Having been coordinator of the Foyer de Charité of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure since January 2016, Fr Moïse Ndione had to lay down his responsibilities to take on his new role.
“Moderator Father”, a new role
Until now, the father of the Foyer de Charité of Châteuneuf-de-Galaure (first Foyer founded in 1936 by Marthe Robin and Fr Georges Finet) was the automatically responsible for the Foyers de Charité. Fr Bernard Michon took on this responsibility from 2000 to 2016. These two roles have now been separated in order to deal more effectively with the international development of the work.
Fr Moïse Ndione was elected Moderator Father from among the member-priests of the Foyers de Charité during the general meeting of the Foyers for a term of office of 4 years, which may be renewed twice. This election was validated by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican) with which the Foyers are directly linked.
The mission of the Moderator Father is to govern the work of the Foyers de Charité in collaboration with the International Council, composed of 4 priests and 4 lay people, half of which is elected during the general meeting and the other half of which is appointed by him. He is responsible for ensuring the unity between the Foyers and represents the work before the relevant authorities.
A general meeting lasting two weeks
From 7 to 22 June, the 250 delegates (priests and laity), which represented the 78 Foyers de Charité of the world, prayed, discussed, debated, discerned and voted on the following four major objectives:
- Reviewing the past
- Restructuring the pedestal (working on the statutes of the Foyers de Charité, setting up new structures)
- Setting the guidelines for the future (defining the major spiritual and pastoral guidelines for the next four years aimed at young people and families in particular)
- Entrusting the mission (electing a Moderator Father and the International Council)
Following a vote on an amendment to certain articles of the canonical statutes it was agreed to define the distinction between the government duties of a Foyer Father (responsible for the community) and his role as a spiritual director/confessor more clearly by not allowing both roles to be held by the same person. The concept of spiritual paternity will be examined in greater depth over the next few years.
Changes to the governance of the Foyers de Charité
During this Meeting, several changes to the governance of the Foyers de Charité were passed and subsequently ratified by the Pontifical Council of the Laity.
They are the fruit of a long process of reflection initiated several years ago and which will be pursued further:
- Distinction between the role of the priest responsible for the Foyer de Charité of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure and that of the new Moderator Father of the Foyers de Charité.
- Term of office of 4 years, renewable 2 times (up to the age limit of 75 years), for the Moderator Father.
- Closer collaboration between the Moderator Father, the International Council and the Foundation Council of the Foyer de Charité (registered non-profit foundation).
- Creation of a general secretariat with a permanent operational structure composed of members from different foyers or lay people appointed by the International Council for a set period of time. This general secretariat will coordinate different areas: the mission (pastoral), finance, human resources, buildings and communications. Thierry Coustenoble, who is a lay member of the Foyers (member, until now, of the Foyer of Courset – Pas de Calais, France), was appointed general secretary.