Week Three Recap
Friday, September 22nd
The process for the first stage of General Chapter, which is building up an awareness of the world and the Institute as a global body, was finalized today. The participants reflected on some of the issues that were still missing in the "awareness of reality" in the Institute. The issues included:
Governance: organization, authority, etc.
Relationships between Lays and Brothers
Brothers: vocations, identity, roles, community life, accompaniment, new ways of being brothers, etc.
Living our spirituality; mysticism
Mission: education, new peripheries, children rights…
Ecology, and implications on changes of lifestyle
Groups were formed according to each of the themes. Each group talked about their topic and brought the summary of the conversation to the plenary.
Saturday, September 23rd
The session began with Br. Josep Maria Soteras notifying capitulants that the third draft of the revised Constitutions and the first draft of the Rule of Life is now available for them to read. Josep Maria briefly outlined the different purpose and character of these two documents and their contents.
The Constitutions and Statutes are organized into 5 chapters.
The Rule of Life is organized into two sections, each having sub-sections.
If you knew the gift of God (a) Our Vocation: to be brothers; Our way: living in communities; Our heart: in permanent service)
A Gift for the Church and the World (The Gift for the Church and the World) - In the sources of the Marist charism; Towards a new dawn of the Marist Charism).
Josep Maria noted that the Constitutions and Statutes, while approved by the General Chapter, are finally approved by the Holy See as the Church’s recognition of the particular role and mission we have in its life. The proposed Rule of Life, if agreed to by this Chapter, is a document approved by the General Chapter for the Institute. Hence, this is a document that potentially can evolve over time.
Josep Maria finished by giving an indication of the timing and process for dealing with the Constitutions, Statutes and Rule of Life. At the beginning of October, the Chapter will first decide whether or not to accept the two documents proposed by the Constitutions Revision Commission. Capitulants will then work through the proposed texts, ending with voting on the texts.
In the second session today, the General Chapter completed the first phase of “Perceiving the present reality and the future” and moved on to the next phase of “articulating the collective purpose for the future of the Institute”. This movement required of everyone a certain "letting go". Some of the questions the discussion groups focused on were:
For our Body (Institute) to give of its best to the emerging world, what cannot continue in the future?
From what do we need to free ourselves from?
Responses to these questions were recorded in each group and shared in a Plenary session.
After dinner, the young Brother invitees organized a very enjoyable party to celebrate those participants having birthdays in September. Óscar Martín Vicario (10/09), Luis Felipe González Ruiz (12/09), Fábio Queirós (13/09), Gerard Bachand (14/09), Deivis Fischer (15/09), John Hazelman ( 21/09), Xavier Barceló (24/09), Vincent Kouassi (27/09).
Sunday, September 24th
Today, participants of the General Chapter attended a mass at the Major Seminary in Medellin, which was celebrated by the local Archbishop. It was at this Seminary 50 years ago that the Bishops and Cardinals of South America gathered for a famous meeting to implement the concepts of Vatican 2 throughout South America. The 13 novices, including Br. Luis Ramos, served as the choir for the celebration
Monday, September 25th
This week began with the final stage of the discovery of the reality of the world and of the Institute, clarifying what is necessary for individuals, Administrative Units and the global body of the Institute to leave behind so as to move into the future. The next phase to begin is to discern what God wants the Marists to be and do into the future.
Tuesday, September 26th
Today’s program was divided into two moments. The entire morning was given over as a time of retreat, of deep silence, of personal dialogue with God, listening for what the Spirit is saying. During the afternoon the participants came together to share the insights from the time of silence.
In orienting the time of contemplative silence, Matthieu, the facilitator, reminded participants that for sincere dialogue to take place, it is necessary to leave aside one's expectations to make room for the new. Participants were encouraged to try and choose new words, leaving aside all the concepts that they might normally use, such as "La Valla", "colleges", "Montagne", "mission", "charisma", etc., since it is likely that for a new beginning to occur, a new vocabulary is required.
The afternoon session began with the participants seated in a great circle. After the Marian prayer, the group shared together the fruit of the morning’s contemplation. Each person wrote on a sheet of paper key words related to the focus questions of the morning. The central space in the middle of the circle was gradually filled with contributions, beginning with the young Brothers, followed by the lay people and then the remaining Brothers.
These calls were sorted according to themes. About 13 themes emerged: e.g. mission among the poor; centrality of Jesus Christ; relationship of brothers and lay; authenticity; transformation; fraternity; global community; formation etc.
These themes represent the calls that Chapter participants have heard as God’s calls for the Institute.
The day’s work concluded with each participant saying one word that best described what he or she felt after living the afternoon’s process. Frequently repeated words were "search" and "hope."
Wednesday, September 27th
The 20th day in Rionegro was a day of listening to what God wants the Marists to do. The lines of action were identified for the Institute to enter its third centenary.
The steps of the process to identify God’s 4 calls began with participants individually reading the God’s calls words. Then, in pairs, participants shared their response to the question: “What are the 4 things that God is calling us to for a New Beginning?” Each pair, having agreed on which 4 calls, then tried to achieve the same goal at the table group, writing the calls in sentences. Once this was done, 2 table groups combined to repeat the same activity
The morning sessions concluded with each group reading the 4 elements God desires for a new beginning of the Institute.
There were 32 propositions that were formed from this process. These 32 Statements were eventually grouped into clusters.
Thursday, September 28th
Today’s morning session was led by our invited Lay Marist participants, who shared insights on a document developed for the General Chapter to discuss. The Document, titled “Being a Lay Marist - Guidelines for accompanying people on their vocational journeys and for formation pathways”, can be read by clicking here.
The rest of the day participants formed work groups to focus on the emerging Calls of the Chapter. The work groups focused on the following areas: Government, Finances, Brothers and Laity, Brothers life and formation, Mission as well as a work group to assist in the reporting and future communications of this General Chapter.