Today in Brazil is the Feast of Nossa Senhora de Aparecida; under this title, Our Blessed Lady is the Patroness of Brazil. The feast commemorates a group of fishermen who found a statue of Our Lady in their nets in 1717. In Spain, today is the feast of Nuestra Señora del Pilar. To mark these feasts, we had the Mass of Our Lady this morning. Afterwards, I had my camera with me at breakfast so I managed to take a couple of pictures in the coffee room). Here are two of the capitulars having breakfast in the traditional way, standing up.
And here is a thoroughly modern capitular, Father Martin Gabriel Santiago (Regional Vicar in India) who not only is wearing a white habit (as we sometimes do in hot climates) but is also sitting down for his breakfast. Some years ago, two small tables, each with four chairs, were introduced here for those strange people from English-speaking countries who like to sit down for breakfast (which is very un-Italian).
The morning session began with our receiving a list of questions for reflection, based on Tim O’Brien’s talk yesterday. We were then given forty-five minutes of silence where we could go to our rooms or to the garden to think about what qualities we are looking for in those who will take leadership roles in the process of restructuring. I went out into the garden to read the questions, where I saw Brother Martin Denny from Dublin reading the questions carefully. I took his picture as I passed behind him.
Then I took another picture as I walked in front; I didn’t go too close in case I would disturb him (he didn’t see me).
After this, we discussed the questions in our small groups (the original ones, not the regional groups of the last few days) and then we went to lunch. Here is the main courtyard of the old part of the monastery. The little door on the right leads in towards the refectory (the library is above).
Going through this door towards the refectory, you pass this rather grand piece of plumbing where you can wash your hands before or after the meal.
At lunch during the Chapter, the grace after meals is said in Latin but the grace before meals is said in a different language each day. Today the grace before meals was said in Chinese by one of the Passionists who has been living in China for the past five years. It was a clear reminder to us to pray for the Church in China.
In the afternoon, we heard reports from the small groups and then we returned to the report from the readaction committee, discussing the areas of collaboration which had surfaced in the first week as priority areas for the restructuring process. There was a very rich discussion in the Chapter Room which helped us to focus our attention for the days ahead. At the end of the last session, we were reminded that tomorrow morning we have a penitential liturgy (in preparation for the election of the General and his consultors) in the Chapel of the Our Lady Salus Populi Romani in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. This was where Saint Paul of the Cross, on his first visit to Rome in 1721, took a special vow to promote the Memory of the Passion of Jesus and to gather companions to do the same. After asking pardon, we will then renew our own vow to promote the Memory of the Passion of Jesus.