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Resources and procedure for the way

05/09/2009: General House

In reading the accounts of the history of the General Chapters held in the Institute, it can be observed that in the Chapters before Vatican Council II, much importance was given to the calling of the Chapter for the election of the superiors. In contrast, in the last Chapters the priorities have changed, and the Chapter is seen and lived as a reunion of Brothers to animate the life and mission of the institute. Preparation for the 21st Chapter has been marked by this spirit of animation.

The Initial Consultation organized by the Preparatory Commission to promote a process of personal and community discernment, with the aim of orienting the spirit and procedures of the consultation, was the point of departure for a collective process of preparation for the Chapter.

The whole preparation process has been oriented by a slogan proposing the basic attitudes for attaining vital goals: “New hearts for a new world”.
A study of the contributions made by the Marist world in response to the initial consultation gave rise to a new document of reflection, entitled “Guidelines for Reflection,” drawn up by the Preparatory Commission. Four main themes were proposed in this document for the brothers’ reflection: 1. Identity of the Brother. 2. The Lay Marist. 3. Marist Mission. 4. Marist Spirituality. At the same time, a new dynamic was proposed to study them and share reflection.

During the last months of 2009, reflection centred on the Circular of Convocation of the Chapter, the “guidelines” issued by the Preparatory Commission and the “Report” drawn up by the General Council for presentation to the Chapter. A second phase of the reflection process on these three documents consisted of mutual listening in order to gather reactions and feelings from the members of the administrative units of each region. A third consisted of the members of the Chapter writing to the Brothers of each region a letter identifying the problems and the priorities for action. The Preparatory Commission, in its turn, gathered all these regional letters, by means of which the Chapter will be able to feel the pulse of the Institute at world level.

In the meantime, the capitulants, from the time they were elected, have been able to maintain a close contact through the web page dedicated to the General Chapter. By means of this instrument of communication, the Preparatory Commission has sent 9 letters to the capitulants, offering them guidelines for work in common. The entire process has seen the forging of a deep sense of fraternity and communion. The celebration of the Chapter announces days of resurrection and new life for a new world.

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