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Feast of Our Lady of Aparecida and Our Lady of Pilar

12/10/2017 / 7434 |

22nd General Chapter: Feast of Our Lady of Aparecida and Our Lady of Pilar

This year, on the 12th October, Brazil celebrates 300 years of devotion to Our Lady Aparecida. Today is also the feast day of Our Lady of Pilar, the patroness of Spain. The General Chapter prayed to our Good Mother that she accompanies today’s work on the Constitutions and Statutes.

This morning’s Marian prayer, as well as today’s afternoon prayer and Eucharist focused on the theme of the different names, images and devotions we use to honour Mary in our personal, communal and spiritual lives.

At the beginning of the morning session, Brother Ernesto Sánchez informed the Assembly of the death of Brother Samuel Holguín's father in Spain. Brother Samuel was a member of the Chapter until having to return to Spain to accompany his father and family in these last days. The prayers and thoughts of everyone in the Chapter community are with Brother Samuel and his family at this time.

The remainder of the morning was devoted to the task of reviewing the text of the revised Constitutions and Statutes proposed by the Revision Commission. For this task, each table group was assigned with one of the first 4 chapters of the Constitutions. At the table, capitulants decided whether they accepted the text or desired some change. If a change was agreed on, the table secretary noted the alternative text in the language used at the table. These secretaries then met in the afternoon, in English or Spanish groups, to draw up draft proposals. These proposals will be discussed in more detail by capitulants on Saturday.

The Constitutions: a text of the Church

The charism of Marcellin Champagnat is a gift given to and recognized by the Church. The Institute of the Marist Brothers exists to be at the service of the Catholic Church, its life and mission. The Constitutions of the Marist Brothers, therefore, need the approval of the church. This occurs through the Congregation of Consecrated Life, which is responsible for such matters. The task of revising of the 1985 Constitutions and Statutes at this XXII General Chapter needs a two-thirds absolute majority vote on the text. After the Chapter, a redaction commission will be appointed by the General Council to finalize the text for presentation to the Holy See. Once the Holy See has approved the revised text, the Constitutions and Statutes will be then translated into the four main languages of the Institute for publication.

The Statutes are the proper law of the Institute, approved by a simple majority of capitulants at a General Chapter. They do not require the approval of the Holy See. This is also true for the proposed ‘Rule of Life’, already accepted as a separate yet complementary text to the Constitutions and Statutes. The ‘Rule of Life’ will be discussed next week.


Exploring "New Models"

The capitulants requested some time to address the New Models Project. A discussion on this had already begun on Monday. Today, the dialogue continued in administrative unit groups. In regard to the New Models Project, capitulants identified positive aspects, areas of difficulty and new perspectives. From the feedback, a consensus emerged that indicated the project has been of some benefit. A number of difficulties and concerns were raised about the process used, difficulties in communication and financial and other implications. There is also a desire to find a way of seeing how the project can continue to move forward for the sake of the future of the global body of the Institute.


Children's Rights

During the evening, an extraordinary voluntary session was held to discuss the document on the Protection of Children, prepared by the pre-chapter commission on children's rights. The significant number of capitulants attending worked in groups discussing the value of the document and how it can be implemented. Feedback from this session will be presented at a later date in the Chapter.