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Warming up motors and hearts

07/09/2009: General House - Photo gallery

The reception and welcome of those arriving for the Chapter from the four corners of the world was achieved to the satisfaction of all. The brothers of the Administration Community made frequent trips to the airports of Rome to collect them. Others remained at the phones of the house to receive calls and co-ordinate the movements of the persons contacting them. The two days with the largest numbers of arrivals, 5 and 6 September, two members of the community spent the day at the airport to await the travellers and accompany them to their drivers. At the house, another group took charge of welcoming the visitors, handing over their keys and accompanying them to their rooms. These days of expectation, reception, and welcome were for all living in the General House a time of brotherhood and family.

Testing the technology

The operations anticipated for this day had been programmed by the Provisional Committee, which is seeing to the running of the first days of the Chapter reunion, until the Chapter Central Commission assumes its responsibilities. In the first session of the morning, the 83 capitulants occupied their places in the hall in order to access the chapter net for the first time. There had been a successful trial run a few days before with 20 persons. This time, it was those using it who ran through, one by one, the menus of the net, which led to each of the resources they would be using during the work of the chapter: counting the number of persons present in the hall, carrying out the voting or requesting the right to speak to intervene in the assembly. The internal net includes other complementary services, such as a library of digital documents, weather information, the calendar of activities, photograph albums and videos.
The dress rehearsal was a masterly lesson in information technology, in an international university lecture hall, followed in four languages, with simultaneous translation, presented with Marist pedagogy. The teachers had prepared the class well and knew how to adapt it to the learning rhythms of each student. At the conclusion of the trial, there were expressions of general satisfaction. The electronic instrument placed in the hands of the capitulants is a powerful tool for group work, but requires discipline and collaboration.

Guided visit of the house

The brothers and lay persons were given a tour of the house, in language groups, with a guide, to become familiar with the concrete location of the various services which go on operating in the General House during the Chapter. On this tour they were introduced to the room for making photocopies, the conference room of the General Council, the rooms set aside for working meetings, the storeroom for articles of personal hygiene, and the office for dispatching news to the whole Institute.


Information and presentations

At five in the afternoon, the capitulants were called together by the Provisional Committee to share some information useful for good group functioning in these first days. At the beginning, two messages were read out, one from the Superior General of the Marist Fathers, and the other from the Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM). This was also the appropriate time to present Mr Bruce Irvine, who will work as facilitator with the Provisional Committee and then with the Central Commission, and Fr. Pedro Alarcón Méndez, chaplain. Br. Maurice Berquet, Co-ordinator of the Provisional Committee, announced that Br. Davide Pedri, Provincial of Brasil Centro-Sul, and, as such a member of the Chapter by right, would not be able to take part for health reasons. Br. Afonso Levis, first substitute, will take his place at the Chapter. Br. Marconde Bachmann takes Br. Afonso’s place on the Animation Team.

The day concluded with the Eucharist, and the offering of a toast with “caipirinha”, on the part of the capitulants coming from that country, to the anniversary day of the Independence of Brasil.

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