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1AG - May 21: approval of treasurer's report, reflecting on Instrumentum Laboris

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Just as with Fr. General’s report, capitulars broke into multilingual, multi-cultural groups to discuss the general treasurer’s report. This was presented by Fr. Aquilino Mielgo Domínguez on Wednesday, as was the report of the financial experts.
Reporting back in the meeting hall, small groups echoed much of what Fr. Aquilino had said. Sharing between the entities must continue and grow stronger. However, solidarity also calls for transparency. The concept of a “common purse” is vital to Dehonian religious life.
DSC 0323BYet, while it is important that those entities with more resources share with those who have less, it is equally important that all entities work toward self-sufficiency.
Regarding the financial management of the congregation, the capitulars endorsed the need for external audits, not just at the congregational level, but within entities. The suggestion of a team of financial experts who could assist entities on-site, was also endorsed. This would be a flexible team that might include local experts, as well as a core group of professional business managers, development directors and/or other financial experts.
There was recognition that the congregation must do more long-term planning at every level. Economic formation should continue, not just for men who will serve as bursars of their entity, but also those who will be treasurers in their local communities.
The chapter voted to approve the general treasurer’s report and the presentation of accounts. Fr. Aquilino, the General Finance Commission, the panel of experts and the treasurer’s staff were thanked by Fr. Ornelas for their work, and with a show of applause, by the entire chapter.


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The Instrumentum Laboris
The Instrumentum Laboris is a “working document” for the chapter. It is the result of input received from questionnaires done by individual SCJs as well as entities. It was developed by the Chapter Preparatory Commission, which was chosen at the 2013 meeting of the Major Superiors. The commission included Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño, Fr. Heiner Wilmer, Fr. Léopold Mfouakouet, Fr. Oliviero Cattani and Fr. Vincent Sri Herimanto.
They chose “mercy” as the underlying theme of the XXIII General Chapter. “If we do not experience in our own life the merciful love of God, only with great difficulty will we be able to speak of a community of love or of mercy lived in community, and even less so will we be able to be merciful to the poor,” states the Instrumentum Laboris. “Without this basic personal experience of God’s merciful love, everything else is meaningless.”
Fr. Heiner highlighted the opening texts in the document as he gave background to the chapter theme: “Merciful, in Community, with the Poor.” He, along with the rest of the committee present at the chapter, introduced the Instrumentum Laboris and the process to be used in addressing it.
“We wanted to involve as many people as possible in the preparation of this document,” said Fr. Leopold. This was the reason for two questionnaires: one for individual SCJs and a second that asked for a wider, community reflection.
DSC 0411“It is the fruit of the reflections of many,” said Fr. Carlos Enrique. “It helps us to look in the mirror and see the diverse realities in which we are living, to see what is urging us to move forward as we discern our future.”
He emphasized that the document is “not a cage that constricts us. This is a starting point that gives the chapter challenges to reflect on. More may come about in our discussions.”
Following the presentation the capitulars reflected on the Instrument Laboris individually and in small groups.
The day ended with a presentation on the International College (Collegio) by Fr. Leo Heck, local superior, and one on the North American entities, presented by Fr. Stephen Huffstetter and Fr. Bill Marrevee.
Fr. Leo noted that the Collegio is one of the most diverse communities in the congregation with 15 countries and 18 entities represented. It is one of several communities under the same roof, including the general curia, curia staff, and groups, such as the long-term formation programs.


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