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Circular convoking the 21st General Chapter

07/09/2008: General House

«At 9:00 AM on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, members of our 21st General Chapter will gather at the General House in Rome to begin their work. This starting date, the feast of the birth of Mary, and location were fixed by members of the General Council»

Such are the words with which Brother Superior General starts off the Circular in which he officially initiates the preparatory stage which will lead up to the 21st General charter.

This Circular is divided into three sections.

The first includes a general introduction followed by a brief history of Marist Chapters and some General Conferences held during the years following Vatican II. A discussion about the social and religious context in which the work of these meetings took place is included as well as an analysis of the factors in both areas that may have a bearing on our upcoming Chapter. This section include: a word about the renewal of Marist life and mission and the important place of discernment in that process, mention of several specific challenges that we face as an Institute today.

The second part of the text is more technical in nature and includes information about the structure and purpose of a General Chapter, the process to be used for the election of delegates and their substitutes, and those Chapter responsibilities that fall to provinces and districts.
The second part concludes with words that serve as a kind of invitation to advance towards the General Chapter as if walking side by side on a pilgrimage.

As he brings the Circular to a close, the Superior General stops to look back over the past, but, even more, he has us look to the future, to that place where God desires us to be:

“I find myself looking back over the past seven years and being thankful for God’s grace at every step along the way. I realize also that what has been accomplished would not have been possible were it not for your generosity and support. These have been rich years nurtured by God’s grace.

I am convinced that were Marcellin Champagnat alive today, he would encounter Jean Baptiste Montagne in sufficient numbers to convince him to found an Institute of brothers dedicated to making Jesus Christ known and loved among poor children and young people. I am convinced, too, that as he took up that project he would challenge us his brothers to re-imagine consecrated life for our day and age, a consecrate life that included the old-fashion virtues of sacrifice, dedication, and self-transcendence above putting our needs first and settling for comfort and complacency. He would caution us, too, against the perils of professionalism and encourage us instead to become disciples of the Lord, proclaimers of his Word, brothers to the poor children and young people we have been called to serve. Reclaim the passion that first ignited your vocation he would say. Well aware that his charism belonged neither to him nor to us but rather to the Church, he would be at home with the Marist partnership movement that is growing in so many places across our world and encourage us to work together with our sisters and brothers in that movement to support one another in our respective vocations”.

Text of the Circular

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