drafts of the documents
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.
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.
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.
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".
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
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.
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!
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
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.