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Preparing for the end of the journey

08/10/2009: General House - Photo gallery

Some echoes of the audience with the Pope are still sounding in the General House. Brother Emili informed the capitulants that, in his brief dialogue with the Holy Father, he expressed the Institute’s communion with and readiness for service to the Church. The Holy Father had responded with warmth and great interest, thanking the Institute for its service and granting it his blessing.

Something that needs to be emphasized is the promptness with which all the capitulants begin their work. It has been a distinguishing feature of the chapter from the beginning. The first session of 8 October was devoted to analysis, at the tables, of the contents of the letter the Chapter is going to send to the Marist world. This letter is in its final stage of drafting, but is not yet polished enough to satisfy the members of the Chapter. The comings and goings of the text between the tables and the working group seem to be endless. But a landing time is anticipated. The capitulants are very aware that these texts are going to provide the bread and salt of many spiritual menus for Brothers and lay people. In the time available, they intend that the contribution they carry to the Institute will be the richest possible. All this has to be integrated into a clearly coherent text.

The planes are beginning to land

The second morning session saw some work completed. Of the seven airplanes waiting to land, three have touched down: finance, animation and government, and management of the General House. Finance requested a formal vote, which the assembly gave to approve the work achieved by the group. The details will appear in the acts of the Chapter. Here are emphasized the principles on which their proposal on finances were based: the resources serve the life and mission of the Institute; the government and animation of the Institute are financed by the administrative units; the management costs are distributed fairly among the administrative units; there are guarantees of transparency and responsibility in the management of the General Administration; the administrative units are disposed to provide mutual support to fulfill the objectives of the administration and government of the Institute. These principles allow an insight into the good spirit which has dominated the work of the group.

The animation and government group, for its part, in concluding its contribution, has defined what is contained in these two words: by animation and government it understands the service which the General Council offers to the administrative units to carry out the project of direction and vitality. The General Council provides animation by very diverse means, but one of the most important is the visits made by the Superior General, his Vicar and the Councillors.

The third group to land this morning was the one which worked on an analysis and projection of the management of the services which the General House offers the Institute. The complications which affect the functioning of this house have led the group to work out several recommendations meant to find the best solution to the problems raised. After various work sessions, in which numerous opinions were shared.

The first draft of the vision

In the opening session of the afternoon, the vision group distributed a text of four pages. It contained a slogan, a prayer, and some concrete proposals to give dynamism to the life of the Brothers and laity in a new spirit of communion, and to the Marist mission in the world. Long dialogue at the tables produced sufficient contributions of various types. Some pointed to the formulation, to expressions which needed polishing, to the consistency of the text as a whole, etc. This text is the result of a synthesis made by an editorial group. There was general satisfaction in the hall. The capitulants are beginning to see their contributions collected in a coherent body. With the positive reactions in the chapter hall, the editorial group will add the final touches before presenting the text for final approval tomorrow.

Preparing the balance sheet for the Chapter

At the beginning of the second session of the afternoon, a text was distributed with some guidelines for evaluating the Chapter. The contributions will be collected tomorrow. The end of the afternoon is organized so that the capitulants may dedicate some time of silence and prayer to summing up in their hearts what this chapter has meant for them and what God wishes them to take back to their administrative units.

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