Phase 1 of the 26th General Chapter for the North American Conference opened

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Phase One of the 26th General Chapter for the North American Conference began on May 11 at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, New Jersey. The Superior General, Fr. Michael Brehl, officially opened the Chapter. 

After his words of welcome, Fr. Brehl offered his report to the North American Conference. In his presentation, Fr. Brehl emphasized integrating the needs of the North American Units with the needs of the Conference and the needs of the entire Congregation.

He referenced past General Chapters {1991-2016} as he spoke about the need for further restructuring. He then outlined previous efforts to restructure communal, personal and missionary life. He noted that in our vision and identity for Mission, we have a rich history of diversity, collaboration in mission and in formation. We also share the calling to minister to migrants and young adults.

Fr. Brehl stressed our need to re-imagine the future Redemptorist mission within the context of the Conference and the worldwide congregation, and not solely in terms of individual Units. 

Re-imagining our mission involves dialogue with an increasingly more diverse world and requires ongoing discernment with a willingness to free confreres for new missionary endeavors. At the same time, there is a need for ongoing discernment of the role of eldery confreres in the mission. He also stressed the need to have further collaboration with lay partners. 

His report included addressing our needs in formation, leadership and other challenges we still face, such as continued dialogue with Mexico, restructuring and working with other conferences as well as Partners In Mission.

In his concluding remarks, Fr. Brehl asked if we Redemptorists can 1) build community structures that offer true Gospel friendships to confreres in the context of a simple apostolic life, 2) develop a common vocation/formation program across the Conference, and 3) address our leadership crisis by creating a concrete plan for support, integration and healthy balance of pastoral care and administration to encourage confreres to step forward for leadership positions.

After lunch, five small groups made up of all participants focused on five areas raised in Fr. Brehl’s presentation: Mission, Apostolic Community, Formation, Leadership in Mission and the Future of the Conference. Dialogue from those meetings were then shared with the membership at large.

by Fr. Charles Wehrley, C.Ss.R.

Facebook: @RedemptoristNorthAmerica

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