In Saint Patrick’s Province, there was (and possibly still is) something called the Vocation Guild. Administered from Saint Patrick’s Retreat, Crossgar, this was (is?) a group of people who made not-too-big but regular contributions to help with the costs of educating Passionist novices and students. The Passionist who set it up almost sixty years ago told me one time why it is called the Vocation Guild: ‘It’s because’, he explained, ‘the word Guild doesn’t occur anywhere in the Code of Canon Law.’ Someone reading the official summary of today’s sessions of the Synod (see previous post), and indeed those of earlier days, might be wondering at the use of words like configuration and entity but, like guild, this is probably just an attempt to avoid known legal terms (regional conference, province, vice-province, vicariate) when discussing an unknown future.
The Superior General, Fr Ottaviano D’Egidio
Today, after Part 2 of the General’s report (- Part 3 is still to come), there were the first two of six reports from configurations. ‘What’s a configuration?’, I hear you ask. Well, it’s like a regional conference of provinces, except that it’s not necessarily regional. Two years ago, at the last Synod, the path of solidarity led to a place called configuration; provincials were invited to experiment with other groupings than the ones they knew and loved (or otherwise). Some decided not to change partners, while others moved around the room and settled into new (-yes, you’ve guessed the word) configurations. Today, two of those gave reports to the Synod on their two years as new entities in the Passionist Congregation. First up was the Configuration of Jesus Crucified with members from Rome, Naples, Lisbon, New York, Chicago, The Caribbean, Beunos Aires, Mexico City and various places in Brazil (forgive me if I’ve left someplace out). The other group presenting was the Configuration of the Sacred Heart which consists of all of Spain and those Passionist places in Latin America not previously mentioned. Tomorrow it will be the turn(s) of the rest of the world.
On a trivial note, we had fish for dinner today. Traditional Passionist days of fast and abstinence are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Monday added only in Advent and Lent. So either this Synod needs a bit more prayer and penance to keep it moving, or the cook just likes doing fish.