For the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), a General Chapter is held every six (6) years. The Congregation’s Directory of Chapters states very clearly what a General Chapter is and what is expected of it. We are told “it is the supreme organ of internal government of the Congregation,” in others words, the General Chapter legislates for the life of Redemptorists throughout the world. Perhaps more importantly, however, the General Chapter is also “an expression of the concern and participation of all members in promoting the good of the whole institute” (Constitution 104). Gathered together in “Chapter”, the delegates present to the world the image of the Congregation.
The Constitutions of the Congregation tell us that “it is the function of the general chapter to care for the interest of the apostolic life of the entire Institute, to strengthen the links that bind its individual parts together, [and to adapt] the Congregation to the needs of the Church and humanity.”
Clearly, the work of the General Chapter is vital to the continuation of the Congregation’s mission in the world today. It carries a great responsibility. For this reason, since May 2014, the Redemptorists worldwide have been engaged in a process of careful examination, to discover if they remain faithful to the mission of the Congregation, in accordance with the spirit of their Founder, St. Alphonsus. In doing so, the members examine themselves as to whether or not they are giving willing attention to the voice of God who is continually challenging the Congregation through the Church and the world.
This examination of the Congregation and its life and mission culminates in November this year when more than 100 Redemptorists and lay partners, representing the worldwide Congregation, come together in Pattaya, Thailand, for the 25th General Chapter. During their time together, they will reflect carefully on the examination that has taken place over the past two years, discern prayerfully where the voice of God is leading the Congregation today. They will then take practical decisions and set a direction for the coming six years. To facilitate and to oversee the implementation of the direction set, the members gathered together in chapter will elect a Government, composed of the Superior General and six General Consultors from various parts of the world. They will have the heavy responsibility for ensuring that the Congregation remains faithful to its charism in the coming years and continues to preach the Gospel in a manner that is always new and speaks to the hearts of the people of today.
Fr. Brendan Kelly, CSsR