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Marist Calendar

2 December

Saint Bibiana
1915, Marist foundation in Morocco
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (UN)

Marist Calendar - December

Saturday, October 10th

 

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Closing of the 21st General Chapter

10/10/2009: General House - Photo gallery

The last voting for the capitulants was on the Central Commission’s proposal for the conclusion of the Chapter. After the assembly had shown their agreement, the Superior General, President of the Chapter, proclaimed: “I declare the 21st General Chapter closed”. The meeting in Rome had lasted 33 days. At this moment, the brothers presented one another with little bag containing soil from the Hermitage and from Davao. In this way, they tried to give form to the invitation which the Chapter is addressing the whole Marist world: “With Mary, going with haste towards a new land”.

Before the closing of the Chapter, in the last moments of the morning of 10 October 2009, there was intense activity in the chapter hall. First, there was the vote for approving the text of the letter and the accompanying message. This was the moment for putting the full stop to the contributions of the assembly. Now it was simply a matter for the editor to finalize the details. As soon as the official version is ready, it will be communicated on the website. Following this vote, there were other decisions concerned with the approval of the acts of the meeting and with the use of information obtained during the Chapter.

At the break, the group photograph was taken. Photos of the members of each region of the Marist world were also taken. The new General Council appears in each. There was also one featuring the veterans of previous Chapters, including one who had participated in five General Chapters.

Brother Emili Turú’s closing words

Before the closure, Brother Emili Turú, Superior General, addressed the capitulants. He made reference to some of the most significant experiences of the Chapter. He began by indicating the four reference points he was using as a framework for his address. The first part revolved around a picturesque metaphor: “The cold alters the course of the ridges”. The atmosphere prevalent during the Chapter can be a reference point for showing the course of the many activities taking place in the Institute. The change of temperature in the methodology favoured dialogue and consensus and opened up to an international perspective.

The second reference point took up the words Brother Sean had addressed to the assembly at the beginning of the Chapter: “To see the world through the eyes of a poor child”. This phrase had struck a chord in the hearts of the capitulants. During the work sessions, the eyes of poor children had been a recurrent theme. Brother Emili reminded them that the Institute had to do everything possible for them. “We have to be experts in the evangelization of children and young people and in the defence of their rights”.

Returning to the figure of Mary of the Visitation, to whom reference had been made many times during the Chapter, he invited all to live a spirituality of a full interior life. Mary hurries to the encounter with the needy but carrying within her yes to Jesus. Mary, travelling companion of the brother on the journey of faith, invites us to be mystics in action, harmonizing the interior life with apostolic activity. A price has to be paid for maintaining this attitude of life.

The slide projected on the screens in the hall indicated the title of the fourth part: “We are all one”. The quotation comes from Paul’s letters. The unity of the Mystical Body is the fruit of the power coming from the Lord. To conclude this part, Brother Emili left this question hanging: “Can we begin the change by ourselves?” And he quoted Pope Benedict XVI on his recent trip to the Czech Republic: “Creative minorities determine the future”.

Brother Sean, in his opening address, presented himself as a good “storyteller”. Brother Emili, in concluding his first words directed to the capitulants and the Marist world, said that “in order to follow his predecessor’s tradition, he would finish with a story”. He related that a man asked a wise man: “The bird I am holding enclosed in my hands, is it alive or dead?” And the wise man replied: “The answer is in your hands”. With the conclusion of his words, the doors of the hall were opened and the Brothers started on their return journey home.

United around the same table to give thanks for the Chapter

The Eucharist at the end of the morning was celebrated in a festive spirit. At the beginning, Brother Emili expressed his sincere gratitude to the members of the Central Commission. Brother Tony Leon presented the collection of portraits of the recently elected General Councillors, with the six paintings, three of Champagnat and three of Mary, which he painted during the Chapter. Together, they formed a backdrop around the main altar. At a certain moment, the supports for the Councillors’ portraits were turned around, and the faces of all the capitulants appeared, digitally reproduced by the hand of the artist. He received great applause. In a brief reply, he stated that behind a leader there were many co-workers, supporting him to carry out the common work.

Thanks for following us on the web

The chronicler concludes the information service by sincerely thanking the Marist world for the welcome it has given to the news appearing on the web. The number of messages received, the brotherly acceptance of the work of the Chapter, the beating of the Marist heart in rhythm with that of the capitulants, the interest aroused by this encounter in the whole Marist world, evident in the visits received by the web old.champagnat.org, fill us with satisfaction. We thank God for the gift of brotherhood that we have been able to share so intensely through the world of electronics.

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