L.J.C. et M.I.
Rome, January 25, 2021
Dear Brother Oblates,
On this 205th anniversary of the foundation of our religious Family, I hereby convoke the XXXVII General Chapter. It will begin on September 14, 2022, the Feast of the Exaltation of Holy Cross, at the “Centro Ad Gentes” property of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) located at Nemi, Via dei Laghi bis, 52 (province of Rome).
As you know, the Chapter Commissioner, Father Thomas Ovalle, and two Commission members, Fathers Alberto Gnemmi and Constant Kienge Kienge were appointed on May 21, 2020. Fr. Arun William Rozario is the Commission secretary. The Commission held its first meeting in Rome from September 22 to 24, 2020. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the Commissioner could only participate via Skype.
After reading the Interchapter report, the Pre-Chapter Commission will help the Superior General and his Council to prepare a questionnaire to be sent to the whole Congregation, engaging it in a dialogue as requested by the Chapter Directory. The answers to this questionnaire will have to be processed at various levels (the local, the Unit and the Regional level) and sent to the Pre-Chapter Commission, which will craft a document to be submitted to the Superior General in Council. Once approved, this document will be sent out to all the Chapter members to be read, studied and reflected on before, and in preparation for, the Chapter. Such document will also help in determining the theme of the Chapter. Other resources to help us prepare for the General Chapter will be coming from the Precapitular Commission in the months ahead.
We begin a time of prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking for light to lead us in preparing the 2022 General Chapter. I ask each Oblate and all our communities to strengthen the bonds of their unity and to start praying for the 2022 Chapter to be a time of grace for the Congregation and the whole Oblate family, a time of renewal for our Oblate life and mission. Seeking concrete expressions of conversion in our lives, both personally and as communities, remains an important call from the Spirit for all of us.
We celebrated our last General Chapter on the very year of the bicentennial of our foundation as the Missionaries of Provence. We will celebrate our next General Chapter on the 200th anniversary of the beautiful experience of Eugene in front of Mary, when he felt one of his highest consolations, in a difficult circumstance of his life and of the life of the Society he had founded. We will then celebrate the Chapter in the same spirit, guided by God to a new life as a Congregation and we ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen our bonds of unity as brother Oblates and to renew in our hearts the same passion of Saint Eugene for Jesus Christ our Savior, for the Church of our time, and for the poor of many faces in today’s world.
In the present difficult times, we ask Mary, who received Christ in order to share him with all the world, whose hope he is, to accompany us in this pilgrimage of grace toward the General Chapter of 2022. She is the model and guardian of our consecrated life; she knows our needs and assures us of God’s final victory over all evil. We ask her, our Mother for whom we have a tender love, to continue to smile upon our Congregation. May she help us to be open to the coming of the Spirit in new and surprising ways, far beyond what we can ask for or even imagine!
Your brother Oblate in Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,
Father Louis Lougen, OMI