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Preparatory Commission for the next General Chapter begins work

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The XXI General Chapter’s Preparatory Commission held its first meeting November 27 – 31, 2007 in Rome. Brother Sean Sammon, Superior General, coordinated the meeting which provided the chance for Commission members to get to know one another and to get a sense of each others’ aptitudes, their expectations and other possibilities. A second step was to take a look at the assignment which has been confided to them, taking as guide the General Chapter itself, the Constitutions, and the Rules of the Chapter. In order to get a forward-looking perspective, they reflected upon the history of past General Chapters, particularly upon the last few. Jumping off from there, they began to set up a calendar based on the Commission’s job description and the manner of preparing the entire Institute for an efficacious, forthcoming General Chapter.

The Commission plans to meet once again in Rome, February 10 – 15, 2008. Brother Maurice Berquet has been assigned the coordinator’s role. In the November meeting a new feature had been added. All Commission members were present, including Brother Maurice Berquet, who was, in fact, in Australia at the time. He was able to participate in all sessions thanks to a videoconference hook up.

The members of the Preparatory Commission were chosen by the General Council on July 25, 2007. The Commission members from the Provinces are: Brothers Graham Neist, Sydney; Albert Nzabonaliba, Afrique Centre-Est; Joãn Carlos do Prado, Brasil Centro-Sul; Lindley Sionosa, Philippines; Josep Maria Soteras, Hermitage; Carlos Vélez, Central America. The remaining Commission members are: Maurice Berquet, General Councilor; Luis García Sobrado, Vicar General, and Seán Sammon, Superior General.

In establishing the Commission, the General Council applied Article 2 of the Statutes of the General Chapter, which states:
Two years before the opening of an ordinary General Chapter, the Brother Superior General, with his Council, appoints a Preparatory Commission (cf. C. 137.4.7). This Commission sees to all that is necessary for the Chapter to achieve its responsibilities in regard to C. 139.
The Commission collaborates with the General Administration in regard to personnel and material needs. It may request the General Council to set up pre-Chapter groups on topics.
After consulting the Administrative Units and capitulants, the Commission draws up a global plan for the work and the process of the Chapter, including a proposed closing date. The plan will be submitted to the Chapter Assembly for discussion and approval during the first days of the General Chapter.

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