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General Conference - 20th September 2005

22/09/2005: Sri Lanka

Study of “financial matters” of the Institute
<288.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 20.09.2005 hspace=5 vspace=5 align=right>Today’s subject was the financial management of the General Administration. The General Council’s Financial Affairs Committee consists of Brothers Antonio Martínez Fernández (chair), Maurice Berquet, Dominick Pujia, Juan Arconada, Peter Rodney and Guy Palandre, as secretary.
Today’s work sessions were dedicated to information about the financial activities of the General Administration in order to promote dialogue and to respond to any questions raised. Under the direction of Brother Antonio Martínez Fernández, Econome General, the first session studied the annual financial reports of the General Administration, balances up until the 31st December, the General Administration’s reserves and the “per capita” contribution of the Provinces

Financial report for the Conference
Brother Antonio Martínez Fernández presented a resume of the financial reports from 2001 to 2004, indicating the income, the expenses and the results. Each year the General Council approves the budgets and the finance report. To make it easier to understand, Brother Antonio divided the income and expenses into two large sectors. Activities that repeat each year were treated with similar parameters. The income and expense of particular activities subject to unforeseeable fluctuations, such as devaluation of money, investments and annuities, were also treated.

General Administrative Reserves
The General Council has approved a sum of money for emergency situations as maximum reserves. The concept of “reserves” corresponds to proper funds minus the funds created by the XX General Chapter. Whatever is in excess of this maximum quantity will serve to increase the funds created by the XX General Chapter.

Per Capita
By the technical expression “Per Capita”, one needs to understand the contribution of each Province to the General Administration according to the number of brothers in the province, to cover ordinary general expenses. The “Per Capita” is calculated on the number of brothers of each Province at the 31st December of the preceding year. The “Per Capita” contribution varies from one Province to another and for the moment it does not cover all the ordinary expenses of the year.

Ordinary Activity and Solidarity activity
An analysis was made of the income and expenses corresponding to the ordinary activity and solidarity activity. The objective of the Commission is to finance the ordinary activities with fixed income and the solidarity activities with voluntary contributions from the Provinces.

XX General Chapter Solidarity Fund
<288a.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 20.09.2005 hspace=5 vspace=5 align=right>The XX General Chapter recommended to the Superior General, to his Council and to Provincials to enter into dialogue with the Econome General, between 2002 and 2005, and to donate between 30% and 40% of their annual excess to the Solidarity Funds of the Institute with the objective of arriving at 9 million dollars each year. The contributions received have been generous but insufficient to attain the fixed objective for various reasons.
The following question came from the groups of sharing and dialogue: “In taking account of the reality of the two last years, what must be the objectives of the XX General Chapter Fund and what must be its functioning in the next four years?
The brothers made various suggestions to maintain the criteria of the XX General Chapter as to the process of consolidation of the Fund and of the affectation of resources. As we did not have enough time to finish this dialogue, it will be taken up again another day.

Formation Funds in the Institute
The objective of the Institute’s Formation Funds is to help finance the formation at MIC in Africa and at MAPAC in Asia and also the formation of novices in the novitiates at Save, Kumasi, Kutuma and Tudella.
For the creation of this Fund, the General Administration and the Province of Canada participated with the idea of a contribution that could generate enough interest to assure the functioning of the centres of formation mentioned above.
The centres benefiting from the Institute’s Formation Fund present their annual budget and the accounts for the previous year to the General Administration. The General Council approves the annual donations made to each centre.

General Administration’s Real Estate
The problem of real estate could not be discussed due to lack of time, but in the work document there is talk of real estate. At the present moment, the General Administration has only the property of the General House and of Manziana. In 2004, the house at El Escorial was given to the Province of Ibérica in exchange for a financial sum. In 2005, we presented a project to construct an office building on part of the land of the General House to the municipality of Rome. The objective is to sell a part of the land concerning the project, in the case of it being approved.

Evangelical use of goods
In the afternoon we looked at the topic of evangelical use of goods. The Commission started by the presentation of its work with Brothers Maurice Berquet, chair, Guy Palandre, secretary, Antonio Martínez, Econome General and Dominick Pujia, Director of BIS. The tasks of the Commission are well defined. “The General Chapter asked the General Council to establish a plan of discernment on the evangelical use of goods in the Institute and to accompany its execution in each Administrative Unit.”
The plan of discernment was approved by the Superior General and his Council on the 5th February 2004, and published in March of the same year. This plan can be accessed on our website old.champagnat.org. The reserved are of this page allows brothers to share their reflections on the themes.

Animations that have been realised or are in project
* Presentation to the new Provincials before the orientation session (Rome, 22nd July 2004, Brother Maurice Berquet).
* <288b.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 20.09.2005 >Workshop animated by Brother Dominick Pujia for the brothers of the Province of Nigeria (7th – 9th September 2004)
* Workshop animated by Brother Maurice Berquet for the Superiors of communities of the Province of Mediterránea (3rd January 2005)
* Presentation to the brothers of the francophone renewal group at Manziana (28th April 2005, Brothers Antonio and Guy)
* Presentation to the brothers of the Province of Norandina during the visit to this Province (Brother Maurice, February – March 2005)
* Presentation to the communities of the General House (1st semester 2005, Brothers Antonio, Dominick, Guy and Maurice)
* Presentation to the groups of economes at Curitiba (Brother Antonio) and at Lardero (Brothers Antonio and Guy).
* Presentation to members of the CIAE (Brother Maurice).
* Workshop for the student brothers at MIC (19th –21st December 2005)

Presentation of three experiences
The Commission invited three brothers to present three experiences of the execution of the Plan of discernment in their Provinces. The first was presented by Brother Claudino Falquette from the Province of Brasil Centro-Norte. The second by Brother Primitivo Mendoza, Provincial of the Province of Compostela and the third by Brother Christian Mbam, Provincial of Nigeria. The three presented different methodologies adapted to the reality of each Province.
Work continued in small groups by region in which the brothers discussed the methodology that could be taken in their area of the world. In the Plenary session it was stressed that the Marist value of simplicity of life deserves greater attention during the next four years.

Visit of the Episcopal Conference
<288c.jpg alt=Sri Lanka – 20.09.2005 >Six of the ten bishops of Sri Lanka joined the brothers for several hours. The celebration of Mass and the meal afterwards were very important aspects of this contact between the brothers and the bishops. The President of the Episcopal Conference, Dr Vianney, emphasised in his homily: “I have heard a lot about some of your brothers who have touched the lives of so many people” who have studied in Marist schools. And he reminded the brothers of the three fundamentals of the Marist vocation: “contemplation” which leads to the building of a profound spiritual life, “being men of communion” and “men of mission”. He encouraged the brothers to live their consecration enthusiastically. And he concluded: “Your vocation is both beautiful and passionate.”
The Archbishop of Colombo, Dr Oswaldo Gomis, addressed a few words at the end of Mass and thanked the brothers for the presence of the General Conference in Sri Lanka as a sign of closeness between the Institute and the church in Asia.
Brother Seán thanked the bishops for their visit and offered them a precious book that relates the placing of the statue of Saint Marcellin in the Vatican basilica.

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