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Change of rhythm and content in the work of the capitulants

21/09/2009: General House

Today, MOnday, has been a quiet one. The morning session began with a backward glance at the road covered. The first week was dedicated to organizing the assembly, getting to know one another and becoming open to listening to others. The second week served to highlight the key themes which may determine the life of the Institute at the crossroads. Today came the announcement of important changes in the mode of organizing the assembly’s work and in the calendar of activities. In the remaining three weeks of work, the capitulants have to develop the “vision” the Chapter has for the life and mission of the Institute over the next eight years. In addition to this central theme, they have to consider the contributions made previously by the whole Marist world, that is to say, the domestic themes, such as those relating to the Constitutions or finances, prayer life and community, government and animation of the administrative units, etc. and, finally, carrying out responsibilities proper to the Chapter, such as elections and taking decisions for facing the future.

The methodology proposed for this new step maintains the dynamic of trusting in fraternal dialogue and seeking consensus to make progress in the work. The Central Commission is an instrument of mediation which fosters fraternal dialogue.

Seven tasks which cannot be deferred

The method offered by the Central Commission for consideration by the tables has the following structure. The Commission has identified and defined seven unpostponable “tasks”, which the Chapter has to front up to, culled from the process of the previous weeks. They are: to develop the “vision” which this Chapter has for the future of the Institute, more satisfactory structures of government, the revision, correction and updating of the Constitutions, the election of the general government, finances and accounting, the rapport of the General House and Manziana, and how to transmit the spirit and decisions of the Chapter to the whole Marist world.

To study these areas, the Commission plans to organize new tables for dialogue and consensus. Each table will choose a Secretary for each of the tasks indicated. Each will also be able to rely on the presence of a member of the Central Commission for each task. The task secretaries have to prepare the work to be carried out by the assembly and the method of consensus to be applied in each case. Their mission, therefore, is to encourage the greatest participation and consensus possible, and one which will lead to practical results.

The method proposed supposes that the theme of the “vision” has to permeate all the rest. By means of it, advances in dialogue and consensus on the themes will be made in parallel, carried out by the whole assembly at the same time. The procedure is as follows. The first session of the morning will be dedicated to a meeting of the task secretaries. Its purpose is to agree on the methodology to be proposed to the assembly for the three working sessions. In the second session, the direction of the assembly falls to the charge of the group of secretaries responsible for the study and development of dialogue and consensus on the “vision”. In this way, the assembly will be adjusting itself in mind and heart for similar dialogue on the other themes in the two afternoon sessions.

Dates announced in the general plan

The Central Commission has presented a general work plan for the remaining three weeks of the Chapter. It envisages the election of the Superior General and his Vicar for Saturday, 26 September; the election of the new General Council for 2 and 3 October, and the papal audience on 7 October, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The closing date continues to be 10 October 2009.

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