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The Chapter's Chronicle

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August 8

Feats of our father Saint Dominic of Guzman

The day dawned like those before it, already hot and humid from the earliest hours of the morning. Yesterday many groups had bade farewell around some cooling refreshments until late in the evening. The night was warm and made it difficult to retire. There was much conversation about all we had lived this month; the chapter and its protagonists gave us much to talk about.

Lauds was at 7:30 in the morning and was basically in French. One song in English written by James Marchionda was named "A Dominican Blessing".

It was a day to rip up papers. So many drafts, so many amendments had to disappear so that the unadorned result was the only thing left. However some kept the text in which the votes for each paragraph were minutely recorded. They had decided to take all the wisdom of all the chapter members on a disk. Rather than do this, as soon as others got the disk, they sent the entire contents via the Internet to their own e-mail address. It was necessary to "travel lightly, as men of the sea". There was already enough weight in the brain. After packing their things, some then started the rites of farewell. "It has been so good to know you. Why don't you come to...? ( as if Australia or Chile were on the next corner). Let's see if we meet in ..." There's not much time left until the chapter in Krakow.

A very solemn Mass with almost two hours of celebration. Joined with the Master were Friar Timothy, Friar Norman Haddad, the provincial of St. Joseph province, the chapter secretary and the syndic of the Argentinean province, substituting for his provincial, who had fallen this morning and had to use crutches to walk. The Mass was a review of all the "diverse" liturgies which we had celebrated. Once again it was celebrated in the three official languages: one reading in each of them. Friar Carlos gave a beautiful homily in which he sang and acted as well as spoke.

He especially used English but also spoke Spanish and at one moment, French. He offered us many and good things to think about. During the Italian Renaissance the great painters made sketches of their paintings and later left them to their disciples who finished the works. St. Dominic also offered the general lines of his Order and has left it to his friars so that throughout time it is they who have finished his work, adapting it to diverse times and geographies. This has happened for almost eight centuries. This chapter has tried also to apply some brush strokes which will accomplish a beautiful, real and efficacious appearance of the Order to our time and its diverse cultures.

Another thought made reference to the chapel where we are. Light has shone in the chapel through Fray Bartolomé de las Casas or Venerable Chikaba ( whose beatification the chapter declared), or St. Catherine, or St. Thomas, etc., that is, light has shone through those Dominican women and men represented in the chapel's stained windows. Below the chapel is the chapter hall. There are no stained glass windows there. We should think that the light has been passing through each of us who has been congregated there. That is what we hope. Carlos had effusive words for Timothy. He ended with a petition for his predecessor, singing the "Coplas de Yaraví", an Argentinean song in which one asks to be the clay that God molds , the seed that God sows where God wishes, the kindling wood that may be burned for the poor. In the offering of gifts, the Acts of the Chapter, now in their notebooks, were presented.

During Communion the beautiful Argentinean verses were sung again, as well as a lovely Portuguese hymn. To mark the end of the Mass, Carlos put on a white glove used by the bell ringers - a new thing for chapter liturgy - in order to ring a bell. With this sound the Eucharist had begun. Even in the song of farewell, we sang out an African song, which caught hold of everyone processing out of the chapel, making their bodies move and their hands clap in rhythm. And so the Mass ended. Thus ended the diverse and always very well-prepared liturgies of this chapter. St. Dominic must have felt very happy, seeing that his sons and daughters celebrated his feast with rhythms which came from the continent where his fellow Spaniard countrymen once fought and tried to subdue its people.

A festive farewell supper. Songs in French, Spanish, Italian, and an Irish song in English. The party lasted until very late. Everyone was happy.

Tomorrow the breaking-up begins, very early for some. The wheat which remains stored up goes bad. We will descend the hill of Providence to meet the brothers and sisters who await us with a new song. We are not alone. We form a great family united in the common mission to preach the Gospel. We are confident in the " wonderful hope" of Dominic to come to the aid of his family.

Holy Father Dominic, add to your number! (Pie Pater Dominice, tuorum auge numerum!) puce

(Translated from Spanish)

 

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