One of the key tasks of a General Chapter is to elect a Superior General and, eventually, the General Consultors. Today, on the very first electoral ballot for Superior General, Fr. Michael Brehl was re-elected to this office by the Chapter delegates. 92 of 101 delegates voted for him and since the election completes itself when at least two-thirds of the delegates agree on one candidate, the election was quickly concluded. Such great support is a testimony to all that Fr. Michael has done in his first term—and can now continue in his second term—as well as to the respect he has from the confreres across the world.
It was exciting to watch the aftermath. All the delegates at the Chapter took their turns to congratulate Fr. Michael personally. And then we all convened to the chapel where we “sang the Te Deum,” the Church’s great hymn of praise to God for the goodness God shows us and, on this day, the grace of Fr. Michael’s re-election. In this short prayer service, we sang and prayed joyfully, listened to Fr. Michael’s words of exhortation to us, his confreres, and then received his blessing.
Today is also the Feast of the Founding of the Congregation. St. Alphonsus chose this day 284 years ago to start the Congregation with six confreres in the small house in Scala. How appropriate that Fr. Michael would be elected on this day!
The Chapter delegates would have been very happy after this election to put the Chapter business on the shelf and spend the rest of the day in celebration. However, the Moderators put us back to work to continue to examine in small groups the proposals and postulata in Working Document C (part 2 – Renewed Mission) to get some sense of what the Chapter would approve either as legislation or guidance for the General Government. This afternoon we dealt with such topics as supporting community life (with a renewal of the “Plan of Community Life” and the “Lifestyle Audit” proposed by the Commission for Economic Solidarity), review of formation programs & supporting formators, formalizing our understanding of and relationship with lay partners in mission, and establishing a legal basis for inviting lay participants to our General Chapters. The small groups will offer their reports on these topics tomorrow.
Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR