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XXII General Chapter

29/09/2017 / 7762 |

22nd General Chapter: XXII General Chapter

Today, Friday 29th September, Chapter participants continued working in groups on the key implications. Capitulants were briefed on the process involved in the review of the Constitutions and the structure of the resultant drafts. The process of electing the Superior General and Vicar General were approved.


Morning sessions

Br. Tony Leon led the morning prayer which had as its theme the presence of the angels in our lives, the "Angel Unaware" who give welcome to others.

Matthieu, the Chapter facilitator, briefed participants on what the six working groups will be required to do and how they should go about their work on the themes and calls of the Chapter. The five themes are: Mission; The Brothers’ life; Brothers and lay people together; Government and finance. Matthieu encouraged the groups to use the “Golden Circle” model that has three levels: Why is this call important? What needs to be done to respond to this call? How will it be done? The group will need to identify principles that will guide reflection and action on the theme over the next 8 years.

Almost the entire morning was devoted to group work. Each group continued its work of developing the key message associated with their theme from among the 32 calls presented on Wednesday.


Presentation on the revision of the Constitutions

The last hour before lunch was given to a presentation by 4 members of the International Commission for the Revision of the Constitutions: Josep Maria Soteras, Sebastião Ferrarini, Tony Clark and Eduardo Navarro.

Brother Josep Maria reminded people of the mandate given by the XXI General Chapter that requested a thorough revision of the Constitutions be organized and be ready for presentation at the XXII General Chapter. He also explained the process and gave data associated with the 2-year consultation process that involved all administrative units in the Institute

Three members of the commission shared their experiences of being involved in the revision project. All expressed their appreciation for being given this opportunity. Some of the points touched on were: the serious attention given to listening to the Brothers and to the Spirit; working through the many suggestions received from all parts of the Institute; living the same discernment process that is being used at this Chapter; trying to respond to the challenge of having texts that will speak to the present and future generations of Brothers; separating the inspirational and normative elements while keeping the texts simple etc.

Brother Josep Maria then briefly explained the rationale for having two texts. The Rule of Life being the theological, inspirational text that more poetically explains our identity, consecration, life and mission. This document gives flexibility for further changes as the Institute evolves and requiring only the approval of the General Chapter. The Constitutions and Statutes simply describe the canonical and civil nature of identity, consecration, life, formational journey and government. The Constitutions and Statutes need the approval of both the General Chapter and the Holy See. The commission proposes that these two texts will be two sections of the one book; like two lungs of the one body that breathes life into our call to being Brother.

Josep Maria gave an outline of the framework of the proposed ‘Rule of Life’. This framework is based on the recent document produced by the Congregation of Consecrated Life on the identity and mission of the Brother in today’s church: Our vocation - Being Brother; Living in Community; and Mission as service. The second section of the Rule of Life, as yet unwritten, would describe the Marist charism, and the new dawning of the charism in diverse forms of vocation. The Chapter will decide whether the latter section is developed at the Chapter or by another writing group consisting of Brothers and lay people. Copies of this framework were distributed among participants. Closing statements about the Rule of Life were made by the four commission members.


End of the mandate of the current General Council

After the afternoon Marian prayer, the General Chapter community marked in a special way the conclusion of the mandate of the current General Council. Brother Emili took this opportunity to express his thanks to the whole Institute for the welcome and respect that he and the Councillors had received and for all that had been achieved during these 8 years. He made reference to a display produced by Sebastião Ferrarini that describes the different phases of the history of the Institute using biblical images. Emili asked forgiveness for any omissions or inconsistencies he or the Council had committed, and for the times that the group had "resisted the Spirit". Emili concluded by also thanking his Vicar General Joe and the other members of the General Council. In response, the whole General Chapter community gave a sustained and emotion-filled standing ovation, expressing the appreciation and affection of the whole Institute for the dedication and service given by Brother Emili, Brother Joe and the entire General Council (read all the text).

As a small token of appreciation, Brother Ben Consigli, on behalf of the entire General Chapter community, and the whole Institute, presented each member of the General Council with an icon depicting the three key episodes associated with the Bicentenary: Montagne, La Valla and Fouvière.

Procedures for the election of the Superior General and Vicar General

Brother Ben Consigli then presented to capitulants for their approval the procedure, process and timetable for the election of the Superior General and Vicar General. This will occur next Monday,2nd October and Tuesday, 3rd October.

The procedure and process approved will be as follows:

  • Monday afternoon, 2nd Oct: At 3.30 pm capitulants will gather in the chapel for prayer. Each capitulant will have personal time to write down the names of two Brothers they consider suitable for the role of Superior General and Vicar General. These forms will be collected at the 5.00 pm Eucharist. Brothers Seán Sammon and Emili Turú will carry out a scrutiny of forms submitted, consult the brothers with the most votes to ascertain their acceptance and draw up a short list in alphabetical order.
  • Tuesday morning, 3rd October: At 7 o'clock in the chapel, each capitulant will receive a copy of the list. Capitulants are free to converse with others about those being considered. At 10:00 am, the election of the Superior General begins. Once the name of the new Superior General is confirmed, there will be a short prayer of thanksgiving, followed immediately by lunch.
  • The election process for the Vicar General will begin at 3.30 pm with time for personal prayer and discernment. At 5:30 pm the election of the Vicar General begins. A Eucharist of thanksgiving will occur at 6.30 pm, followed by dinner.


Work progress of the groups

The time remaining of the afternoon session was taken up in plenary where each of the six working groups shared their experience of the process and indicated what progress had been made so far. What was reported was larger groups divided themselves into language subgroups share the tasks and to facilitate conversation. Some groups are already defining principles and others are still in the process of collecting information and ideas.


The day ended finished with the sharing in fraternity groups.