Day 2: Regional meetings, committee elections and a visit from Cardinal George
before the General Chapter, a liturgy committee began to plan music and prayer
services for the Oblate gathering. Father Alfredo FERETTI (Italy) coordinated
the work, along with scholastic Brothers Shivantha WAAS (Colombo), Thabang
Nkadimeng (Northern Prov. South Africa) and Javier MONTERO (Spain). They put
together a book of songs in several languages and a morning prayer to be used
by the capitulars at the beginning of the first plenary session of each day.
The agenda for
the capitulars on the second day included meetings in regional groups, in order
to finalize the reports to be presented to the Chapter over the next few days
and to study the other regional reports.
In the afternoon
plenary session, the capitulars first practiced voting with the electronic
voting system. Then they elected the Steering Committee and the Finance
Committee. The Steering Committee, whose president is the Superior General,
meets daily to plan the program and the sequence of Chapter business. The
Finance Committee makes recommendations to the Chapter regarding financial
issues and studies in depth all of the reports from the General Treasurer.
Elected to the
Steering Committee were Fathers Miguel FRITZ (Paraguay), Bernard KERADEC
(France), Luc TARDIF (Canada), Stuart BATE (Natal) and Clement WAIDYASEKARA
elected Finance Committee is composed of Fathers Vicente LOPEZ (Mexico),
Alberto GNEMMI (Italy), Christopher PULCHNY (Canada), David ULLRICH (China) and
Prosper NDJOLI (Congo). The General Treasurer, Fr. Rufus WHITLEY, serves as a resource
person to the Finance Committee.
Each week, a
capitular representing the different regions will deliver a brief reflection on
the Chapter’s theme of conversion. The first reflection was presented by Fr.
Emile MOTHEAPHALA (Lesotho). Fr. Emile pointed out that the gift of conversion
is a gift of God, given when and in the manner that God chooses. The initiative
is God’s: it is not a result of our efforts and it is not merited by us. It
comes as a surprise and as a treasure that we find. During the Chapter, we must
determine the best way that we might receive this gift. The gift is there; we
only need to tap into it. We connect with the divine life within us through our
life of prayer and contemplation.
For Mass on the second day, the Chapter welcomed our
Oblate Cardinal, Francis GEORGE, Archbishop of Chicago, USA, as the principal
concelebrant. He was in Rome on other business and was happy to spend a couple
nights at Casa LaSalle with his brother Oblates. He met with the whole group in
the Chapter Hall before the Eucharist, to share some personal thoughts. He
mentioned three things in particular from his Oblate formation and experience
that continue to influence his ministry as bishop: conversion to Christ
crucified, as lived within the Oblate charism. He stated that his early
formation in the French school of prayer sustains him even today with its focus
on the Word Incarnate. Secondly, he carries in his heart an Oblate’s love for
the poor. And thirdly, his years as Vicar General taught him to love the Church
in the universality of its mission.