This morning, after the Mass of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, we proceeded to the Chapter Hall for the election of the consultors. Before the first session, we sang the Veni Creator and had prayers to the Holy Spirit. Before proceeding to a vote, the Chapter had to decide on the number of consultors. The Constitutions say that the minimum number is four; until now there had been, for many years, six consultors, each representing different geographical regions of the Congregation. In the context of restructuring, the Chapter decided to reduce the number of consultors to four; this will mean a different way of relating to the regions (or, at least, to some of them). We then proceeded to an election in which Fathers Luis Alberto Cano (Spain), Clemente Barrón (United States), Denis Travers (Australia) and Luigi Vaninetti (Italy) were elected. In a subsequent vote, Father Denis Travers was elected as First Consultor, so (as they say across the Atlantic) he is now just a heartbeat away. However, he needn’t worry because, since his triple bypass, Father Ottaviano’s heart is better tha ever. You can see some good pictures of Father Denis over at The Passionist Charism.
In the afternoon, we listened to parts three and four of the report from the General Bursar (=Econome=Treasurer), after which there was the usual interesting discussion.
After supper, my friends from the Redaction Committee (Fathers Filippo and Juan) and myself met the community of the Retreat of Saints John and Paul to explain to them about the work of the Chapter and share someone of our own experience during these days.
Tomorrow morning the Chapter is off to Saint Peter’s Square for the General Audience with Pope Benedict and, if we are not all made Cardinals, we will continue our Chapter work in the afternoon. Meanwhile, here is a photograph of Father Robert Joerger of the Eastern US Province, who finished his term of office as General Consultor today and who is looking quite pleased with himself (while Pope Clement XIV looks down on him).