Father General's Report

Sunday, April 28, was a time of rest for all the participants, an occasion to visit some important places in Thailand and to learn a bit of the culture and history of this country.

Monday, April 29, was dedicated to the report of Father General to the Interchapter. Actually he stressed that it was a presentation, not a report, sharing with us some thoughts that he has developed after almost three years as Superior General.

First of all, he showed his appreciation for the work of the major superiors in the Congregation, a work done with dedication and generosity in spite of the many challenges that they have to face.

Then, after sharing about the many signs of hope that he sees in our Congregation, he shared what he sees as unfinished work for us in light of the call to a profound personal and community conversion to Jesus Christ in each of the five dimensions of the chapter. About community life, he stressed that the entire dimension of our life as vowed men is at risk and the call to conversion, personal and communal, is urgent. Analyzing each single vow, he showed the challenges we are facing in living them out. He pointed out that often our living in faith is eroded by activism and our apostolic community is compromised. He concluded this point with a strong statement: “I believe that one of the reasons the vocation of the Oblate Brothers has diminished among us and sometimes we seem unconcerned about it is because we are losing the sense of what it means to be consecrated men whose lives are based on the evangelical vows, on a life of faith and on apostolic community. We risk being reduced to a loose association of priests”.

Speaking of Oblate mission, he emphasized that we need to continue our communal discernment of missionary commitment, preaching Jesus Christ in communion with the Church and full of love for her. A commitment to the ministry of peace, justice and the integrity of creation is a constitutive element of our preaching the Good News to the poor.

About the service of leadership, Father General stressed the importance of continuing in the path of restructuring, consolidation of formation houses, good administration, care for the vocation of Brothers and sharing of personnel at all levels.

Concerning formation, he spoke of the need to work more for the permanent formation of all members, with cooperation among units, especially for first formation, and also adequately preparing formators for their ministry.

Finally, referring to financial stewardship, he emphasized the necessity of preparing treasurers and wisely appointing them to face the difficult days that lay ahead of us.

For almost the whole day, the participants took time to reflect on this input, both in small groups and in plenary session. Father General’s intervention was felt as a deep call to renew our commitment to conversion in line with the invitation offered by the Chapter.

On April 30, in the morning we first listened to the Chapter calls on leadership as presented by the committee and we also shared our experiences on the matter in small groups. It was a time of fraternity and encouragement among the superiors.

The members of the Thai-Lao delegation joined us for the Celebration of the Eucharist and lunch in a climate of fraternal communion.

Finally, in the afternoon we were updated on the development of the new community in Aix-en-Provence and the new Administrative Directory and Policies. (Fr. Claudio Bertuccio, OMI - Source: OMI Communications, www.omiworld.org)

 

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