Last update : 2001-07-25

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The Chapter's Chronicle

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July 20th

First drafts of the documents

Today's liturgy was entrusted to the provinces of Chile, Peru, and Colombia. Presiding at the Eucharist was the great Linus Dolan, the North American provincial of Peru, who has ministered there for over thirty years. With a commentary on the entrance, he invited us to take shelter in God's mercy as we continued to pray Psalm 50 and to be the Gospel messengers that we had just sung about. The major part of today's music was composed by Colombian friar, Orlando Rueda, a voting member of the chapter. His music was accompanied by a clarinet, two guitars, a piano, and Friar Fausto on the percussion. The provincial of Colombia preached with a good, strong voice since he was also celebrating Colombia's Day of Emancipation. The preaching concentrated on the first reading which was read by another North American who also had passed may years in Peru. It spoke to us of the first Passover, the liberation of the Jews from the power of Egypt, that very great deed by which the Lord converted the Jewish people into God's chosen people. Years ago Colombia was liberated from Spain, he said, but now it has fallen under other stronger and more sophisticated oppressions. He urged the chapter, that if in truth they are Dominicans, that they raise another cry that there may begin a new liberation from the present oppression.

The plenary sessions have begun. The Steering Committee wished to introduce some changes in the rules of procedure, approved the first day, to lighten the sessions. The changes were presented to the assembly and were approved.

Four commissions presented their drafts to the assembly. They began with the Commission on the Constitutions. The ordinances of the past chapters were approved. According to our laws, they should be voted on in successive chapters so that they continue in force until finally they are included in the Constitutions. There were no problems until it came to a theme in which (the chapter of) Caleruega confronted (the chapter of ) Bologna, or rather the definitors confronted the provincials. The definitors in Caleruega ordained that there could not be a house formed if there were not at least four friars. In Bologna the provincials nullified that ordinance. In the room there were some in favor of the Caleruega ordinance saying that it gives more and better witness to our common life. Others, especially those vicars where the Order is just beginning, affirmed that the important thing is to have a house; if there are not four but only three, it soon will grow. Finally the voting approved the nullification of the ordinance made by the chapter of provincials at Bologna.

The outline of the two commissions on "the challenges of the mission"was presented later. One is in French and the other in English. The first depicted the mission in the midst of diverse secular contexts, of other religious contexts - including Christians, those who are Christians in name only and the context of the world of the fundamentalists... Later they presented the challenges which arise from the dignity of the human person, in order to be able to sketch that which will be " the new evangelization". They seem to like this expression. Some one asked if the "frontiers" and the "priorities" of past chapters ought to be replaced by " the challenges". And then there is the term "globalization"(some French speakers prefer "worldization"). In short we may trust in the globalization or worldization of salvation, for despite the narrow door, "God wishes all persons to be saved". Not everyone liked the design and it was recommended that the commission be more concrete in the suggestions and steps which they propose.

In the afternoon the Intellectual Life Commission presented us with a beautiful and ambitious document and announced all the themes on which they would touch. It spoke of the "mercy of truth" influencing the "love of truth" since in the world all is not "gaudium et spes(joy and hope)" but also "sadness and anxiety". The presenters were convinced that the cure for sadness and anxieties is study. Study is always done in humility. We do not study for a career nor teach in order to take a position as a professor. And to study philosophy! Philosophy is not a pitfall to be overcome in order to arrive at theology and be able to use technical terms which few understand. It is to respond to the questions of Kant: "What are we able to know?" "What should we do?" "What can we hope?" "Who is God?" And finally, "What is a human being?". Friar Peter Lobo, a voting member from India, observed that before Kant said that, it had already been asked and answered in India. There was already a belief about "reaching holiness through study".

Afternoon prayer was presided over by the vicar general from Chile, Friar Enrique González Riloba. It ended with a vibrant song to "Dominic, the Voice of America", also composed by Friar Orlando Rueda.

New Briefs

At noon today the official photographs of the chapter were taken in bright sunshine. First there was one of all those present at the chapter ( capitulars, translators, interpreters, secretaries, and guests). In the first one each person showed a number which had been assigned for identification for the attention of future historians, then one was taken without any distinctions. Later photographs were taken of the capitulars only. There was even a very Dominican black and white dog in the photograph, in memory of our founder.

Friar Virgilio Ambrosini, a voting member from Italy's Santo Domingo province, had to return to his country in order to receive medical attention for matters which had interrupted his attendance during the first days of the chapter. Today his substitute, Friar Roberto Taddei, has arrived. Welcome, Roberto!

Friar Michel Van Aerde, the provincial of Toulouse, had to go to the hospital for an operation on his bladder. He suffered valiantly for some days, but it was impossible to continue living with it. Everything went well.

At the end of the day the young students from St. Joseph province of the U.S. organized a holy hour (from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.). There were songs, prayer of praise and a meditation before the Blessed Sacrament with the recitation of the Rosary. puce

(Translated from Spanish)

Design & management : Fr. Yves Bériault, o.p.