We had quite the surprising afternoon on this day in the middle of the Chapter. A certain amount of frustration seems to have surfaced, that the Chapter is dealing with nit-picky details while some of the key issues facing Redemptorists are being left unspoken. The small groups shared something on this in the morning and then the afternoon was the time for an open mic, a time to be heard.
Afterwards one confrere described the event as cathartic, another as a chance to vent, and a third pointed out that most of what was said could be found in the Working Document, Part B (the responses of the communities around the world to the questions of Part A).
Some of the topics raised were: Structures & Re-structuring; are we really listening to the voices of the world? Is our Mission clear? How do our priorities flow from the Mission? How do we live together (our spiritual & community lives)? And are we satisfied with the Chapter process, the methodology of the Moderators, and, indeed, the structure of our General Government?
There was considerably more passion than my poor paragraph demonstrates. Fr. Michael Brehl calmed the waters somewhat by acknowledging what was said and promising that the Moderators would take it into account when there was time to process it.
And then we went back to work! We passed a number of proposals and postulata, including several alternatives proposed where improvements were felt necessary, and completed Section 2: Renewed Mission.
We then began the process of tackling the proposals and postulata in Section 1: Renewed Hearts by listening to the reports from the small groups which give the reactions of the confreres.
The Moderators, sensing a tired bunch, dismissed us 15 minutes early—and then put a couple of committees to work in preparation for tomorrow!
A special event was held in the evening. From the Dublin province there was a superb one-hour and very dramatic documentary made by the BBC of Northern Ireland on Fr. Alec Reid, C.Ss.R. who became a mediator between the two sides in the Irish “Troubles,” helping to find a path to peace in the face of what appeared to be insurmountable violence. Michael Kelleher, who introduced the piece, suggests that you might be able to find it on YouTube. It is called “14 Days.”
Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR