Minburi, Bangkok, Thailand, 7th – 11th August 2023
The Third Phase of the XXVI General Chapter opened on Monday, 7th August, at the Provincial House of the Province of Thailand at Minburi in Bangkok. Fr Peter Plangkang, the Provincial Superior of the Province of Thailand, welcomed all the participants to the Community at MInburi during the opening Eucharist. He noted that it was a joy for the Province of Thailand to host the 3rd Phase of the General Chapter as well as the Assembly in this 75th year of the presence of the Redemptorists in Thailand.
The Third Phase consists of the Major Superiors and delegates from the 14 Units of the Conference: Vietnam, Cebu, Thailand, South Korea, Oceania, Manila, Malaysia and Singapore, Colombo, Indonesia, Japan, Bangalore, Liguori and Majella.
At the 3rd Phase are present Fr Rogerio Gomes (Superior General), Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha, Paul Vinh and Nicolas Ayouba (Consultors General), Fr Jovencio Ma (Conference Coordinator), Bro Allan (Brothers Representative), Ms Portia (Lay Missionary), the Conference Council Members, Secretary, Economo, Notaries, and the moderators.
At the Opening Eucharist, Fr Rogerio using the day’s readings, challenged the Conference to choose between, on the one hand, the nostalgic food of the Pharaoh of Egypt, which would confine one to the slavery of the past and on the other hand, to step out into true liberation in the horizon of the future through the sea and desert knowing the freedom lies in willing to leave one’s comfort zone and embrace the future courageously. He also called on all to reflect on what were the five loaves and two fish that each confrere and partner, unit and the Conference at large were going to bring to the Lord, who is at the centre of the community.
The Eucharist was followed by a half day of prayer and recollection, aided by a reflection given by Fr Rogerio in which he spoke of the purpose of the 3rd Phase and the importance of looking ahead and planning to implement the decisions of the General Chapter. He called on all to live the theme, Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer, emphasising the four aspects of Hope (Theological, Anthropological, In the World, and In the Congregation). The Group met for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament led by Ivel and Paul from the General Council.
At the opening session of the 3rd Phase, guided by Frs Kevin O’Neil and Juventius Andrade (Moderators), the program for the days ahead was explained. Fr Rogerio opened the 3rd Phase Meeting, and Fr Jovencio Ma presented a summary report of the 1st Phase, the Strategic Plan of the Conference and the work and situation of the Conference up to the present moment.
The day ended with a celebration and gaudeamus as the delegates looked ahead to days of prayer, deliberation, sharing, planning, exchange and work for the strategic plan for the Conference of Asia Oceania.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.