General Chapter Highlights: October 21-24, 2016
October 21 – Profiling of proposals prior to their approval
As has been customary, the day commenced with the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharistic celebration. Fray José David Niño Gómez presided the mass which was offered for the special intention of the Recollect Augustinian Youth and in grateful memory of St. Laura Montoya, a Colombian Catholic educator and missionary and foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena.
The first session in the morning included the approval of the Actas (Minutes) of the previous days, revision of some provisions of the Ordo Capituli particulary on the manner of presenting and voting for the proposals of restructuring, thus, giving way to more opportunity for dialogue and improvements.
The rest of the morning was spent to group work by commission, focusing this time on the revision of its own proposals as well as those forwarded to it from other groups.
In the afternoon, the presentation of proposals by the Commission of Charismatic Identity and Governance, still in its first redaction.
Fray Pablo Panedas introduced to the Capitulars the DOCUMENTARY, “Augustinian Recollects in the Global World”, which makes a review on those very prominent places where the Recollects exercise their evangelizing ministry
Finally, written modifications to the proposals of the commissions were distributed in the Chapter Hall. After receiving the papers, the commissions proceeded to their assigned places to continue their work.
October 22 – All prepared for the Monday’s voting sessions
A Saturday, this day was tagged as one of the most intense days of the 55th General Chapter with the meetings of the commissions, plenary sessions both in the morning and in the afternoon, and last meeting in the evening in order to finalize the details before voting starts on Monday.
The day opened with the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of the holy mass presided by Fray Lauro Larlar, and for the special intention of all the “Mother Monicas”.
The commission meetings dwelt on making the finishing touches on the groups’ respective proposals as well as revising those from other commissions. Later in the Chapter hall, the discussion on the first redaction of proposals to be presented by the Commission on Restructuring would take place, addressing, among others, the issues on the reconfiguration of secretariats and other organs of governance and administration of the Order.
In another plenary assembly, the Final Message and the motto of the Chapter were analyzed as these will serve as reference point for the Life and Mission Project of the Order.
Having closed the third week of the ongoing General Chapter, it is augured that the coming week will see everything put in place. It will be a moment that will signal the start of the voting phase in order to approve the proposals of every commission. Another important moment will be the election of those holding the positions in the General Government, with the Prior General as head for the next six years.
October 23 Relaxing on a Sunday
Note: Our parallel sources informed us that the Capitulars went to Ostia Antica and marveled at the remnants of ancient Ostia as a city during the 6th cent BC. They recalled that it was here where St. Monica died in the 4th century A.D.
October 24 Decisive moments unfold
In the morning of the first day of the last week of the Chapter, voting started for the various proposals formulated by the commissions. The first set of proposals presented and subjected for voting were those of restructuring, which includes the configuration of the provinces of the Order and the organs of the General government and administration.
In accordance with the Ordo Capituli, there are two types of votes: 1–when it deals with election;
2–when it deals with the approval of a theme.
a. If it deals with election of any religious to occupy a position, in or outside the Chapter, the voting is made through a piece of paper in which the name of the nominee is written.
b. If it deals with the approval of any issue proposed to the assembly, voting could be made through a piece of paper, electronic system, ballots, or any equivalent means.
c. The themes proposed for the consideration of the assembly are voted on using the words: YES / NO / IM (IUXTA MODUM, or YES with modification).
d. The themes proposed for the consideration of the assembly will be approved only when the absolute majority is reached.
e. IM (IUXTA MODUM, or YES with modification) votes are counted as positive; but when a proposal has reached the absolute majority required with such votes, this proposal will be returned to the respective commission or to whoever proposed it for revision.
f. Those who give “YES with modification” votes should present in writing their proposed
changes to facilitate the revision.
g. The revised proposal will be presented again in the Capitular assembly. In this case, the capitulars will only vote on either YES or NO. The proposal will be accepted if the absolute majority is reached; otherwise it will be discarded.
THE GENERAL CHAPTER APPROVES
THE INTERNAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE ORDER
In the afternoon, the Chapter, guided by a sense of Order, has approved the internal restructuring of the OAR. In order to achieve an authentic Augustinian Recollect experience, boost fraternal life in common, undertake the mission entrusted to us by the Church, and be present where we are most needed, the 55th General Chapter has decided to organize the Order into four (4) provinces:
PROVINCE 1: the merging of the Provinces of St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine
PROVINCE 2: the merging of the Provinces of Consolation and Candelaria
PROVINCE 3: the merging of the Provinces of St. Joseph, St. Rita of Cascia, and St. Thomas of Villanueva
PROVINCE 4: Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno whose presence will be extended in a new country in Asia