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“Journey of Brotherhood: Unveiling Bonds at the 33rd General Chapter”

Exploring Convictions, Embracing Fraternity, and Seeking Divine Guidance

Getting to know one another

Living together for more than four weeks means putting a name to a face, taking an interest in each other’s lives and getting to know one another. The afternoon activities on Wednesday, April 03, 2024, led by Bros Dionigi Taffarello and James T. K., focused on the icebreakers.

To take a badge at the entrance to the General Chapter Hall and introduce the Brother whose name is written on it: First name, Province, present mission. Not always an easy exercise with first names that are difficult to read for some.

Sharing in small groups about the convictions on religious life and expectations for the 33rd General Chapter.

Songs and games in the backyard of the General House, led by the talented Bro. Michel Mendy.

More than just games, all these playful tools were real levers for promoting openness, encouraging the exchange of ideas and boosting fraternity.

Presentation of the Chapter Document

A General Chapter is a time to listen to the Spirit, to allow ourselves to be guided and to discern what is best for a Congregation, its members and its mission within the World and the Church. It was in this context that Brother Jaico Gervasis, Chairman of the Chapter Preparatory Committee, presented the Chapter Document with skill and pedagogy. After recalling the entire process that led to the choice of the theme for the 33rd General Chapter, Bro. Jaico Gervasis invited the capitulants to revisit the Prophetism in the Bible and the motto of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, ‘God alone’, as a compass for navigating a turbulent society.

Bro. Jaico Gervasis then presented to the delegates the following Chapters which form part of the Chapter document:

Chapter 2: Prophets in today’s context

Chapter 3: Montfort and the Montfortians

Chapter 4: Life in the Spirit

Chapter 5: Mission: Social Transformation

Chapter 6: Mission: Transformation of the Environment

Chapter 7: Structure and Process of Administration

He also gave practical indications for group sharing and discernment, and the identification of major challenges.

He ended his talk by inviting the capitulants to sing the hymn composed for the 33rd General Chapter: “To follow the Lord and find freedom...”.

Recollection on Thursday 04 April 2024

At the official Opening Ceremony of the 33rd General Chapter, Bros. Pratap Reddy and Jean-Paul Mbengue, the Moderators, reminded the participants that a General Chapter is an important time for seeking God’s will and for spiritual and community renewal.

Father David Kinnear Glenday, the Facilitator, helped the capitulants to deepen their search for God’s will, during the recollection on Thursday, April 04, 2024.

Three texts guided his reflection:

The first of these biblical passages focuses on the charism of the story of the Annunciation in Lk. 1, 26-35. Although this story is familiar to us, it raises the following questions in our hearts: what does the Annunciation mean to you, Brother of Saint Gabriel, today? Where does it take place? What is it like?

The second passage of 2 Corinthians 1:17 begins with a question that seems extremely relevant to the present situation of the present General Chapter. Am I making my plans according to ordinary human standards? We must bear in mind that prophecy begins with God. Prophecy begins in the heart, the loving heart of the father that we heard in the video, so it seems to me that a very important question at this point in the chapter is: how does God speak? Yes, what is God’s style? How does God intervene? How does God act?

The third text was from the Gospel of Saint Luke 2:8... Mary treasured all these words and placed them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told... We have heard in recent days that prayer is at the heart of this Chapter. Perhaps each of us can answer the question: what does this mean for me? Prayer is at the heart of the chapter.  He then suggested that the capitulants enter into conversation with Mary and ask her the following question: Mary, what would it mean if prayer became the heart of the chapter?

Election of the Moderators and the Secretary of the Chapter

On April 5th, Bro. James T. K began the first session by reading the Rules and Regulations of the 33rd General Chapter. In the following session, the capitulants elected two Francophone Moderators (Bro. Jean Marie Thior and Bro. René Delorne) and two Anglophone Moderators (Bro. Paul Raj and Bro. Varghese Theckanath). Bro. Jaico Gervasis was elected as the Secretary for the 33rd General Chapter.  During the 1st Steering Committee Meeting on 5th evening, Bro. Jean Marie Thior was elected as the Chairman of the Steering Committee, and Bro. Paul Raj accepted to be the Secretary of the Steering Committee of the Chapter.

National Day of Senegal:

During the dinner, the participants of the General Chapter and the community of the Casa Generalizia joined with the Senegalese Brothers in celebrating their National Day. Bro. Bernard, our archivist and a missionary to Senegal, along with the other Brothers from Senegal sang the National Anthem of Senegal.

Bro. Louis Antonysamy

In-charge for Communication.

33 GC News n°2 ENG
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