Br. Carlo Serri was the Moderator for day 25 of Chapter during which the friars made a start on trying to gather, synthesize and take votes on the huge amount of reflection and dialogue which has been taking place over the last number of weeks.
In spite of the fact that there’s quite a lot of work of this kind to be done, nonetheless the friars were faithful to the 29th Mandate of the last General Chapter which recognizes that the Custody of the Holy Land is the most important missionary project of the Order. The Custos, Br. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, gave a wonderful presentation of the life and ministry of the friars in that region. Naturally the interest of the Chapter Members was especially heightened when he spoke about the friars who minister in Syria. Br. Pierbattista’s contribution touched the friars very deeply and they appreciated his descriptions of the extraordinarily complex realities of the day to day lives of friars and people, as they attempt to be a loving and reconciling presence in a part of the world that is torn apart by conflict.
There was plenty of time for questions and answers and numerous friars asked about the political-religious situation, about ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and the future of our ministry in that region.
The latter part of the morning was taken up with the Commission for Chapter Proposals whose secretary, Br. Ferdinando Campana, presented the revised and reformulated proposals. A lively discussion followed.
The afternoon session involved voting on the changes to the General Statutes of the Order. The proposals for change had been divided into four groups; those which the Statutes Commission considered to be appropriate, those which it judged to be neither necessary nor opportune, those which are already adequately covered by existing law, and those which should be considered as recommendations only.
At this stage of the Chapter the question of who is going to pay the costs has arisen! Br. Silvio Rogelio de la Fuente, General Vice-Treasurer, presented a variety of proposals as to how the expenses should be divided among the entities of the Order.
Once the session had concluded, the friars gladly moved from an intense focus on legal and financial matters into a Prayerful Reading of the Word of God (Lectio Divina). It was nourishment to the spirit of each friar to round off the day’s work in this way.