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The Chapter crosses the equator

24/09/2009: General House - Photo gallery

The crossing of the imaginary line, which divides the calendar of the Chapter into two parts, took place under settled conditions. A day of quiet but efficient work. For the chronicle, nothing to report in the morning, except the buzz coming from the various rooms of the house where the groups are pursuing their work. They have invaded the little meeting rooms dispersed around the house. The Basilio, Silvestre, Francisco, Lorenzo islands… welcome the little communities of the new times. The groups speak different languages but they have managed to solve the translation problem so all can understand. And they have succeeded with different formulas. The identity card each capitulant wears around his neck indicates the languages he can communicate in. The official translators of the Chapter have also been present to help when necessary.

Works and days

In the afternoon it had been anticipated, that the group considering how to plan the “election of the Brother Superior General and his Vicar” would present a progress report to the assembly. And in fact, it had drawn up a written proposal, which all received on their computers. Paper is notable by its absence. It is not surprising that the cleaning lady finds nothing to do. “I come in to clean, because that is something that has to be done, but the little brothers keep the hall very clean!” The task entrusted to the members of this group was to “define the process of electing the Brother Superior General and his Vicar” in accordance with the “General Plan” worked out by the Central Commission. Their proposal to the assembly was approved. It was a question of obtaining agreement for the change of some wording of the regulations for the election of the Superior General. Today the assembly is smoothing the legal ways for bringing the regulations up to date. The legality of the process is studied in the Constitutions, in the Rules for elections, and in the procedure used in previous chapters. Tomorrow they will define the practical way to propose lists of candidates’ names and the concrete mode of carrying out the elections. Approving the proposal “in accordance with the General Plan” means that they keep the days programmed for the elections of the Superior General and his Vicar, namely 25 (retreat day) and 26 September, Friday and Saturday respectively.

The second group to make significant progress in its work was the one charged with studying the dynamics of dialogue and consensus, in order to realize a practical way of carrying out the “animation and government of the Institute” over the next eight years. This group also made a proposal to the assembly. As a beginning, they formulated the following question: “What may be the best model of animation and government responding to the needs of the Institute today?” The contributions from each table were sent in writing, through the intranet, to the secretary of this group. The results will be known tomorrow.

We spent a long time today with the group studying how to transmit the decisions of the Chapter and how to communicate the experience of the capitulants. Opinions were shared about the publications forseen, the printing of resources, and the possibilities offered by the web to rapidly spread the message of the Chapter to the whole Marist world.

A travelling companion leaves the Chapter

Dr. Bruce Irvine has been working with the Preparatory and Central Commissions. Bruce was born in South Africa but is now living in London, where he is Executive Director of The Grubb Institute UK. On our web page, he is presented as facilitator. His work has consisted of observing the processes at work in the human groups taking part in the Chapter. His professional training allows him to recommend more appropriate dynamics to help the large group function properly. At this stage of the Chapter, his task is finished. Today, 23 September, he departs the Chapter assembly. “I am sorry to be leaving when the baby is still to see the light, but I hope it is very successful”. Brother Sean addressed Dr. Irvine some words of gratitude and presented him with a little statue of the Good Mother.

Messages received

A rapid glance at the web old.champagnat.org allows us to highlight some details. Our page has passed from 1200 visits a day on average, before the beginning of the chapter period, to 6500 during the two long weeks the Brothers have been meeting in Rome. The exchanges prompted by the happenings of the chapter by means of this electronic page, have produced 358 messages sent from all parts of the world. Behind these messages are the faces and hearts of friends, Brothers, former students, members of Fraternities and the Marist Family, etc. We note with special interest those which express feelings. The general tone shows a deep communion with the Brothers in the chapter hall and a joining with them in spirit through prayer. The warm allusion to the quality of the Roman pizza of Trastevere raised a happy smile. Many thanks to all.

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