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The Chapter's Chronicle

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July 23th

A Morning of Numbers

On the feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden, the liturgy was assigned to the Province of France and the General Vicariate of southern Belgium. It was in French, of course, and with the habitual solemnity as when the liturgy is celebrated in that language. Fr. André Coulée, the Vicar General of Belgium, presided. The homilist, who works in Cameroon, asked us in the course of his reflection on the Gospel what kind of sign we offer the people. Jesus offered the sign of Jonah throughout his life, as did Saint Dominic de Guzmán. If they ask us for a sign as they asked Jesus, can we offer that of our fraternity, and of knowing how to share with others?

The day's work began with a plenary session on the document on the economy, asking for approval on certain economic questions. We were told that the euro is quite versatile, while the dollar has a fixed value. Some of us cynics would say that if the euro changes for the worse with respect to the dollar, then one could say that the euro is fixed and it is the dollar which gains in value. As a result of globalization it was approved that accounting be done in English, and that (for this purpose) we must forget Italian, although the accounting takes place in Rome. This is not a matter of the LCO, but a condition for being a syndic of the Order is to know English. The accounts of the outgoing Master were approved: Timothy made the prophetic gesture of showing his wallet to be empty.

The majority of interventions centered upon fundraising. It happens that a single friar must seek different moneys for different missions of the Order: we were told this is the new manner of being mendicants. But, since it is rather complicated to have one friar dedicating himself over to these needs, a prior payment of a certain amount is given over to a single entity. Recently, there has been created the International Dominican Fund for the four U.S. provinces, but all the provinces of the Order are invited to collaborate. There was much discussion over which entities are to receive the funds. After the discussion, which was prolonged fifteen minutes beyond schedule, it was decided that the commission would revise its proposals and present them anew at the assembly. A mathematical formula was approved for each province to figure out how much it has to contribute--a bit complicated for so many capitulars who are men of letters.

As with all the recent days, work in commissions followed. Friars come out of these sessions with very distinct expressions: some with faces that suggest things are moving ahead; some with looks of perplexity, seeming not to know which way to go; some with wearied movements from fighting against an ideological wall; some are skeptics, perhaps intelligent skeptics, convinced that in any event the Order would survive any errors of capitulars; some leave their commission work gazing compassionately on others, whom they believe are wasting their time. Finally, there are those who see in all of this exchange of opinion an occasion for feeling oneself to be still in the same boat with others, which is plenty to make one happy, even if the port does not appear near.

Solemn vespers was held in French. The Provincial of France, Fr. Eric de Clermont-Tonnerre, presided. puce

(Translated from Spanish)

 

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