Convocation of the XXXIVth General Chapter

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Superior Generalis
Missionariorum Oblatorum B.M.V. Immaculatae
Via Aurelia 290, Roma 00165
Indirizzo Postale: C.P. 9061, 00100 Roma - Aurelio, Italia
Tel: +39 06 39 87 71 Fax: +39 06 39 37 53 22



Dear Brother Oblates,

Under the patronage of St. Eugene de Mazenod I hereby convoke the XXXIVth General Chapter. The Superior General in Council, in the course of the Plenary session held in May, has decided that the Chapter is to open on Monday, the 30th of August 2004, at 9:00 am, with its closure foreseen for Tuesday, 28th of September. It is to be held in the General House of the Brothers of Christian Schools, 476 via Aurelia, Rome.

Privileged time for the Congregation
“The General Chapter is the highest authority of the Congregation. It meets regularly to strengthen the bonds of unity and to express the members’ participation in the life and mission of the Congregation. United around Christ, the Oblate family shares the lived experience of its communities as well as the challenges and hopes of its ministry. The Chapter is a privileged time of community reflection and conversion. Together, in union with the Church, we discern God’s will in the face of urgent needs of our times. We also reflect, cherish, and thank the Lord for the work of salvation which he accomplishes through us” – Cons. 125.

“The General Chapter 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, it also makes changes in the Rules and proposes to the Holy See modifications in the Constitutions” – Cons. 126.

These two Constitutions, which I have quoted in full length, indicate to us that a General Chapter is an event of great significance. It is a “Kairos”, a privileged moment in which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the charism of the Institute is revitalized within our present historical context.

The elected delegates
I have also decided that June 1, 2003, be the official date of the Convocation. This date therefore, is the one to be reckoned for computing our membership, in order to determine the exact number of elected capitulants from each Region. You will find in the Annex the precise number of the delegates to be elected according to the official count of personnel as approved for publication by the Superior General in council.

According to the new Constitutions and Rules, all the Provincials will participate in this Chapter. As for the delegates, they will be elected by the Oblates of each Region, following the procedures that are to be established by the Conference of Major Superiors of each Region, and confirmed by the Superior General in Council. These regional procedures will hopefully foster the unity and identity of each Region.

A journey already begun …
The preparation of the Chapter is well on its way. The Pre-Capitular Commission has been busy in initiating this process. It has proposed the theme: “Witnessing to Hope: A Call, Our Mission”. This theme expresses the dream, that the Chapter will reap the full benefits from the Strategizing Plans resulting from the “Immense Hope” process, that is by now familiar to all the units of the Congregation.

Questionnaires have been sent out in order to determine with more precision what the Chapter should discuss at the present moment in the history of the Congregation. It would seem that, based on the most recent General Chapters that considered broad themes, it may be appropriate for this Chapter to concentrate more specifically on “concrete issues”.

The Pre-Capitular Commission is waiting for the few responses that are still to come, and in July 2003 it will prepare a synthesis of the responses received. This synthesis will be sent to the Congregation for further reflection and preparation. This process invites each Oblate and local community to contribute to the Chapter, both through collegial reflection and prayer. I have no doubt that; through the consultation the local communities have already entered into the spirit of the Chapter, thus contributing collegially to this important event of our Congregation.

Renewing the spiritual fire of our Charism
Charism means gift of the Spirit – and we realize more and more how precious a gift St. Eugene’s charism has been, and is for our present times. Today, this charism bears fruit even beyond the confines of the Congregation itself. It manifests itself in our lay collaborators, as well as in other institutes, and in individuals who are guided by his spirit. The Chapter is the time of grace to receive anew this spiritual fire and revive its flames, letting it stir in our hearts a renewed missionary zeal. It is a moment to build the unity and spirit of communion among us, especially, at a time when the landscape of the Congregation is growing more and more multi-cultural.

Like the Apostles gathered with Mary, we need to invoke the Spirit, in union with the entire family that was inspired by Saint Eugene’s charism, and with all the Oblates on earth and in heaven. I am pleased to invite the Oblate communities throughout the world to pray together for God’s blessings on the coming Chapter.

Rome, May 28, 2003

Fr. Wilhelm Steckling, OMI
Superior General





Prayer for the Forthcoming Chapter


Loving Saviour!

Through St. Eugene you have called us to be your co-operators.
You have entrusted us with the mission of proclaiming your Gospel,
to the poor and the most abandoned,
to the least touched by the regular ministry of the Church.

As our Congregation prepares for the General Chapter,
we ask for the gift of your Spirit on every Oblate.

Let the Chapter be a moment of truthful evaluation,
leading to a renewed sense of our mission;
a time to renew ourselves
in a religious and community life centered on you;
an opportunity to commit ourselves with a new daring,
to the needs of the world, for which you gave your life.

Let us become channels of your immense hope
in a world thirsting for the Spirit,
longing for justice, peace and love.

We ask this of you
through the intercession of Mary our Mother
and of Saint Eugene de Mazenod.



Elections for the General Chapter 2004

1. Number of Delegates and Substitutes to be elected by each Region

R 128b. The total number of Oblates of each Region, on which the number of elected delegates will be based, is fixed on the date of convocation. This is determined sufficiently in advance by the Superior General to allow for the Conferences of the Regions to establish the electoral units or some other appropriate method of election.

On the basis of the statistics at the General Secretariat, and computing in accordance with the provisions of Rule 128a, the number of delegates and substitutes to be elected (1 substitute for each delegate) in each Region are given below:


Number of Delegates

Number of Substitutes




Latin America









United States






General House*



Total Delegates/Substitutes



* cf. R 128a 1. 4.



2. Electoral Procedures

Each Regional Conference determines its electoral units, the number of Delegates and substitutes to be elected in each electoral unit, likewise its Electoral Procedures in conformity with the provisions of Rule 128a

R 128a 3. Electoral units; number of delegates and substitutes per unit; at least 1 Brother elected per Region.
R 128a 5. Equitable representation of Delegations and Missions in the total number of delegates of the Region
R 128a 6. Approval by the Superior General in Council

3. Sending of the Electoral Procedures

In order to give sufficient time for the elections, the Regional Conferences are requested to forward their Electoral Procedures to the Precapitular Commission for the approval by the Superior General in Council (cf R 128a 6.):
- Last date for sending: 20 July 2003

Please give preference to communication by e-mail:
- By fax: 39 06 39 37 53 22
- By post: OMI Precapitular Commission,
CP 9061, 00100 Roma-Aurelio,

4. Please note the last date for receiving names of Delegates: 31 December 2003