Nemi, Italy. September 8, 2021. Today, September 8, Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, the members of the delegations based in India and Sri Lanka, and those of St. Charles Lwanga in East Africa, presided at the Eucharist. In the homily, the protagonism of St. Joseph, who kneels in total obedience to the call of God, was underlined. In the Word he hears in his dream. Joseph finds the energy to come out of his state of confusion. His obedience strengthens him, allowing him to approach that periphery where God usually leads those he chooses, so that they may acquire a broader vision.
Then, in the chapter hall, Joseph Jeyaseelanel, major superior of St. Joseph Vaz (Sri Lanka), the only capitular who could not be present in Nemi, proclaimed the text of the Magnificat via the internet. Thus, our day was framed between the “fiat” of Mary and the supportive and faithful response of Joseph. In both call stories, a pattern is evident that is already found in the first verses of the Bible (Gen 1:1-3), in the story of creation. First there was chaos, over which the Spirit of God moved, then the creative Word was spoken and immediately everything was fulfilled in obedience. The fruit was a beautiful creation.
Equally fruitful and dense has been our day. Once the minutes of the previous day were approved, we spent most of the morning in group work. Initially, motivated by the sharing of a solidarity initiative of the Bangalore province (Mother’s Meal), the dialogue centered on three questions related to the pandemic time we are living in: how has the pandemic affected me personally; how has it affected or continues to affect my body; what has been our response as a congregation? In the second part of the morning, the chapter session focused on two issues directly related to the post-chapter: what concrete proposals can we make to transmit the content of the Chapter to the members of our home organisms; and what organizational and methodological elements of the Chapter can be applied to the life and chapters of the provinces or assemblies of the delegations?
In the afternoon, the synthesis commission presented the result of its work: 39 commitments derived from the 7 designs, elaborated in the groups. After a time of personal reading, we began the work of reviewing, approving, and voting on the 5 commitments of the first design of our chapter dream. The dialogue was rich and thought-provoking. We made good progress in the elaboration of the final document, but there is still work to be done in the coming days.
Tomorrow, Thursday, we will travel to the Vatican to attend the audience with Pope Francis. The meeting will be at 12:00 noon. We are traveling free of covid, as we have all tested negative in the antigen test that we have taken for prudence. For many capitulars, this is the fourth test since August 14, the day the Chapter began.