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1AG - Moving to the next phase of the chapter

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After a day of celebration that included a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a trip to Frascati and a musical performance at Cristo Re in Rome, the capitulars moved to the next phase of their task: work on the theme of the General Chapter (Merciful, in Community, with the Poor).
They began by grounding themselves in prayer; much of Thursday morning was devoted to extended Adoration. Then it was on to small group discussions where the capitulars surfaced priorities and actions for the congregation as it looks toward its future.
DSC 0493A committee synthesized the input of the small groups, sorting the priorities and actions into eight areas: formation, spirituality and identity, organization of the general government, preferential option for the poor, community life, internationality and multiculturalism, a new evangelization, and mission.
Suggested action steps were listed under each theme, with some overlapping. Multicultural initiatives (such as learning a second language) were cited as ways to enhance not only a sense of internationality but also as a practical tool for members of an international community who might be living and ministering in a variety of cultural settings. A “preferential option for the poor” called for a spirit of mercy not just in actions toward the economically poor, but to all who are disenfranchised, including confreres and entities in difficult situations.
In an open dialogue in the meeting hall capitulars talked about creating situations that allow for creative solutions, and an openness to collaborating with professionals from outside of the community (not just in regards to technical concerns such as finance).
DSC 0498Regarding the theme of “mercy” itself, several capitulars cited the need for personal conversion. “You can’t change structures if you don’t first change the person,” said Fr. Carlos Alberto da Costa Silva.
In the afternoon the chapter heard another type of synthesis ––
 one done by a committee with the task of recording the themes, concerns and general discussions that have surfaced during the chapter. It wasn’t a formal “statement” on or from the chapter, but simply a summary of what had been heard.

This synthesis, combined with the report on the morning’s group discussions, as well as the reports received since the beginning of the chapter (including the Superior General’s report and that of the General Treasurer), are the tools that the capitulars will use in the days ahead to better identify themes for the congregation to address in the future, to create a “blueprint” for the new general administration.

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