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The Chapter on the home stretch

06/10/2009: General House - Photo gallery

Morning prayer today began with alarming news about our boarding school at Nyangezi (Congo). Late last night came a telephone call indicating that the boarding school of Nyangezi had been attacked and shots fired on the outskirts. Later a communication reached the General House from the website « Les Amis de la mission » in the following terms: “The house of the Marist Brothers at Nyangezi, 25 kilometers south of Bukavu, in the Walungu district, was pillaged during the night of Monday/Tuesday by men in military uniforms. The hostel of the Weza school group, conducted by the Marist Brothers, was also pillaged in the same circumstances, according to radio Okapi.

During the day, there were celebrations for the birthday of Brother Francisco Castellanos, who is lending his services to the Chapter as translator.

Before beginning work, the assembly validated the nomination by the Central Commission of a group of four Brothers, one for each official language, to draft the text which the Chapter aims to transmit to the Institute. The formation of this group had been suggested by the Transmission group.

Finance and the Constitutions on the table

The first session was dedicated to the topic of finance. The resources of the Institute have to be at the service of its life and mission. The government and the General Administration of the institution are financed by the administrative units. A particular study was made of the contributions per capita made by the provinces to support the General Administration. A review was also made of the situation of the Solidarity Fund, approved by the 20th General Chapter, and the Fund destined for formation. The capitulants recognize that there is a very positive attitude to solidarity among the administrative units with regard to mutual assistance, but also advocate that a plan be worked out by experts to obtain self-sufficiency for all the administrative units.

The second part of the morning began with an intense round of voting for the updating of the language of the Constitutions. One of the most important innovations was the suppression of the term “lay” in the first article of the Constitutions in favour of the term “of Brothers”. The apostolic exhortation, “Vita consecrata”, of John Paul II, published on 25 March 1996, asked Institutes of Brothers to make this change. Some minor changes of language to facilitate bureaucratic procedures at the levels of general government and province were also approved.

Four streams of information flowing in the chapter hall

Work on the fundamental call continues from four complementary perspectives: mission, consecration, Brothers and laity, and poor children. These four tributaries, on which the Chapter has reflected at length, have flowed into the chapter hall carrying the principles and proposals worked out at the small group meetings. This enumeration of principles and proposals has been classified in such a way that prominence is given to those which have received most endorsement from the assembly in the dialogue and consensus sessions. It has generated a little group representing the different Vision sub-groups, with a view to presenting the Assembly with an integrated proposal, which would go towards helping with the final deliberations.

Finally, the last chapter work of the afternoon was concerned with the animation and government of the Institute. The tables had subjected the text presented by the work group to some adjustments of terminology, and expressed some recommendations to better respond to the thinking of the assembly.

The day’s work concluded with a revision of the day in the chapter hall itself. Some directions were also provided for those attending the general papal audience in St Peter’s Square tomorrow.

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