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Superior General

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Most Rev. Agnelo Frenandes

CONVOCATION OF THE GENERAL CHAPTER 2007

   

Theme for General Chapter 2007 | Outline of Themes | Modalities | Capitulants

Preparations for the GC-2007 | Prayer for GC-2007

 

My Dear confreres,

 

Six years after the last Ordinary General Chapter of 2001, our 18th Ordinary General Chapter is due to take place in 2007.  The General Council in its meeting held in Fribourg from 15th to 21st June 2005 decided to convoke the General Chapter sufficiently in advance, in keeping with the mind of the members of the Congregation as expressed in the new text of the Constitutions.

 

Therefore according to Article 153 of our present Constitution I hereby convoke Ordinary General Chapter

to take place from 20th May to 5th June 2007

at Suvidya College, Bangalore.

 

Such a convocation of a General Chapter is a time of grace and renewal for every member of the Congregation as it is supreme legislative and teaching authority in the congregation. It is a time for us to keep our hearts and minds open to allow God’s Spirit to work in us and forge us into better instruments for His Mission.

 

Let us recall with gratitude the significance of this event and the challenge and responsibility it will place on each of us. (NTC = new text of the MSFS Constitutions)

  1. The General Chapter preserves the fidelity of the Congregation to its charism. (NTC 189)

  2. It collectively reads the signs of the times and discerns the working of the Holy Spirit. (NTC 189)

  3. It is the authentic body of the entire Congregation. (NTC 190)

  4. It is the true symbol of the unity of the Congregation, of every member’s participation in and concern and love for, the life and activity of the entire Congregation. (NTC 190)

  5. It is an agent of systematic planning for the effective carrying out of the mission of the Church in willing obedience to her teachings and in fidelity to the charism of our Congregation.

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THEME OF THE GENERAL CHAPTER 2007

   

   

 

"Following Jesus, The First Missionary and Leader in Every Mission

(Fr. Peter Mary Mermier)

 

“I have totally dedicated myself to the work of the missions, the sublime ministry of Jesus Christ who is the first missionary and leader in every mission.” 

- Fr. Peter Mary Mermier

 

This theme is the Response of our Congregation to the follow-up work on the theme of the World Congress of Religious, held in Rome in November 2004.

 

It is 40 years since the Decree Perfectae Caritatis on Religious life by Vatican II was promulgated.  It is 10 years since the Papal Exhortation on Vita Consacrata was issued by the Holy Father John Paul II. In November 2004 a World Congress on Vita Consacrata was held in Rome in which 850 religious men and women from all the continents participated.  It was for the first time that such a Congress was held. The theme of the Congress was “Passion for Christ and Passion for Humanity.” As religious we are called to “follow Jesus passionately and motivated by His compassion, to share His compassion, to share His passion for each human being”, as the working document prepared by the Congress puts it.  As missionaries of St. Francis de Sales called to “live in God’s love and for His Love”, we are called to go beyond fidelity to passion.

 

A wealth of in-put talks, reflections and findings of the World Congress on Religious Life are at our disposal. It is necessary that all of us have access to this inspirational material. The Daughters of St Paul, Africa have published a book: Passion for Christ and Passion for Humanity. (Pauline Publications Africa, 2005) I request each community to have this copy available in its library. I will also request Fr. K. P. Joseph, Co-ordinator of www.fransalians.com to display on the website a few important talks of the World Congress. Provincials may kindly display the same in their province websites and reach these materials to as many confreres as possible.

 

The coming two years will be a prayerful reflective time for the entire Congregation to engage in a dialogue with God, and with each other to recapture the initial Passion for Jesus which triggered our life’s momentous decisions of total consecration to Him.

 

Our study and reflection will be in the form of a process through a series of sub-themes as given below with the help of icons taken from the Scriptures and taken from the legacy of our Congregation. Icons are powerful images that evoke and provoke a response similar to that of the icon.

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OUTLINE OF THE THEME AND SUB-THEMES

 

Theme:

FOLLOWING JESUS, THE FIRST MISSIONARY AND LEADER IN EVERY MISSION

 

Reasons for the choice of the theme:

  1. There is need for religious life to recapture the fascination and enchantment of following Jesus which alone can make us effective witnesses and missionaries. Personal relationship with Jesus and experience of Him in Word, Sacrament and Ministry is crucial for renewal of religious life today.

  2. A Congregation like ours needs to remind itself of the missionary dimension of its charism as proposed to us in the life of St. Francis de Sales and by Fr. Peter Mary Mermier. Our Founder says that Christ is to be our first model: the first Missionary. The theme can reflect on Jesus as the first missionary. Also on St. Francis de Sales and Fr. Mermier as missionaries.

  3. There is crisis of leadership in the secular world as well as in the religious world. Leaders at all levels are very crucial to initiate new orientations, new directions, new commitments. Jesus was the perfect leader. The theme can examine his leadership and the leadership model that he places before us. The theme can examine and reflect on missionary leadership of St. Francis de Sales and of Fr. Mermier.

  4. Through input talks and interactions among the capitulants, the theme can lend itself to concrete ways in which Fransalians are called today to exercise missionary leadership of Jesus in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales and Fr. Mermier at a) administration level, b) local community level, c) ministry level and d) personal level. Also we can contribute to streamline our formation that has to aim at forming missionary leaders like Jesus.

The development of the theme will be done through sub-themes and through biblical icons and Traditional Fransalian icons:

 

 

First sub-theme

JESUS, THE MISSIONARY

(Passion for God and Passion for Humanity. Committed Contemplation and Contemplative Mercy)

 

Icon 1: The Samaritan Woman (John 4/5-34)

Icon 2: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10/25-37)

 

 

Second sub-theme

JESUS, THE LEADER

(Humble Service, Generous Compassion, Undying Commitment )

 

Icon 3: Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (Jn 13/1-17)

Icon 4: Jesus, multiplying the loaves (Luke 9/12-17; Mt14/14-21; Jn 6/5-13, Mk6/35-43)

Icon 5: Jesus, the Good Shepherd (Jn 10/11-16)

 

 

Third sub-theme

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES,

A MISSIONARY LEADER

(Zealous and Creative )

 

Icon 6:  St Francis de Sales in his “Chablais Experience”

 

 

Fourth sub-theme

FATHER PETER MARY MERMIER,

A MISSIONARY LEADER

(Persevering and Daring )

 

Icon 7: Fr. Mermier in his “I want Mission” experience

 

Follow-on  subthemes for development:

 

(i) CHALLENGES OF BEING A MISSIONARY LEADER TODAY

 

(ii) FORMATION FOR MISSIONARY LEADERSHIP

 

A)       formal formation

B)       ongoing formation

C)       leadership of religious community: congregation, province, local community

D)       nurturing personal leadership

 

PARTICIPATION OF EVERY MEMBER IS NECESSARY


The General Chapter is an event that affects each of us and our very vocation and mission. Therefore each is called to assume serious responsibility of participating in its preparation to enhance our collective congregational consciousness to respond to God’s call to listen to Him today and give a relevant and generous response. We need this two year time to study, reflect and pray on the theme as well as on many other issues that you may like to propose.

 

I wish to share with you our plan of Participation in the General Chapter by the entire Congregation. This plan is entrusted to each Provincial for implementation and monitoring, except when mentioned otherwise, so that we move together in an organized manner respecting the target dates. May this occasion of our preparation be a grace of unity and renewal in the entire Congregation.

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Who Organises and Monitors the Participation?

  • The Provincials/concerned persons when mentioned will kindly organize confreres in the best way possible and get them to meet according to the General Plan of Preparation  and give further instructions if necessary.

How many Meetings? What Duration?

  • There will be three meetings from September 2005 to August 2006. Each Meeting should be of at least one day and a half duration to allow members to reflect seriously on matters that concern our vocation, mission and the life of the Congregation.

  • Provinces that have other meetings, Congresses or Chapters, retreats can get the members for the Chapter reflections before or after the time allotted for those Meetings/Retreats.

  • Province Congresses/Chapters are urged to integrate the theme of the General Chapter into the theme of the Province Congress/Chapter.

What will we do at the Meetings?

  • Three Working Papers on the theme will be sent to the confreres by the Generalate by the end of August 2005.

  • The Three Working Papers

a)      Will assist you to reflect on the sub-themes.

b)      Will identify the sections of the Draft of the General Directory to be studied.

c)       Will invite you to make proposals and suggestions for the General Chapter deliberations.

  • The Working Papers will be sent in English. Each Province, where English is not spoken will kindly get the Working Papers and the General Directory translated into the appropriate language. Since the translation work will take time, it will be good for these Provinces to translate as much as is required for the Meeting ahead and not to wait for the entire translation of the given material, before it is dispatched to the members.

Who is Responsible for Printing and Distribution of the Working Papers and for Animating the Groups?

  • Printing of the Working Papers

English Version

It will be printed in India by the Generalate and distributed to all English speaking confreres through the Provincials, or sent directly to special groups of confreres as mentioned below.

French, Spanish and Portuguese Version

The English Version will be sent to the concerned Provincials in the month of August 2005. The concerned Provincials are kindly requested to get completed as much translation as may be required for each meeting, and distribute the same to the confreres.

  • Distribution of the Working Papers and Animation of the Groups

Confreres in USA, Germany-Austria

The Coordinator of Fransalians in Germany-Austria and the Co-ordinator of Fransalians in USA will be responsible to co-ordinate with the animators of apostolic communities the procedure of arranging meetings of confreres and collating one report of all the confreres in the countries concerned and send to the Secretary of the General Chapter (S-GC) and the Convenor of the Committee for drafting the General Directory (CGD). Copies of the Working Papers will be sent by the Generalate to the Co-ordinators for distribution among the members.

Confreres in Italy

The Superior of the Community in Rome will be responsible to coordinate the participation of the members in the preparation for the General Chapter 2007. He will send the Reports to the S-GC and to CGD. Copies of the Working Papers will be sent to the Superior of the Community for distribution among the members.

Confreres in German speaking part of Switzerland

A confrere will be designated to coordinate the participation of the members in the preparation for the General Chapter 2007. He will send the Reports to the S-GC and CGD. Copies of the Working Papers will be sent to the designated confrere for distribution among the members.

Confreres in Australia

A confrere will be designated to coordinate the participation of the members in the preparation for the General Chapter 2007.He will send the Reports to the S-GC and CGD. Copies of the Working Papers will be sent to the designated confrere for distribution among the members.

Professed Confreres in Suvidya College Bangalore, Fransalian Seminary Pune, Vinayalaya Bangalore

The Rectors will be responsible to co-ordinate the participation of the members in the preparation for the General Chapter 2007.  They will be responsible to send the Reports to the S-GC and CGD. Copies of working papers will be sent to the Rectors for distribution among the members.

Professed members in other Formation Houses in the Congregation, and all other confreres in the Provinces

The Provincials will organize their participation and also accept reports from them for collation. Copies of Working Papers will be sent by the Provincials to the Animator of the groups designated by the provincials.

 

Time-frame of Meetings and Reports

 

First Meeting  anytime between September 2005 to November 2005

 

ΠReports sent to the Provincial in two parts by 15th January 2006

  1. Report Part 1 on the theme, and on all chapter matters, except the proposals and suggestions on General Directory.

  2. Report Part 2 on General Directory sent separately to the Provincial/his delegate.

The Provincial gets the reports collated and sends:

  1. The consolidated Report Part 1 to the Secretary of the General Chapter by 15th February 2006.  Address of the Secretary of the General Chapter will be notified to you in due course of time.

  2. The consolidated Report Part 2 to Fr. Joseph Pottemmel, the Convenor of Committee for  Drafting  of the General  Directory  by 15th February  2006. His address is:  St John’s High School, Mohan Nagar, Nagpur 440001 India.

Second Meeting anytime between  January 2006 to April 2006

 

ΠReports sent in two Parts to the Provincial by 15th May 2006

Provincials send the Reports to the Secretary of the General Chapter (Part 1) and to Fr. Joseph Pottemmel (Part 2) by 15th June 2006

 

Third Meeting anytime between  May 2006 to August 2006

 

ΠReports sent to the Provincials by 15th August 2006

Provincials send the consolidated Reports in two Parts to the Secretary of the General Chapter and Fr. Joseph Pottemmel by  15th Sept. 2006

Ž Fr. Joseph Pottemmel sends the entire revised draft of the General Directory to Fr. Philip Valakodiyil Secretary of the Superior General in Rome by 1st November 2006

Fr. Philip, the Secretary of the Superior General sends the approved Text of the Constitutions and the text of the Draft of the General Directory (adapted to the approved text) to the Secretary of the General Chapter for distribution to the capitulants by 1st December 2006.

 

Summary outline of our Preparation for the General Chapter 2007

 

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CAPITULANTS OF THE GENERAL CHAPTER

 

The following confreres will take part in the General Chapter 2007.

 

Those by right of their office in the Congregation:

  • Superior General

  • 4 General Councillors

  • General Bursar

  • Procurator General to the Holy See

  • 9 Provincials of Brazil, England, East Africa, Franco-Swiss, Nagpur, North-East India, Pune, South-West and Visakhapatnam.

Elected Delegates:

  • 1 of Brazil

  • 1 of England

  • 2 of East Africa

  • 2 of Franco-Swiss Province

  • 2 of Nagpur

  • 3 of North-East India

  • 2 of Pune

  • 3 of South-West India

  • 3 of Visakhapatnam

NB: The General Council will finalise the list of invitees in the next General Council Meeting in November 2005.

 

The Provincials are kindly asked to start the election process of the delegates as per the norms laid down by our Constitutions and General Directory in vogue, and inform the Superior General about the names of the delegates and their substitutes latest by 20th October 2005.

 

THE APPOINTMENT OF THE SECRETARY AND STEERING COMMITTEE

 

The General Council will announce the List of Capitulants after its Meeting of November 2005 and appoint the Secretary of the General Chapter and its Steering Committee.

 

UNION IN PRAYER DURING THE PREPARATION FOR THE GENERAL CHAPTER

 

We will remain united in prayer throughout the preparation for the General Chapter and as a token of this communion we will recite the Prayer given at the end of the circular from 1st August 2005 to 5th June 2007.

 

Yours devotedly,

 

Fr. Agnelo Fernandes, MSFS

Superior General

  

 

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