We must say something prophetic to the friars
Chapter delegates have something to say
DOMUS PACIS, ASSISI - The first week of the General Chapter came to a close with a half-day session on Saturday which was an open discussion among the Chapter delegates sharing the fruits of their small group discussions from Friday.
The first session included feedback was from their discussions of the presentation on the
Instrumentum Laboris (working document) that they received on Friday. The second session followed input from Dominic Monti, OFM (HNP), who is at the Chapter in the role of
peritus or "expert" and is part of a three-person group who will draft the final document of the chapter. The other members of this commission are Cesare Vaiani, OFM and Fr?d?ric Manns, OFM.
Dominic, speaking on behalf of the three, explained their role:
"We might be the scriptores, but the document has to come from this group. We remember at the chapter of 1221, when the friars were going to propose their way of life for confirmation to the Roman Curia, they debated what they wanted in the text. They asked Br. Caeser of Spire to add Scripture to the text. I think the image is limited, but we have been asked for the same reason. Fr?d?ric has taught scripture for many years; Cesare and I have backgrounds in Franciscan studies. We will be able to give a certain spiritual depth to what you want to say as a Chapter. But, you are the voice of the friars and we want very much to say what YOU are saying. We want to hear what the mood is, what the spirit is, what the friars are saying. When we work on the document we want to take into consideration the things that area being expressed by you, so we can put together a document that the brothers can read that can inspire them to give them a sense of what we're doing here over these days. We will be doing our work in the coming weeks and we will bring it back to you for your approval. It should be something that emerges from the mood and spirit of you the capitulars. We are here to listen, to distill what is emerging from the floor."
One thing was clear from the sharing of the Capitulars this morning: they have something to say to the friars of the world, and they are hoping that it will be significant and prophetic.
|Dominic Monti, OFM (HNP) welcoming the input for the final document.
(Photo by Joseph Magro, OFM)
It began with the reflection of one of the groups that said, "We need to speak about w
hat the prophetic choices of this body will be. Instead of simply creating mandates, as has been done in the past, we need to create a document that has flesh instead of one that merely has paper. This needs to be something that can serve as a stimulus for all the brothers of our Order."
Several of the groups reflected back to the larger body the same theme that we produce good and wonderful documents and pass worthy mandates and rules, and yet, they don't seem to reach the level of the lived experience of the friars; they don't seem to accomplish the oft-hoped for reform and renewal of the life of the fraternity. There was a palpable sense in the Chapter hall this morning that this Chapter be different.
"We want to give a prophetic sign to the world," said Provincial Minister Cornelius Bohl, OFM (Germany).
Provincial Minister John Hardin, OFM (SB), said, "We have the Gospels, our Rule and the Constitutions. We don't need more documents. What we need is a
radical revisioning of our life and ministry.
Otherwise, who are we going to attract?"
|Pictured are (l.) Secretary of the General Chapter William Short, OFM (SB) and (r.) Provincial Minister John Puodziunas, OFM (ABVM), serving as Moderator today.
This sentiment was agreed with by Provincial Minister Astijus Kungys, OFM (Lithuania), "We have to say something radical.
We have to inspire the brothers.
There were also many comments calling on a recomitment to the life of prayer, particularly with a focus on contemplative prayer.
A final comment captured the tenor of the morning, "I am overjoyed at this beautiful dialogue."
The friars had the rest of the day free. On Sunday, there is an optional pilgrimage to the Rieti Valley and the sanctuary at Greccio. The business of the Chapter resumes on Monday morning.