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On the threshold of electing the General Council

01/10/2009: General House - Photo gallery

The two main actors of the day were the groups working on the fundamental call and the preparation of the methodology and procedures for electing the members of the General Council.

The first made a report at the second work session of the morning, in which they outlined the content of the chapter’s message to the Marist world. This large work group has divided its work into three streams. The report corresponds to the one which harvested the main intuitions contributed by the assembly. Little by little, this material is taking on an orderly form. The information presented this morning revolves around four main lines, which already give a faint outline of the final appearance of the work: one revolves around the heart of the Brother, another is centred on the heart of the Marist community, the third develops the relationship with and opening up to the contemporary world, and the fourth brings together everything related to the spirituality. These four paths allow progress, even if not altogether clear, towards what will be the final message.

The conducting shaft, which holds all this together, is Mariology. Those responsible for drafting this proposal have grasped, as the Chapter desires, that the Marist life style must have the life of Mary as the common reference. In this way it is indicated that Mariology will be one of the central conducting shafts of Marist life during the next eight years. Brothers and lay people will find in the life of Mary, from the Annunciation to Pentecost, the reference point to give impulse to their hearts, their communities and their works. The assembly gave a very positive response to this report. They welcomed with great interest the progress made towards harmonizing the content gradually towards its final form.

A new motivation for the capitulants

The afternoon prayer was animated with a fresh graphic proposal from Brother Tony Leon. He presented the assembly with two new paintings. The first represents Mary journeying with haste to the house of her cousin Elizabeth. This sense of being displaced and urgency has been present at the heart of the Chapter from the beginning. The second is a representation of Champagnat hastening to attend to the young Montagne. Both pick up the internal dynamic which the assembly is experiencing in its work: to follow Champagnat in the style of Mary. With these two contributions Brother Tony has given graphic form to what the texts put together by means of words, at times not as precisely as can be expressed through an image. The creation of an image which will help understand the call of God to the Chapter is one of the initiatives the group working on this subject has picked up from the Assembly.

The afternoon session prepares for tomorrow’s elections

The work group responsible for preparations for the elections of the Councillors devoted the two afternoon sessions to harmonizing the criteria to arrive at a final consensus. The first proposal for discussion referred to the number of members to be elected to the next governing body of the Institute. The Constitutions actually indicate that the General Chapter decides on the number of Councillors to be elected (at least four) and on the way they are to be elected (Cfr. Const.136). The decision of the assembly, expressed first in consensus and then officially by vote, was that the next General Council should have six members, as the previous Chapter had decided.

The second session considered how the assembly should proceed with proposing the names of possible candidates. In the dialogue around the tables, reference was made to the worldwide reality of the Institute, to the regions and to the provinces into which it is divided for administrative purposes. In the contributions emerging from this dialogue was a mixture of various formulas, which could together provide a better representation of the complex reality of the Marist world.

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