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Opening Ceremony of the 33rd General Chapter

Rome, 03 April - 01 May 2024


The 33rd General Chapter of the Brothers of Saint Gabriel was opened this morning by Bro. John Kallarackal, Superior General. As a reminder, the theme of the Chapter is "Montfortian Prophetic Presence in the 21st century" and the motto is "Care to listen, dare to care".

 

The 51 members of the General Chapter came from 11 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. In addition to the capitulants, Father David Kinnear Glenday, a Comboni Missionary, is the facilitator of the Chapter. Bro. Jean-Marie Ndour (Province of Senegal) and Bro. Jenny Kuriakose (Province of Bengaluru) are the Chapter Secretaries. Bro. Rémi Ndong (Province of Senegal) and Bro. Michel Mendy (Province of Senegal) are in charge of the simultaneous translation.

 

The opening Mass was celebrated on Wednesday April 03, 2024 at 09:00 by Bishop Gianrico Ruzza, titular bishop of the dioceses of Civitavecchia-Tarquinia and Porto-Santa Rufina. Our General House is located in the diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina.

During his homily, commenting on the episode of the disciples of Emmaus, Mgr Gianrico Ruzza invited the capitulants to take two main steps: to listen to and to walk. Following the example of Jesus who listened to the painful memories of the last three days narrated by the disciples of Emmaus, the Brothers were invited to listen to the Word of God in order to better hear the expectations of the world, of society and of the Church. In other words, it involves getting close to people, to their intimacy, their suffering, their lives. It means accompanying them, taking time to listen to them, hearing their questions.


Mgr Gianrico Ruzza also invited the Brothers to share the journey, to walk with others, to travel together; in other words, to make this 33rd General Chapter a real experience of synodality.



At 11.00 am, all the capitulants, the Brothers, Sisters and Fathers living in the General House and the Collaborators gathered in front of the statue of Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort for the opening ceremony. To help the capitulants live out this journey of faith, Brother Jean-Paul Mbengue, Assistant General, reminded the august assembly that the gathering this morning is like that of the Apostles in the Upper Room, with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Coming from North and South, East and West, "from every culture and language", the capitulants are gathered around the theme of the 33rd General Chapter, an important spiritual journey to seek God's will for spiritual and community renewal.

 

Like a people on the march towards the Lord, the capitulants then proceeded to the General Chapter Hall in procession, carrying with them symbolic objects:

 

  • Candles, symbols of light (Jn 8:12) and the Hope.

  • The statue of the Virgin Mary, to call upon her benevolent presence throughout the Chapter.

  • The statues of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, Blessed Marie Louise de Jésus and Father Gabriel Deshayes - a way of remembering that the Holy Founders make a vibrant appeal to us to become authentic prophets for our time.

  • The Positio of the Spanish brothers and their chaplain, presumed martyrs - an opportunity to intensify our Prayers for the cause of the Beatification of our Brothers whose Positio was approved by the Committee of Historians on 18th April, 2023..

  • The logo in French and English, a pillar of visual communication to remind the capitulants of the reason for their presence in Rome.

  • The flags of the different countries where the Brothers are sent on mission, express the sense of universality, the diversity and richness of each country, but also the colors of the cultures, the faces of the people with whom we share the educational and charismatic mission.

 

Inaugural message from the Superior General

After having extended a warm and fraternal welcome to the capitulants, the Superior General reminded them of the spiritual dimension of the General Chapter: “The Holy Spirit is the one who should guide, steer and inspire a General Chapter. Therefore, it was in the fitness of things to begin the General Chapter with the Eucharistic celebration, invoking the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And for several months now, the Brothers all over the world have been reciting the Prayer for the 33rd General Chapter, praying: “Empower and enable us with the power and wisdom of your Holy Spirit”. 

 

The Superior General also reminded about the Mission of the General Chapter in the following terms: “The primary objective in the General Chapter should be to protect our spiritual patrimony, the heritage that we have received from Montfort, namely, his motto “God Alone”, and his spirituality comprising the love of the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, love of the Cross, a tender love towards the Virgin Mary, absolute trust in Providence and his concrete love for the poor and those whom the world rejects! In short, being the Montfortian Prophetic Presence in the 21st Century! The Chapter’s mission is also to foster appropriate renewal and adaptation, reading the signs of the times, facilitating the growth with creative fidelity to the Montfortian charism”.

 

The Superior General also emphasized the Revision of the Rule of Life and the Constitutions, the dynamics of the Chapter, the recommendations for future priorities, and the theme of the Chapter:Therefore, during the Chapter we should judge whether we are attentive to the voice of God, who is challenging us through the Church and the world! We need the grace to respond positively to the call and the courage to stand up and make a difference, true to the motto of the 33rd General Chapter: “Care to Listen and Dare to Care”.


The Superior General concluded his opening message by thanking all those who had spent time, energy and dedication in the meticulous planning of our 33rd General Chapter.


Finally, the Superior General declared the 33rd General Chapter of the Brothers of Saint Gabriel, open. Then it's off to work for four weeks.

 

Bro. Louis Antonysamy

In-charge for Communication

 


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