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28 November

Saint James of the Marches

Marist Calendar - November

Tuesday, September 22nd



Preparing a great symphony for the Marist world

22/09/2009: General House - Photo gallery

Preparing a great symphony for the Marist world

The Marist world seeks to promote the Reign of God, in harmony with the Church and the world, in living the charism it has received through Champagnat. It has passed eight years already since it last adjusted voices and instruments in the 20th General Chapter. They composed a score entitled “Choose life”. And the whole Institute, for eight years, set itself to interpreting and living this melody throughout the world. At the end of that time, Brother Sean sent out a beautiful circular: “Come, let us have a new Chapter!” From the five parts of the world the Brother delegates arrived, with the voices of their communities and the vibrations produced by the instruments of their works. Voices and instruments came to Rome with the different intonations shaped by sensibility, culture and language. United in Rome, they decided to name an orchestral director who would combine voices and instruments, so that a beautiful Marist symphony might once more rise and resonate throughout the world. At the time, it was decided that the melody sound and be distinguished as the “vision” which the Chapter has of what the presence of the Institute in the Church and in the world must be. To give consistency to this melody, six tasks were defined, which are like the outlines of six staves on which to place the keys and chords supporting the principal melody.

The Central Commission has helped by showing each one the place from which he can sound his voice and connect his instrument, but so far the orchestra has not begun to present the concert. They perceive the first outlines of the melody and are listening to the first chords, but they must have time to complete the composition.

Where the instruments are now

Today, 22 September, has been directed towards organizing the work of the assembly. On arriving in the hall, the Central Commission distributed the capitulants around eight tables, composed of different persons from the previous days. At each table a secretary was elected for each one of the unpostponable “tasks” confronting the Chapter, which were mentioned in yesterday’s chronicle. The grouping of secretaries to deal with each task constituted the working group. This resulted in seven groups, one for each task. One of these 7 groups is dedicated to the theme of vision of the Chapter about the Institute for the next 8 years and consists of about 24 members since it has 3 or 4 members representation from each table. A first meeting was then held to consider each “task”. With this working structure, this complex orchestra called the Chapter began to move.

The pulse of the assembly

The Chapter assembly picked up the change of rhythm from the previous stage. “The Chapter has begun a new stage. The group work is seen as giving new vigour to the search for the fundamental call amid the mist”. This was the talk in the corridors. “The novelty is great. The temptation of turning back to known methods is there. The natural confusion of the first attempts does not help. For all that, there is overall confidence in the method of work and the possibilities of participation it offers”. “The consensus method and simultaneous group work let us listen at the same time as we feel others listening to us. There is no doubt that this method finds favour with the 83 capitulants forming part of this Chapter”.

The members of the assembly were very satisfied with the material provided for them to compose the Marist symphony. “The preparatory work which has been done over the last year in the provinces has been important from the point of view of the motivation of a good part of the Brothers. It is this work, crystallized in the regional letters, which has supplied first hand material for the capitulants to use in searching for the key directions for the Institute over the next eight years”.

The harmony of the assembly with the method being employed has shown openly the consensus of the assembly. “The general atmosphere of the Chapter was very friendly. All the capitulants are willing to do a service that will bring new life to the Institute. There was some worry about the time remaining, given the task ahead. Some are afraid of being obliged to work too hard towards the end.” And there was not lacking admiration for what was being contemplated. “Looking around the Chapter hall and seeing the Brothers united around the table, I was reminded of two scenes marked by the feeling of communion: Champagnat in La Valla, at the table with his Brothers, sharing his dreams, his feelings, his experience of God, and the first Christian communities sharing everything in common”.

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