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Wednesday, September 30th

 

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On the final stretch, the elections for the General Council

30/09/2009: General House - Photo gallery

The news agencies today, Wednesday, announced an earthquake of between 7.9 and 8.3 degrees of magnitude in the Pacific. As a result of this earthquake, which struck the islands of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga on Tuesday, 29 September, a tsunami has caused the deaths of over 100 people, and the number continues to rise. Brother Carl Tapp, from the South Island of New Zealand, who has lived more 20 years in Samoa, and is currently Provincial of the Province of New-Zealand (Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand and Samoa), led the morning prayer in remembering the victims of this natural disaster. “I have spoken to the Brothers living on some of the islands affected by the earthquake and they have informed me they are well, but that they have seen many people who have lost everything”.

The day’s work began with planning the topics for the groups. For a time, the secretaries for each topic worked with their groups to define the proposals for dialogue which they were to raise at the assembly during the day. The first group to intervene at the assembly was the one preparing the methodology and procedures for electing the General Council. These elections are scheduled for the end of the week, 2 and 3 October. All the capitulants had available the document drafted by the group, sent to them electronically. The document proposed for dialogue and discussion at the tables, the method of proposing candidates and the concrete procedure for electing them. Tomorrow voting will take place to establish the assembly’s mode of procedure in proposing candidates and in the election of Councillors.

Marist mission in a new world

The work group studying the fundamental call in relation to mission has presented to the capitulants a sheet of 16 concrete proposals for exploring further “Marist mission in a new world”. These proposals refer to the international character of the mission, the boundaries within which international or regional Marist networks have to be created, developed or reinforced for mission in the areas of education, social work and solidarity. It also suggests some means for carrying out this mission, such as youth ministry and opening to laity the possibility of volunteering for mission ad gentes. It speaks, as well, of the possibility of organizing a mission assembly similar to the Mendes one, or of giving more strength to the presence of the Marist International Solidarity Foundation and the rights of children. It suggests the possibility of taking action to see that the management of educational works is organized in such a way that more Brothers are directly involved with children and young people. It expresses the desire that Marist mission in a new world transform the educational works in ways which allow Brothers and lay people to accompany children and young people, and help them to become persons committed to building a society of justice and solidarity. All this material has been placed on the tables for dialogue and completion or improvement by the contributions of all.

A lap sprint in the progress of the work of the Chapter

The first session of the afternoon began with Marial prayer. The Brothers who animate the daily prayer proposed this be a time for contemplating five gifts: family spirit and feeling of belonging, unity of heart, trustful attention and discernment, being men and women of God, and being prophets of love. Each one of these gifts was illustrated with a text taken from the Constitutions or from other Marist documents. The Brothers prayed with prayers and hymns related to these gifts.

The first working session was dedicated to an analysis of the finances. Brother Econome General presented a rapid summary of facts and figures which served to stimulate dialogue around the table. The financial situation of the Institute refers, above all, to the organization of the finances of the General Administration, but all the administrative units are involved. The topic of finances will come up again at later sessions.

The second session was devoted to voting on some changes in the text of the Constitutions. It was like achieving a lap sprint in the work of the Chapter. The group studying the Constitutions has brought one part of its work to completion. The majority of the changes effected in the text, which were approved in this session, concerned the numbering, the references, or an internal harmonizing of articles to make them coherent. Others, more important, did no more than legalize what is already customary practice in the Institute, as, for example, that relating to the figure of the “Brothers in charge of apostolic works”.

A second topic, suggested by the same group, is that of recommending to the next General Council, that it look for ways of enriching the Constitutions in the coming years with vivid texts, which reflect the actual understanding of the Church and of the life of the consecrated Brother. The road the Institute has to traverse in preparation for the bicentenary of its existence in 2017, can be an opportunity to undertake an updating of the life values proposed by the Constitutions. All this matter is baking in the oven of the chapter hall. We hope that the batch provides delicious bread for Brothers and lay Marists to share around the table.

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