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General Conference – 26th September

28/09/2005: Sri Lanka

The General Council calendar
The morning session started with a proposal for the General Council calendar for the next four years. January, half of February, June and the first two weeks of July are reserved for the two Plenary sessions held each year. The second fortnight of July is reserved for the annual retreat and a time of community rest. The rest of the time will be dedicated to the animation of Administrative Units through visits and retreats. The Provincials and District Superiors all met with Brother Seán during the Conference to share about the animation of the Provinces and Districts and to fix the calendar for a second round of visits.
The Plenary session of June 2007 will be dedicated to the plans for the XXI General Chapter and to form its Preparatory Commission. The convocation of the Chapter is planned for September 2008, and the Chapter itself for September – October 2009. We also need to remember the date for the International Marist Mission Assembly in September 2007.

Towards the XXI General Chapter
Brother Seán mentioned points of interest to prepare for the next General Chapter. A Chapter is a meeting of brothers, a representative assembly of the whole Institute and not only of Superiors of the Institute. The Chapter establishes its own agenda and its rules of functioning. Brother Seán recalled that we have had Chapters of different types according to the objectives sought by the Chapter itself. The methods and the work procedures have also evolved towards a more participative model.
Before the Chapter, Brother Seán plans to publish several documents. Firstly, the two circulars of which we have spoken in previous chronicles, one on Mission and Identity, and the other on Mary. He is preparing other writings also: “Recommence”, a letter for the mature age brothers (start 2006), “Letter to lay Marists” (end of 2006), “Second letter to my older brothers” (start 2007), “Third letter to a young Marist Brother” (end of 2007) and “Letter to Marist formators” (start 2008).

Practical Points on the Chapter
Brother Juan Miguel Anaya, Procurator General of the Institute, touched on a few practical questions of a legal nature for the choice of delegates to the Chapter. The first is the automatic prolongation of the mandate of the Provincial who is finishing his mandate once the Circular of induction to the Chapter is published; the responsibilities of the Provincial finish at the closure of the General Chapter.
The second treated the procedure approved in 1993, and applied for the first time in the Chapter of 2002, to fix the number of capitulants according to the Provinces.
Finally, he communicated three errors in the documents published in the Acts of the XX General Chapter so that they could be corrected.

Economic Affairs
<297a.jpg alt= >Information was then given on the XX General Chapter Fund, a subject that was left incomplete on the 19th September, and then we finished the exchanges by making recommendations to the General Administration and to the Provinces.
Brother Seán concluded his reflexions and his questions on economic affairs by emphasising the clarity and the transparency with which the reports have been presented. “What we have, we have for the common good,” he said. “I have great confidence in your capacity to administer the goods of the Institute according to the evangelical criteria and to solidarity.”

Afternoon for regional meetings
The regions of Asia and of the Pacific have had a dense programme of work in common. The statutes of MAPAC preview an annual meeting of their Administration Board to study the annual report of the Rector and of his co-workers. Instead of holding this meeting in October, in Manilla, the General Conference was taken advantage of for the meeting to occur in September. Brother Jeff Crowe, Rector, came to Negombo and Brother Peter Rodney represented the General Conference at this meeting.
They studied the report of the Rector, those of the Personnel Commissions, plan of studies, formation and finances, and those of the Communities of MAPAC. Then they analysed the recommendations and the resolutions presented by the commissions. This work that normally takes three or four days had to be done in one afternoon.
The brothers of the Region of Cono Sur and of Brazil compared their calendars at different levels.
<297b.jpg alt= hspace=5 vspace=5 align=right>The brothers of Europe had a first meeting with Brother Giovanni Bigotto to share on the state of the causes of saints and they studied the proposition of a meeting of the Provincial Councils of the region.

Celebration at Goldi Sands Hotel
The direction of the Goldi Sands Hotel, place of the Conference, wanted to offer the brothers a typical feast during dinner. They animated the meeting with dances, music and fire-works. The director of the hotel said later that perhaps now the name of the hotel should change from Goldi Sands Hotel to Holy Sands Hotel.

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