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The XXII General Chapter will be celebrated in Rionegro

30/07/2015 / 8386

22nd General Chapter: The XXII General Chapter will be celebrated in Rionegro

Exactly on September 8, 2017, the XXII General Chapter will begin. The preparation of this important event for the life of the Institute has been entrusted to a Commission, which will begin to function within a few months.

This Commission includes Brothers Josep McKee (coordinator); Eugène Kabanguka (General Council); Carlos Huidobro (General Administration); Pau Fornells (Norandina, Commission’s secretary); João Gutemberg (Amazonia); Álvaro Sepúlveda (Sta. María de los Andes); Ben Consigli (USA); Juan Carlos Fuertes (Mediterránea); Vincent de Paul Kouassi (West Africa); Darren Burge (Australia); Rajakumar Susai Manickam (South Asia).

The General Council has decided the XXII General Chapter will be celebrated in Rionegro (Colombia), approximately 40 km from Medellín.

The first two General Chapters were celebrated in ND de l’Hermitage; 8 in Saint-Genis-Laval (France); 5 in Grugliasco (Italy) and 6 in Rome.

It will be the first time in our history that a General Chapter will be celebrated outside of the See of the General Government.

In the following interview, Br Emili Turú, Superior General, talks about the next chapter and mainly about the chosen place for his celebration.


We are dreaming of a new beginning for the Institute. What contribution can this ideal give to the next Chapter?

The coincidence of the General Chapter with the celebration of the Bicentenary, invites us to contemplate the Chapter as an entrance door into the new Marist centenary; to live it as a new beginning.
t this moment we have four great processes, which correspond to the three years of preparation for the Bicentenary: the Revision of the Constitutions; New international communities for a new beginning; lay Marist association and belonging; new models of animation, management and governance.

All those processes, in addition to others lived at regional or provincial level, indicate directions for the future for the Marist Charism; help us to concretize the new beginning that we desire.

Therefore, the XXII General Chapter comes at a very opportune moment in our history!


Why was it decided to celebrate the Chapter outside the headquarters of the General Government?

We have reached this decision after a year and a half of study and discernment. Almost from the beginning, we have clearly seen that it was convenient to displace ourselves as a sign of a new beginning, but what was difficult was to choose the concrete place for the celebration of the Chapter. In studying the different alternatives, we wanted to combine several fundamental aspects, among others:

* The symbolical character of the place;
* To have available a minimum of conditions for the work of a numerous group during several weeks;
* To have the possibility of support on the part of the Marist community of the country. 

We believe that the place chosen fulfils well these three requirements.


What is the symbolic character that Colombia has for the mission of the Church and of the Institute?

The name of Medellin has a powerful symbolism in the history of the Church. In 2017 the 50th anniversary of the convocation of the II Latin American Episcopal General Conference will be celebrated, the conclusions of which profoundly marked not only the Church of the continent but also the universal Church. Let us remember that in this Conference very well known Bishops intervened, such as Mons. Pironio, Mons. Samuel Ruiz, Mons. Leonidas Proaño and Mons. Helder Camara. Medellin represents the effort to concretize the spirit of Vatican II in Latin America, offering three essential elements of the identity of the Church in that continent: the option for the poor, the theology of liberation and the Basic Ecclesial Communities.

I stress the symbolism of the Colombian Amazonia, described by the Pope in Laudato Si’ as the lung of the planet full with biodiversity, and extremely important for the totality of the planet and for the future of humanity (48). In that context it will be easier to listen to the urgent appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all   (14).


Are there also other elements that have supported your decision to choose Colombia as the headquarters of the next Chapter?

We know that Colombia was the first country in Latin America to have a Marist presence and that at present more than half of the Marist mission of the whole world is concentrated in the American continent.

On the other hand, we can say that Colombia is a country of contrasts that will facilitate that the members of the Chapter can experience the going out to the peripheries. Colombia, which possesses a multicultural and multi-ethnical population, is characterized by the cordiality of the people and their great welcoming spirit; at the same time, it lives an internal armed conflict since 1960. The country has great richness in natural resources, but it is the 14th country with the greatest inequality according to the 134 observers in the Program of the United Nations for Development; in the last years the quality of education has increased, but almost half a million minors have no schooling, and approximately 30,000 are street children…


Can we count on the support from the local community and an adequate infrastructure?

Yes, without a doubt, I believe that they will be well attended to by the house of the Brothers of the Christian Schools where the Chapter is going to be celebrated ( as well as by the Marist communities in Colombia.