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January 3, 2023 | DAY ONE: What do they really need?

The capitulants have arrived safely in Ixtpan del Sal, Mexico — though not without delays and bumps on Monday, January 2. Our brothers in Mexico provided a warm welcome and made sure that everyone has settled well and comfortably to start working the following day.

An opening meditation facilitated by Fr. Dennis Gallegher, Superior provincial, called us to reflect on “What do they really need?” from an inspirational anecdote from Tales from the Magic Monastery. We took time to identify specific personal conversions that need to take place in our lives.

This theme was picked up by Fr. Flavio Bustos Castillo in his homily at the opening Mass when he emphasized the need to deepen our relationship with Christ, which should go above all else, even our various apostolic projects.

The first official day of the Chapter started with “housekeeping” to keep ourselves organized and to keep discussions flowing smoothly. Fr. Alex Castro and Fr. Chi Ai verified that all the participants present are the duly-elected capitulants. Two scrutators, Daniele Caglioni and Irvin Santiago, were nominated to keep the integrity of all votes that will take place during this chapter.

Fr. Richard Lamoureux was voted as Promoter of the Chapter while Fr. Chi Ai and Fr. Louis Kivuya were elected as Moderators. Br. Daniele Caglioni, Fr. Oswaldo García Sánchez and Br. Blair Nuyda will serve as Secretaries of the Chapter.

The first session in the afternoon focused on the Kingdom of God and the state of the Congregation. Three panelists, Br. Daniele, Fr. Edward and MariCarmen Olvera shared their experiences and reflections on the Kingdom as experienced in our lives, in ministry, and in the communities where we are.

Their presentations touched on the relevance of our mission, the experience of fragilities of our neighbors and of our own, and the need to be in dialogue with the world. The rest of the capitulants responded to the presentations through the lens of post-pandemic realities and the current state of the province and the Congregation.

Now more than ever, as we acknowledge our vulnerability, we also open ourselves to the redeeming grace of God. The liturgies on the first day were lead by our Mexico region

The second session in the afternoon allowed the capitulants to look back at the last six years and to review the 2017 Acts of the Provincial Chapter. Fr. Dennis acknowledged that it will not be easy to make this review due to the pandemic which has affected not only our dreams and aspirations but many aspects of our lives as well.

The capitulants were then divided into small groups, with each group reviewing in detail specific chapters of the 2017 Acts. Each group also has to present in an assigned language. This was a big task and there was not enough time to cover everything. The steering committee will decide whether more time will be given the following day for further reflection and sharing.

The English language group consisted of Peter, Oswaldo, Dennis, Irving and Edward. They were asked to review the chapters on Mission and Spiritual Renewal, and Pastoral Planning and Priorities.

The French language group consisted of Chantal, Patty, Chi Ai, Louis, Richard. They were asked to review the chapters on the Lay-Religious Alliance, Formation and Community Organization.

The Spanish language group consisted of Flavio, MariCarmen, Alex, Daniele, Blair (with Rafael as translator). They were asked to review the chapters on Youth and Vocation Ministry, Internationality and Interculturality, and Finances.

The salient points presented by the small groups will be forthcoming.

Bro Blair Nuyda, a.a.

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