Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Day 22 of the Chapter. Grande Finale.

Another beautiful liturgy together with many languages represented from the Oriens region. Dom Eamon was the principle celebrant. Our work in the Aula got underway at the usual time. There was much comradery in the air. We went through the presentation of votes 64 through 71. Then those were set aside and we listened to the end-of-Chapter evaluations of the 14 commissions. This Chapter received rave reviews. There was much praise for the Central Commission and the ad hoc commissions. Problems and issues had been handled very efficiently when they came up, and with much pastoral solicitude. As one commission put it, “The sensitivity of the Chapter toward difficult situations is remarkable.” Comments were made that this Chapter had more of a fraternal feel to it. The Papal Audience and Mass in St. Peter’s was seen as a highlight. Much thanks was expressed to the translators and secretaries and other staff members of our Order for keeping the Chapter running so smoothly.

After the mid-morning break, we came back to take votes 64-71. There was great unanimity in all the votes, and we finished them quickly, thanks to the electronic voting process and seeing the results on the overhead screen. Then the various members of our support team came into to the room and went up front where we were able to give them an enthusiastic round of applause.

Dom Eamon’s final address was the last item on the agenda. He is such a wonderful example of humility and simplicity and fatherly love. He commented that this Chapter was full of life, good energy, good humor, and a shared concern about our way of life. This Chapter sparkled with friendships, fraternity and dialogue. He told us that we need to not only go out to others but go deeper into ourselves; we need more interiority. He encouraged us to move more along the path of revitalization. And he pointed out that there will be much from these days to reflect on later, much to unpack from this rich Chapter. He expressed his gladness that the Papal audience had gone so well – this had been our 3rd attempt after two cancelations at the last couple General Chapters. We expressed our gratitude to him with prolonged applause, and he officially closed the General Chapter of 2017 around 11:40. What a blessing to have been part of it.

Impressions: Holiness perfects human nature. I can see it in the faces of the participants of this General Chapter. And it can take such a variety of forms. Many from the outside may see our life as confining, but it produces great freedom. It can be witnessed in the pictures in the “gallery” pull-down tab of this blog page. The Holy Spirit was alive and well in our gathering here this September. A very special thanks to all who prayed for us.

Fr. Stephen, Genesee