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.
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” –
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
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
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.
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
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”.
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.
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
for the Forthcoming Chapter
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.
our Congregation prepares for the General Chapter,
we ask for the gift of your Spirit on every Oblate.
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.
us become channels of your immense hope
in a world thirsting for the Spirit,
longing for justice, peace and love.
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
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
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