July 31, 2010
Italy, Rome: Circular Letter of the General Superior to All Major Superiors and All Members of the Congregation Convoking the General Chapter of 2011 – in English
CIRCULAR LETTER OF THE GENERAL SUPERIOR
TO ALL MAJOR SUPERIORS AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION
CONVOKING THE GENERAL CHAPTER OF 2011
Prot. No 162/2010
“Consider your own calling, brothers” (1 Cor 1, 26)
Bearing in mind Decree No. 5 of the General Chapter of 2005, which instructs us to convoke a General Chapter during the first quarter of the final year which closes the term of office of the current General Government, and having obtained the opinion of the Superiors of the Provinces and Vicariates, and the consent of the General Council expressed in its session of July 8, 2010 (D 230), by means of this letter I convoke a General Chapter in Rome on February 4, 2011, at 8 pm, at which time the day of recollection shall begin (D 229). The closing of the Chapter is planned for February 20, 2011.
According to C 239, the following shall participate in the General Chapter: the current General Superior, General Council, Secretary General, General Treasurer, Provincial Superiors, and former General Superiors, as well as, by way of election: representatives of the Provinces and Vicariates.
The Provincial Superiors shall see to it that the Provinces and local communities entrusted to their care shall celebrate house and provincial chapters. Each Province must celebrate a chapter at least three months prior to the opening of the General Chapter and must inform the General Superior about it in advance (C 250). Local and provincial chapters ought to be celebrated according to the directives provided by our laws: paragraphs 250-253 of our Constitutions and paragraphs 251-253 of the Directory concerning the Provincial Chapters, while paragraphs 254 and 254-257 respectively deal with the local chapter. During the first session of the Provincial and Vicariate Chapters delegates for the General Chapter and their substitutes must be elected (C 239, 251).
General Vicariates, in order to elect one delegate for the General Chapter (D 233), shall celebrate a chapter with all professed members participating, but only perpetually professed members having an active and passive voice in the elections as per our law (C 231). The time and place of the Vicariate Chapter shall be chosen by the Vicariate Superior upon obtaining his council’s consent and having informed the General Superior. The General Vicariates are entitled to one delegate to the General Chapter and one substitute delegate.
I wish to remind all about changes made by the General Chapter of 1999 to paragraph 216 of our Directory: “Those who have the right to vote and to be elected, if they are working outside their own Province (Vice-Province, Vicariate, or General Vicariate) and are resident in that place for more than 12 months, shall take part in the voting and are eligible for the offices of the Province (Vice-Province, Vicariate, etc.) in which they are working” (D 216a). Copies of all protocols and documents of the Provincial and Vicariate Chapters must be promptly submitted to the General Superior and his council for review and approval (D 253).
Provincial and Vicariate Chapters must discuss and proffer proposals for the General Chapter (D 252.7) I also remind all that each religious house, as well as each of the confreres, may send proposals to the General Chapter either personally or through delegates to the Chapter. In order to avoid ambiguity, please clearly formulate the content and form of your proposal: e.g., as a decree, recommendation, encouragement, explanation, or changing of the Constitution or Directory.
In accord with D 229, no later than three months prior to the General Chapter, the General Council shall send to the Provinces and Vicariates the program of the General Chapter proceedings along with a draft of the Instructions on the manner of its celebration (D 231). The Provinces will be able to use these Instructions, adjusting them according to their own needs, in order to celebrate their own chapters in a proper and effective manner.
I wish to remind the Provincial and Vicariate Superiors about preparing for the General Chapter a report on the personnel status and discipline of the Province/Vicariate members, on the financial and material state of the Province/Vicariate and its apostolic works (C 241). So that the General Chapter can best verify the present situation of the Congregation, please include in the report the positive aspects of governing the communities in your care as well as the challenges which they face. Also, please comment in your report on the priorities assigned at the beginning of your term of office, which you presented at the Convention of the Major Superiors in Balsamao on October 22-25, 2005. I propose that each Provincial Superior’s report would take no more than 45 minutes, while the report of a Vicariate Superior – no more than 15.
Please submit written reports in two languages (Polish and English) to the Secretariat of the General Curia ([email protected]) no later than December 31, 2010 (both electronically and by post).
The General Chapter is a significant moment in the life of the Congregation. It pursues the goal of preserving the Congregation’s patrimony, bringing about its further growth and renewal in accord with its charism and mission adjusted to the needs of the time; it must also consider important matters, issue proper decrees, and elect a new general government (C 237).
By the mercy of God, events of recent years have been particularly important for our Congregation. There was the long-awaited beatification of our Founder and the Jubilee of the 100th Anniversary of the Renewal of our Congregation. Although these events were given considerable attention previously, yet the General Chapter, because of its exceptional character and goal, also ought to make a definitive statement on the importance of these events for our entire community.
On July 20, 2009, I named a pre-Chapter Committee and entrusted it with the preparation of the General Chapter, including the drafting of proposals to this extent. The Committee has also prepared and distributed a survey pertaining to our Congregation’s important matters. The Committee shall analyze the survey results and present them to the General Chapter. The Committee also is preparing its own proposals and tentative drafts from suggestions submitted by other confreres. Another helpful document for the General Chapter comes in the form of Instrumentum laboris entitled “The Congregation of Marian Fathers’ Charism and its Timeliness for the Modern World.”
Realizing that the fruitfulness of the General Chapter totally depends upon the light of the Holy Spirit, I call all my confreres to pray fervently and continuously so that we may be open and obedient to His inspirations. In a special way I ask and oblige all confreres and each religious community to celebrate a novena to the Holy Spirit nine days prior to this event for this intention starting on January 27, 2011 – the day of the liturgical commemoration of Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz (D 230). I also ask that a Holy Mass be celebrated for the General Chapter’s intentions. In addition, I instruct every confrere to recite daily during the celebration of the General Chapter, either individually or in common, the prayer for the Congregation for the Chapter’s intentions. I also encourage everyone to support the Chapter’s works by offering for its intentions their Holy Masses, prayers, sufferings and good works.
Asking for the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculately Conceived, as well as our Founder, Blessed Fr. Stanislaus, and our Renovator, Blessed George, along with all the other patrons of the Congregation, let us beseech the Merciful God for abundant fruits from this Chapter.
Given in Rome, on July 31, 2010, the liturgical commemoration of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Very Rev. Fr. Jan M. Rokosz, MIC