Every six years, the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate holds a General Chapter. We will try to shed some light on this event by means of a few questions and answers.
A General Chapter is a meeting of the Congregation’s Administration with delegates of Oblates from across the globe to evaluate the past six-year period, to elect a Superior General and his regional councilors, to articulate our missionary vision according to the chosen theme, and to establish guidelines for the next six years.
The General Chapter is the highest authority within the Congregation. It meets regularly to strengthen the bonds of unity and to express the members’ participation in the life and mission of the Congregation. (CCRR 125)
The Congregation has, so far, held 36 General Chapters, starting from the first in 1818. In 2022, we will hold our 37th General Chapter, which will take place at the “Ad Gentes” Centre of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Nemi, Italy, from 14 September to 14 October. For more details, please go to the link:
There will be 78 capitulars altogether. 33 of these are ex-officio members (10 from the General Administration and 23 Superiors of Units with more than 60 members). In addition, there will be 43 elected delegates. The Superior General may also invite up to 2 other Oblates to the Chapter (R. 128a.6 of CCRR), and these names have not been announced yet.
Apart from these two, and those from the General Administration, there will be 18 from Africa-Madagascar, 15 from Asia-Oceania, 15 from Europe, 9 from Canada-US, 8 from Latin America, and 1 from the General House
It is the team that is responsible for all the preparation with regard to the Chapter. They also determine Chapter’s structure and content. The commission is headed by a chapter commissioner. For the upcoming Chapter, the commissioner is Fr. Thomas Ovalle, OMI, from the Province of the United States.
The OMI Superior General is elected by the General Chapter for a six-year term. He may be re-elected for a second term, but not for a third consecutive one. All the capitulars are eligible to vote at the election.
There will be a maximum of five ballots. On the first three ballots, a two-thirds majority of the valid votes cast is required for his election. On the fourth and subsequent bal¬lot, an absolute majority suffices. On the fifth ballot, only the names of the two who received the highest number of votes on the fourth ballot will be retained, and the two candidates do not vote. (cf. CCRR 136)
Fr. Superior General invites us – Oblates, lay associates and all those who are part of the larger Oblate/Mazenodian family – that in all your gatherings, be they at the local community level, the district or the Unit level, make time for prayer and reflection on the Chapter theme; tell stories of pilgrimages, of hope and of communion; and share about issues of mission and consecrated life. Certainly, the theme has provided us with many points of departure for such sharing and animation. For the Chapter Prayer please go to the link: