|Friars gather for Eucharist during the 2014 Chapter of Holy Name Province|
In religious life a chapter is a gathering of the members of the community, a gathering which has several purposes. The primary one is to deepen our commitment to our way of life. In my case that is the Franciscan life. The chapter is also a time for electing new leadership. This year our provincial and vicar provincial are in the middle of a sex year term. There are six councilors who work with them and they will be elected this week, some of them re-elected, others new to the job. The chapter also makes important decisions regarding our life, some of them in the form of specific laws and statutes, others as more broad policy statements. In addition in recent years our chapters have also taken stands on various issues affecting our society, particularly when they involve values that are dear to us as Franciscans.
The chapter I will be attending is for my province, Holy Name Province. There are also general chapters for the whole order as well as local friary chapters. The chapter is the highest governing body of the order and the province. This means that superiors must abide by chapter decisions. In our province, at the present time, every solemnly professed (final vows) member must attend. Those over 70 may be excused. I am 72, but still gladly attending. At one time only superiors and specifically elected delegates attended. Smaller numbers enable all of us to do so.
I am looking forward to participating in this years chapter. A big topic of discussion will be what we call reconfiguration and revitalization as we move towards not only having fewer provinces in the US, but also striving to living our Franciscan life more deeply and authentically.
I hop that this glimpse into our Franciscan life is informative for you. More importantly I ask your prayers for us that as we gather at Pentecost the Holy Spirit will indeed inspire all of us as we gather in chapter.
|Veni Sancte Spiritus--Come Holy Spirit|