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Friday, October 9th

09/10/2009: General House - Photo gallery

“Our hearts are awake”. Thus begins the song Brother Nicholas Fernando first taught to, and then sang with the other members of the Chapter. Accompanied by Brother Miquel Cubeles on the guitar, Br. Nicholas shared with the assembly the beautiful melody born from the activity of the chapter. A song was one of the first proposals for transmitting the sentiments and experiences of the Chapter to the wider Marist world (See the video). Morning prayer provided an opportunity for presenting this melody for the first time. The song speaks of travelling towards a marvelous new land and of exploring as witnesses of a life carrying the good news. The expertise of the music teachers and the ability of the students were evident. In a matter of minutes, all had learned the melody.

There are other masters of creativity in the assembly also. The text which aided the Brothers in their prayer was the work of Brother Oscar Vicario, and concerned a prayer similar to the one directed to Mary, approved as the official text of the Chapter, on this occasion directed to Jesus. “Lord Jesus, we come before you with troubled but grateful hearts. Mary, our Good Mother, has been our companion on the journey and our inspiration at the 21st General Chapter. Today, once more, we welcome her into our house, surprised and grateful for her openness, faith, and creativity, which invite us to open ourselves, with her, to the Spirit who is your gift to us, Lord. With your help we want to change…”.

With eyes on the provinces and regions

The work of the first morning session was divided into two parts. In the first, the Brothers shared in common the feelings and experiences of the end of the previous day.
In the second, they discussed practical ways of transmitting these experiences to the Brothers of their provinces.

In the second session of the morning, the capitulants met in regional groups to share initiatives about transmitting and fostering the dynamics which the Spirit has stirred up in the Chapter.

The afternoon session started with the groups sharing these initiatives with the assembly. Each region has come up with a way to communicate the riches of the Chapter to the Marist world. There is a lovely variety. Those regions which already have a long history of working together and have structures which work well, have stated their intention to continue reinforcing these means of animation. Other regions point to more recent initiatives which are going to be strengthened as a result of the Chapter. The initiative to adapt the resources to the style of each region is one way of making sure it reaches the smallest Marist community or work. The members of each of the regions have spoken of dates and concrete practices. One of the most interesting initiatives is the one concerning the continuing of the transmission. Preparation for the Chapter was a long and captivating process. What is being heard in the chapter hall is that this process, which has led to the holding of the Chapter, should be continued in the provinces as a living of the Chapter.

The Chapter’s letter to the Institute

The editorial team for the Chapter’s letter to the Marist world presented its work to the assembly today. As each region arrived at the Chapter with a letter, so the Chapter, through its delegates, is sending a response to the whole Marist world. Today the assembly expressed agreement with the general lines and contents of the text, although some Brothers still wanted to nuance some expressions or to summarise some elements more precisely. The letter is well on its way to posting.

The group responsible for harmonizing a vision of what the Chapter is offering to motivate the Institute’s progress for the next eight years also delivered the fruits of their work to the assembly today. The critical and experienced eye of the assembly, nevertheless, required improvement of style, harmonizing of the text to give consistency, making the graphic presentation as didactic as possible, etc. With these face-lifts, the text was soon on the way to the typesetters.

Fiesta and thanksgiving

The festive atmosphere began with the evening Eucharist. Brother Tony Leon surprised us once again with his creativity. After the portraits of the Superior Generals, he produced those of the new Councillors. The presentation took place in the chapel. At the beginning of the Eucharist, the lower row of boxes bore the portraits of the Superior Generals, while the upper showed the new members of the General Council. Before the assembly dispersed, the boxes were turned around to reveal the faces of all taking part in the General Chapter. A very pleasant surprise.

After supper, the fiesta continued in the chapter hall. Thanks was given to the large cast of persons who had collaborated in the progress of the chapter: translators, auxiliaries, drivers, technicians, managers, etc. All received a personal present from the Superior General or his Vicar. The birthdays of Brothers Francisco Castellanos and AMEstaún, which had occurred during the week, were also commemorated.

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