It is reminiscent of the words from the Book of Revelation: “People from every tribe and tongue and peoples and nation”, as the capitulars arrive in Pattaya, Thailand for the 25th General Chapter.
I myself flew Edinburgh, Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok and already I have met many confreres who have journeyed from South America, Africa, Oceana and so many other parts of the world in which the Congregation carries out its mission.
There is a meeting up of old friends – and the encounter with confreres attending their first General Chapter. Certainly there is a buzz in the air!
The initial gathering point for most was Bangkok airport where each confreres was greeted with a CSsR sign and then taken to a car to be driven the two hour journey to Pattaya.
Here in Pattaya we have a campus which includes the local Redemptorist community, a centre for those who have disabilities, various workshops in which skill are acquired and employment is given. There is also the very impressive Father Ray Brennan Foundation and many other activities in operation.
Over half the capitulars have already arrived, while others appear by the hour. One confrere, Fr. Raymond Mupandasekwa from Zimbabwe? is delayed in Johannesburg airport due to a malfunction of a machine to read finger prints at Immigration. We hope he will arrive tomorrow. Each traveller has his own story of the journey from his Unit to Thailand, and these are being shared.
Our internationality was manifest this morning when I saw there were Masses in Thai, English, Spanish and Italian, and confreres whose mother tongues were none of these were present!
The new and magnificent conference centre which contains the ‘aula’ for our Chapter gathering has just been completed. Due to heavy rains and adverse weather conditions the contractors are two weeks behind schedule; but really there is enough good infrastructure for us to commence with the opening Mass and initial formalities tomorrow, Monday.
As the remainder of the capitulars arrive (I think there are 101 – plus translators, notaries, communication personnel etc) there is a growing anticipation of the work that lies ahead. There is also a real awareness of the prayer support that is present in our communities, among our co-Redemptorists, friends, supporters and these we minister for and with in so many parts of the world.
Fr. Bijou from the Centre for Communications is ever vigilant for news, information and updates and these can be accessed daily on our CSsR webpage.
Thanks to everyone who is journeying with us at this very important moment in the history of our Congregation.
Ronald J. McAinsh, C.SS.R.