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.
A recollection day as a spiritual rest day after a full week and also as an orientation fur the further activities. In the morning Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, rector magnificus emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University, spoke about the apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate of Pope Francis about the call of holiness in the actual world. The session in the afternoon was dedicated to the document of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life about “economy at the service of the charism and mission”, presented by two staff members of the general administration, Mr. Patrick De Pooter and Mr. Jos Leysen.
In the morning, there was a further discussion and evaluation in the provincial groups about the reporting of the past days.
Around noon all provincial groups finished their report and transmitted it to the two commissions.
Around 17h the plenary session took place with the two secretaries, Bro. Martin de Porres as reporter of the commission for the evaluation of the report of the superior general, the provincial superiors and the general assistants, and Bro. Alfred Hassett as reporter for the commission for the evaluation of the report of the general bursar.
The morning was spent on the financial side of the Congregation. Bro. John O’Shea, General Bursar, presented the financial report of the past six years. In the afternoon, the elected delegates of the provinces met to discuss the two reports: the report of the Superior General, the Provincial Superiors, and the General Assistants, and the financial report of the General Bursar.
Today the motions of the general chapter of 2012 were evaluated. Every general assistant discussed some motions and presented to the participants of the chapter an evaluation of the follow-up and the obtained results.