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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Tuesday

Chapter Chat: Getting organized

Redemptorist Worldwide Chapter | Rome, Italy

Monday, Oct. 19

My dear confreres,

The first day of the General Chapter was similar to our first days at the high school seminary in North East, PA or at St. Alphonsus College in Suffield, CT. You kind of wandered around wondering what was going on. The building where the Chapter is being held, the Salesianum, run by the Salesians, is a very large building that might even be bigger than Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY. It is a kind of combination retreat center and hotel. The rooms are small but comfortable, and the food is good.

There are 107 delegates at the Chapter from 77 countries. There are 11 ex-officio members, 84 superiors, and 12 elected vocals. There is also a large staff of confreres serving as translators, notaries, and general support staff. They are terrific and have made us feel most at home. The Chapter is already a success in my eyes since we were given Chapter vests to wear; they’ve been helpful since it is chillier than expected.

The highlight of the day I think was the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit. Outgoing General Superior, Father Joseph Tobin, was the presider and he entered the chapel carrying a relic of Alphonsus and placed it on the altar as we sang “Veni Creator Spiritus.” The Mass was celebrated in several languages. Father General gave a talk on knowing the question behind the question, and brought in the questions Alphonsus had as a young man and the question of Jesus to the Apostles (similar to our canonical visitation question: What are you looking for?). You can watch Father Tobin’s homily here.

 

The first sessions were spent in familiarizing ourselves with the voting machines and translation headphones, naming tellers, presenting the schedule, and calling the Chapter to order. It was a rather easy day. The elections of the Superior General and the Council seem to be at least a week or more away.

Tuesday, October 20

Today was a retreat day. The retreat director was Archbishop Agostino Gardin, OFM. He is the secretary of the Secretariat of Religious Life, the former head of the Conference of Superior Generals, the former Superior General of the Conventual Franciscans, and a good friend of Father Tobin.

The archbishop gave us two outstanding conferences on religious life. His main point was a simple but profound one: the essence of religious life is being in love with Jesus Christ. He had read the Instumentum Laboris for the XXIV General Chapter and thought it a fine tool for us to use. Today’s liturgy, like yesterday, was for all the members of the Chapter, and it again was prayed and sung in numerous languages. Everyone seems to be finding their way around the house and getting to know one another.

Ciao,  

Father Pat Woods
Provincial Superior
Baltimore Province