At 9.30 am the election chapter started with the election of the three general assistants who, together with the general superior and the vicar general, will lead the congregation for the next six years in a spirit of service.
The chapter commission worked this morning on the additions to the motions as they were written out as projects the previous days. The afternoon was given over to a long plenary meeting, where every proposal was reviewed and supplemented with a number of remarks. The recasting of the constitutions did not immediately come to a compromise, and it was finally decided that the proposal developed by the commission set up for this purpose could be included during the next chapter period.
The whole day was spent to the further discussion of the proposed motions and the proposed modifications of the constitutions in both the linguistics groups and the provincial groups. All attention is devoted for tomorrow where during the plenary session the reporting will follow and where hopefully a few concrete agreements can be made about the completion of the proposed documents.
We were very saddened to hear of the death of Bro. Paul De Cocq from Belgium this morning. During the opening prayer he was specially commemorated, and we thanked the Lord for his life as a Brother of Charity. Today it became a full day in plenum. This morning the chapter committee reported on its activities during the past week. In the afternoon, Bro. Adrian Hartotanojo gave the report from the committee which looked at a possible revision of the constitutions. The last session reported on the work of the European province, brought by Bro. Luc Van Dyck.
It does not have to be all work and no play. With this sensible saying in mind, all capitulants and their translators and secretaries, and the brothers of the General House left for an outing, or rather, a pilgrimage. We took a Saint Francis tour, with visits to a number of lesser known locations where Saint Francis lived and stayed.
Friday Bro. Deogratias Rwabudandi was celebrated in a special way during the Eucharist at the occasion of his 51th birthday. The whole morning the capitulars where in plenum to discuss the reports of the linguistic discussion groups and to change ideas. The theme “In the mission of charity” had gathered a lot of ideas. At the end of the meeting Jacques Van Daele thanked in the name of the present associate members. In the afternoon the chapter commission worked further on the redaction of the motions which have to give a summary of the activities of this first week of the chapter of affairs.
Today the third part of the theme of the chapter was discussed: “In the mission of the charity”. Bro. Jimi Huayta-Rivera gave the first introduction which he placed under the icon of the washing of the feet. After him it was the turn for Father Tomaz Mavric, the superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and the Company of the Daughters of Charity. For him the Vincentian mission of the caritas is before all a mission of total availability and it calls us therefore to a dynamic love. The afternoon was dedicated to the meetings of the linguistic groups in order to discuss the rich content of the morning session.
The day started with a special celebration of the Eucharist during which we remembered and honoured Saint Benedict of Nursia, the patron saint of the European province, and also Bro. Pierre Caubergh, a Belgian brother who passed away yesterday. Bro. Venance Kapita gave an extensive introduction to the theme ‘Be radical in prophecy as consecrated men’, the second part of the chapter theme. With this abundance of topics, the discussion groups were started up to come to an outline that was presented to the plenary at 5 pm.
Tuesday was the start of the Chapter of Affairs. For the next three days, the chapter theme will be thoroughly discussed. The delegates of the associate members were welcomed. The introduction to the first part of the theme ‘Be radical in prophecy’ was presented by Bro. Martin de Porres. After the presentation, there was the first plenary meeting with requests for clarification and initial orientations. The plenum resumed in the evening and the four secretaries of the language groups reported the very rich discussion. After the session, the associate members came together for a group photo and had the opportunity to get to know each other.
On Monday, the General Chapter took an important step with the election of the Superior General and the Vicar General. The brothers re-elected Bro. René Stockman as general superior, who accepted the task, thus starting his fourth term of office. Bro. Jean-Marie Mukonkole, Regional Superior of Congo, was elected Vicar General.