Brother Edward Hall told me that he has had about ten e-mails asking him what flavours of ice cream he had, so, for his fans, here is a picture of Brother Edward with Father Christopher Monaghan, delegate from Australia (on the right).
This morning’s session began with a report from the Redaction Committee presented by myself; the other members of the committee are Father Juan Marì Peirò, who is a member of the Zaragossa Province (Spain) and is a delegate for Latin America, and Father Filippo Astori, a member of the Milan Province who is Regional Vicar in Kenya. Our meetings are conducted in Italian, as Father Juan speaks Spanish and Italian but not English, I speak English and Italian (and French) but not Spanish. Father Filippo, who is Italian, speaks good English, as well some African languages; he also speaks Hebrew and is fluent in Arabic, having lived for many years at Bethany, just outside Jerusalem. However, although our meeting was conducted in Italian, I was able to give the report in English.
Our report was a synthesis of yesterday’s discussions on the Passionist Charism by the ten small groups, based on the written texts given to us by the group secretaries. Father Massimo Granieri of the Chapter’s Communications Commission transformed the headings of our report into a Powerpoint presentation in English, Italian and Spanish. Father Massimo, who is a member of the Italian Province which includes the regions of Puglia and Calabria, was born in Leicester, England, but came to Italy with his parents when he was a child. Similarly, Father Enzo del Brocco, the General’s secretary and a member of the Naples Province, was born in Pittsburgh but came to Italy when his parents returned to the family home when he was in his teens.
The rest of the morning was spent in the small groups reflecting on our apostolate, our relationship with the world, and the relationship of our Charism with both of these. In the small group to which I belong, we have people who are working or have worked in a wide variety of situations, including (among others) the predominantly Muslim region of Mindanao in the Philippines, the West Indies, the remote Altiplano of Bolivia and Yurimaguas in Chile, and the city that never sleeps (New York). It was fascinating to hear about the challenge of preaching the Gospel and living a prayerful community life in these very different places.
In the afternoon we listened to reports from the secretaries of the small groups, which they were asked to limit to 400 words (which helps the Redaction Committee as well as keeping the verbal reports from being too long); the fourth session was a general discussion on topics arising from the reports. This was a very enriching session with a lot of good listening, interventions which were very focussed, and comments which built on what had been said by previous speakers. During the discussion, I managed to say something myself on the question of our Charism and contemporary Culture, and the need to continue to deepen our theological reflection on our Passionist vocation. It looks better here than it sounded in the Chapter Hall, but I was glad I was able to say something on the subject.
In the evening, our Indonesian brothers shared with us a reflection, in the form of drama and songs, on their life and apostolate in Indonesia.