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The General Council at St. Peter’s Tomb

03/07/2009: General House - Photo gallery

On June 20, 2009, the Church celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Surely hers was a new heart that would leave its gracious stamp upon future centuries. On the same date, the entire General Council traveled to the Vatican where, at Saint Peter’s tomb, they gave thanks to God for the eight years of work and leadership which they have experienced as a community during their tenure.

The Eucharist took place within the Clementine Chapel which is built precisely above the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle. Within the chapel is kept an object called the “Trophy,” the object used to symbolize the victory of faith. The first reference to the burial of Saint Peter is found in the words of a priest named Gaius. Writing during the pontificate of Pope Zephyrinus, l98 to 217, Gaius states, “I can show you the trophies of the apostles (Peter and Paul). Then if you wish to go to the Vatican or the Via Ostia, you will see the trophies of those who founded the Church (of Rome).” For their part, the General Councilors took the road to the Vatican to encounter Peter.

Based on the theme of thanksgiving, the Mass offered continuous references to the Institute as represented in its Brothers and its works. Through their desire to be in communion with Peter, the Councilors wished also to make clear the unity that obtains within the diversity of the Institute, open as it is to all the dioceses of the world.

Through its continuous appeals to the heart and to mission, the Council’s tenure has given flesh to the expression, “a heart that knows no bounds.” Now we are on the road to a “new heart for a new world,” as expressed in the motto which is guiding us on our way to the XXI General Chapter.

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