45 confreres (44 capitulars and a secretary--your humble blogger) gathered at Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw, N.Y., on the morning of March 11 for the provincial chapter of the New Rochelle Province. The chapter is scheduled to run through March 18, and its main task is to discuss topics proposed for next year's general chapter (GC27) of the Society.
The chapter began at 9:00 a.m. with three hours of prayer and reflection, led by Fr. Bill Keane, master of novices. He spoke of finding God in our lives as well as of the themes of the upcoming general chapter such as “mystics, prophets, and servants” and “work and temperance.”
Each day begins with Morning Prayer in common, is centered on the celebration of the Eucharist, and includes Evening Prayer and a Good Night. In addition to meals, there are social gatherings in the evening after the day’s work has been wrapped up.
In the chapter’s first business session, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Fr. Tom Dunne presented a report on the state of the province, incorporating statistics, Fr. Esteban Ortiz’s report after the extraordinary visitation last year, Fr. Pascual Chavez’s commendations and recommendations following that visitation, and Fr. Dunne’s own perspectives.The members of the chapter responded to the provincial’s report during that same afternoon session as well as in the evening session. Some themes that came forth: the urgency of acting on the challenges we face; the need for vocation animation; stress on the Salesian mission; preparing lay people to share the mission; the challenges of redimensioning the province; Hispanic ministry; a sense of hope.
In addition to general sessions, the capitulars have been spending a lot of time divided into five discussion groups of seven to ten members.
On March 12 the chapter discussed “Salesians as mystics,” first in groups and then in general session. Discussion was finished by 4:00 p.m., and the chapter’s writing committee (Frs. Lou Molinelli, Dave Moreno, and Tom Ruekert) prepared a two-page (double-spaced) synthesis to present to the chapter, which, after amendment and approval, will be forwarded to GC27’s precapitular commission. (Your humble servant assists them with his editorial skills.)
|The secretary's work station; he doesn't really work for Morning Edition (but his niece does!).|
In addition, the confreres are trying to follow events happening elsewhere.