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Revision of the Constitutions - Second Draft

 

February 2017

Revision of the Constitutions

Download PDF - Second Draft (1 MB): English | Español | Français | Português
Questions PDF (400 kb) - English | Español | Français | Português
Download InDesign - ZIP (60 MB)

 

The attached document has been prepared to consult you regarding the second draft of our Constitutions.  This time, you have the complete text with all the intended Chapters for the Constitutions and Statutes.

As we shall explain further on, the consultation on the first draft confirmed the proposal to simplify the Constitutions, retaining everything required by Canon Law, and to produce a complementary text containing items that go beyond such canonical requirements.  The limited time available to us means that we are only able to present here the complete text of the Constitutions and Statutes.

During the months that the consultation is proceeding, the Commission will continue its work on the complementary text (what we called the “Rule of Life” in the first draft). Our intention is to present this text directly to the Chapter as a working document.  Finally, in the light of this new consultation, a third draft of the Constitutions and Statutes will be prepared during the months of July and August.

 

HOW TO WORK ON THIS SECOND DRAFT

Having the full text available makes it possible to have an overall view of it and hence to see how it all holds together.  We are aware, however, that the work of reviewing the whole text could be tedious and that this could spoil the quality of inputs. So, we recommend that Provincial Councils work out which commissions of groups are best situated to work on the various chapters, based on their area of competence or work (as formators, bursars, Provincial Council etc.).

In concrete terms, we invite communities and other groups of brothers and laypeople who want to contribute, to focus on Chapter 3 which integrates community, spirituality and ministry.  This Chapter contains the basic features of daily Marist life (corresponding to Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the present text).

At the end of this introduction, we make a simple proposal on how to proceed: (1) a prayerful moment of 30 minutes at the start for the community or group to welcome the new text; (2) after some days of personal work on the questions and the text, (3) a community meeting to share each one’s thoughts and to contribute together to the third Chapter.

All the other Chapters are available for personal study.  Each person can send in suggestions, using a pdf copy of the consultation sheet and sending it by email to const@fms.it before 15 June 2017.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND DRAFT

The text that we are submitting for your consideration was worked on in the light of the first consultation, “Stories around the fire” (February – September 2015) and suggestions made on the first draft (May – September 2016).
First of all, we want to express our gratitude for the quantity and quality of the suggestions we received.  We believe that a good number of Brothers and Communities, together with laypeople, have made a significant contribution to the text revision.  Besides the content, such effort and dedication is one more expression of profound love for Marist life and the charism of St Marcellin Champagnat.

In the last consultation, we received 237 reports, i.e. the equivalent of one for every 12 brothers.  By language – 50 in English, 118 on Spanish, 209 in French, and 40 in Portuguese.  The score regarding proposals on a scale of 5 regarding agreement or satisfaction was consistently greater than 4.02 (which corresponds to the question about returning to our original name).  Similarly, the consultation showed a high level of acceptance of the proposal to have three complementary texts (Rule of Life + Constitutions + Statutes), with an average score of 4.23.  The proposal that received the highest Support was the one to reduce the number of Chapters by combining related items (4.93).

Besides the consultation inputs, we have benefitted greatly from the International Council for Financial Affairs and the Secretariat for Mission for the topic of Government and the Administration of Material Goods (Chapter 5, of the new text).

 

This second draft is a text divided into 5 Chapters:

1.  Our Institute of Religious Brothers (identity, nature and purpose), with 10 articles. 2. Our way of Being as Brothers (consecration and vows), with 19 articles. 3. Our life as Brothers (fraternity, prayer and ministry), with 30 articles.4. Our life journey as Brothers (belonging), with 26 articles. 5. Our organisation as Brothers (government and administration), with 45 articles.
This time, the revision commission has focussed its attention on the final three Chapters. In the first two, only the articles that received a large number of suggestions in the consultation have been modified. In the third draft, use will be made of other contributions that have not yet been able to be taken into account.  Spanish is the original of Chapters 2,3, and 5 while English is the original of Chapters 1 and 4.

a) Our Institute of Religious Brothers (Chapter 1) and Our way of Being as Brothers (Chapter 2) – Identity and Consecration -
These two Chapters were presented in the first draft, and hence we can refer back to what was written to introduce them.

b) Our life as Brothers (Chapter 3) – fraternity, spirituality, mission -
In the third Chapter, we have tried to offer an integrated perspective on our daily living.  We are called to live fraternity, spirituality and mission harmoniously and not as superimposed pieces (Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the current text).  For example, in our prayer, we are not just expressing our spirituality, but rather in many ways living our fraternity and the apostolic aspect of our lives.  Likewise for the all the moments that frame our daily lives.
Compared to the current text, what remains can be seen to have shed a good number of articles to the complementary text – what we have called so far “Rule of Life”.  The content of the new text becomes quite inspirational and fits perfectly with its purpose.

c) Our life journey as Brothers (Chapter 4) – formation, profession and belonging –
Here we deal with Chapters 6, 7, and 8  (and part of 11) of the current text.  It brings together the key moments that mark the life journey of Brothers, beginning with formation, continuing through profession, vows and, as the case may be, leaving the Institute.  What is finally approved will determine the next revision of the Formation Guide.

d) Our organisation as Brothers (Chapter 5) – government and administration -
Finally we brought together in this Chapter the material of Chapters 9 and 10 of the current text, in the hope of bringing out the unity of government and service. Following the general principles and standard ítems, the general, provincial and community levels are treated.  Many particular directives for the governance and management of apostolic works have been displaced to norms to be elaborated later.

In regard to the roll-out of new ways of animating, managing and governing in mission, the text is more exact in confirming the possibility of delegation of authority and roles to other Province groups or juridical entities.  No unique concrete structure is proposed, precisely to enable further refining of these instruments to our real context and experience we are gaining.
“Regionalisation” appears with greater clarity as an association of Provinces and Districts.  Also, provision is made for a new arrangement to allow for the union of two or more Units to create a single new Province, maintaining a degree of internal demarcation.  The former Units would be converted into Vice-Provinces and have statutes similar to those of a District.  This latter arrangement is an intermediate possibility between complete fusion and ordinary regional association.

With respect to laypeople, the text repeatedly acknowledges their presence and commitment to our mission at all levels; their desire to walk alongside Brothers in the evolution of Marist life is highlighted.  For those who want to formalise some form of commitment to the Marist charism through their connection with the Institute, provision is made for personal promises.  Also, lay associations, on their request, can be recognised by Provinces as expressions of the Marist charism. The ongoing development of these possibilities is still under study.


Three concluding remarks

(1) The new text contains only internal citations or canon law; but the final text will be enriched with other external references.
(2) We have synthesized the articles dedicated to the school because in 1986 we did not have an official document as "In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat", which develops in greater depth what the Constitutions only initiated.
(3) The numbering of the articles is provisional. The first digit indicates the chapter.

 

Conclusion

We conclude this introduction thanking once again so many brothers and lay people for your participation and interest in collaborating in this revision of basic institutional texts.  We encourage you to do the same with this consultation, alert to a spirit of fidelity to what is essential and which opens the pathway to our future.  Work in the Provinces and Districts will take place during Lent and Easter time, the heart of the Liturgical year.  Such a co-incidence can inspire us to live out our charism and vocation as a real-life embodiment of the Gospel and of the Christian life it arouses in all its diversity.

 

PROPOSAL FOR FRATERNAL DIALOGUE ABOUT THE TEXT

A. PRAYER MOMENT TO START (30’)
(Suggestion: a song, psalm or hymn; Jn 15, 9–15; a ritual of welcoming the text; personal reflection and prayer of the faithful; prayers for the General Chapter).

B. PERSONAL READING AND REFLECTION TIME (around two weeks)
Some questions for personal reflection and group sharing: * Recall and contemplate a period in my life when I lived fraternity, spirituality, and mission (community, prayer, apostolate) most with balance and harmony. * What can I learn from this experience? * What phrases or articles of the proposed Constitutions best reflect my experience of a balanced Marist life? * Which ones are less so?  *Personal reflections on one or other article ….

C. COMMUNITY SHARING
Opening Prayer (5’)
(Suggestion: a song; Mic 6, 8; a psalm or hymn)

Fraternal Dialogue

  1. Share the time we lived the three aspects of our Marist life – fraternity, spirituality, and mission – in easy harmony.
  2. What do we notice and what can we learn from these shared experiences?
  3. Comments on the text:

* Which articles or phrases best connect with our best experiences of a balanced Marist life?  * Which articles or phrases are least connected?     *Suggestions and comments from the whole group on one or other article.
(appoint a secretary to collect the comments, complete the pdf form and send it by email to const@fms.it before the 15th June 2017).

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