CALLED TO CONVERSION: THE CHAPTER BEGINS!From the five regions of the Oblate world, the capitulars and staff of the 35th General Chapter are arriving in the Eternal City to begin what our Oblate Constitutions and Rules call: “…a privileged time of community reflection and conversion. Together, in union with the Church, as we discern God’s will in the urgent needs of our times, we also thank the Lord for the work of salvation which he accomplishes through us” (C 125).
“It was felt that we had reached a basic agreement on these principles and even on ways to bring them to fruition, but that they had not yet become full reality. The one missing element was a change of heart. Intellectually and theoretically we may often be clear about concepts and ideals, models and action paths, but the heart is not fully engaged. We realized that our whole life style as missionaries had to change so that we could live together more harmoniously, be more consistent in prayer and reflection, and then cross the borders to witness to Jesus Christ to the poorest and most abandoned in more creative ways.”
The work of the capitulars is cut out for them. Again quoting our Constitutions and Rules: “The General Chapter is the highest authority within the Congregation. It elects the Superior General and his Council, articulates our missionary vision, determines general policy for the Congregation and makes whatever decisions are required. If need be, the Chapter also makes changes in the Rules or proposes to the Holy See modifications in the Constitutions” (C 125, 126).
There will be reports from the Superior General and the General Treasurer. Each region will present its report to the Chapter assembly, as will the Permanent Committee of Oblate Brothers and representatives of the Commission of Oblates and Lay Associates. The Government Committee mandated by the 2004 General Chapter has worked for five years in order to fulfill its mandate. It is proposing a number of changes to the Constitutions and Rules concerning the structures of the Congregation. There will also be other proposals to discuss and consider, related to our missionary vision for the future. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for the capitulars will be to do all that they are mandated to do, all the while keeping its focus on the Chapter’s theme of conversion.
The Oblate Communications Service will make every effort to keep the entire Oblate family informed about what is happening at the 35th General Chapter. The most up-to-date news will be found on www.omiworld.org. Plans are being made to have a printed version of OMI Information in the mail shortly after the election of the new Superior General; in it, there will be a Chapter Chronicle. There will also be an edition of OMI Information after the Chapter, in October, with a continuation of the Chapter Chronicle. The final Acts of the General Chapter will be published in OMI Documentation, once the final version is ready.
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