Saturday, 16th May, saw the Chapter on its sixth day, but only for a half day’s business. There was sad news at the commencement of the morning session – the deaths of Br. Olivo Tondello, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception (Brazil) and Br. Darío Carrero Morales, Custos of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, who died aged 49 and who had been an expert at the 2009 Chapter. The friars prayed for the repose of their souls.
Today’s Moderator was Br. John Puodziunas and he guided the friars through a review of what had been discussed yesterday in the group sessions. This centred on the Instrumentum Laboris i.e. the Chapter working paper.
There were lots of ideas, reflections and proposals from each of the groups and the discussion was conducted in an open and fraternal way. The friars spoke about the things they particularly want to see in the Final Document of the Chapter and wanted to underline the challenges which we see in our time – after all the theme of the Chapter is “Brothers and Minors in Our Time” (Fratres et Minores in Nostra Aetate).
The Chapter Members expressed the view that the conclusions reached by the Chapter should arise from consensus and should be practical and realistic. The proposals should also take into account how these decision can actually be put into practice at local level. There was interest in an idea already spoken about in 2009, of putting in place prophetic signs and actions which have the capacity to speak to the world of our time.
We need to beware of the danger of looking inward too much; if we do this then we will not be able to hear God’s word spoken through the signs of the times. Finally, the friars were reminded that if we are to end the Chapter with a few clear and concrete core proposals, then each one of us must be able to be generous enough to let go of his individual vision in order to arrive at a common vision. It’s fair to say that the dialogue helped to deepen a spirit of trust and hope, and was a really good end to the first week of the Chapter.
Saturday afternoon and Sunday is time for rest, and will also include a pilgrimage to the Rieti Valley, so much associated with St. Francis and his companions, and with the birth of the Franciscan movement.