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Day 13 - Saturday, February 5th
Today brought our Chapter to a close. The Capitulants worked on the final documents as well as looking at how the experience and message of the Chapter can be shared with all the Brothers and brought back to the Provinces in the weeks ahead.
In the afternoon we gathered to express our gratitude to all those who made the Chapter possible, especially the staff at Emmaus who have put so much effort into preparing the venue and showing us such wonderful hospitality. Diarmuid O'Murchu MSC celebrated the Closing Eucharist which was followed by a celebratory dinner.
Several of the participants were heading to the airport for their flights home in the hours that followed.
Day 12 - Friday, February 4th
Our morning prayer took “Water” as its backdrop and explored the theme through some of the art of Br. Ken Chapman which hangs here at the Emmaus Centre, and three scripture passages.
The day was spent in workshops exploring different dimensions of the Chapter process so far and articulating aspects of the final document from the Chapter – the “Compass” which might point the way, our sense of the next steps in the process of co-creating our future, and our thoughts on Laudato Si and issues related to our response to the current climate crisis.
Day 11 - Thursday, February 3rd
The day began with meditation and the Mass of the Holy Spirit, invocating the Spirit on our proceedings today as we discern who would best serve the Congregation for the next six years.
Our morning prayer had as its theme “” and we enjoyed the lyrics and the images from the song “Mother Earth” by Karliene, available HERE
The rest of the morning and the early afternoon was spent in the discernment process with group-work and periods of reflective silence.
In a prayerful atmosphere, this afternoon the following Brothers were elected to the new Congregation Leadership Team:
Congregation Leader: Peter Clinch
Deputy Leader: John Casey
Councillors: Senan D’Souza, David Ryan Silva and Hugo Cáceres
Day 10 - Wednesday, February 2nd
After early-morning meditation and Eucharist, the first session of the day was a Zoom call with 128 Brothers from around the world. As happened yesterday, the Capitulants were invited to listen attentively to the dreams and visions of the participants. Afterwards there was a plenary session to share in common the fruits of the Zoom call.
The remainder of today was spent in progressing the discernment process for electing the new CLT tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. In two rounds of mixed groups a list of candidates was drawn up. The afternoon was spent in one-to-one conversations exploring the gifts of each candidate.
Before supper we went into our Integrations Groups for some supportive conversation.
Today also we have celebrated the birthday of Simon Coelho with singing and cake.
Day 9 - Tuesday, February 1st
In our morning prayer we celebrated the feast of St. Brigid, the bearer of the flame. Also, we celebrated four Brothers’ jubilees – Philip Pinto, Peter Clinch, Michael Lynch and Gerard Brady.
The first session brought us to consider again our task here at Chapter, using the framework we have used before – leaders as “heros” or “hosts”. Then we moved to consider the mandate or role of the new CLT which will be elected in the coming days.
The early-afternoon session saw us share a Zoom call with over 130 Brothers, mainly in the Western Hemisphere. Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning we will have the second of the Zooms for those in other time-zones.
My Name is "I Am" (by Helen Mallicoat)
I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
"My name is I Am".
"When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS.
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment it is not hard.
I am here. My name is I AM."
Day 8 - Monday, January 31st
The Chapter process began in earnest again this morning after our free day yesterday. Some Brothers had visited Callan and Waterford, while others had enjoyed the relaxation of a quiet day. The morning prayer presented the theme “Discerning our way into the future together from the perspective of our Common Home”.
In the morning sessions we continued to reflect together and in groups on the themes arising from our reflections on Saturday last and ventured into considering what life would look like if we were to make our dream a reality. Space was also given for personal reflection.
The afternoon had two sessions. We began by reflecting again on the process of discernment for leadership which will begin tomorrow (Tuesday) and includes a Zoom call with Brothers around the world. Later we had an opportunity to consider the “Journeying Together” programme that is a part of OWITF, especially looking at the learnings over the past number of years.
Days 6 & 7 - Friday & Saturday, January 27th & 28th
The first sessions of Friday were dedicated to following up on work done on Thursday regarding the election process and scenario building. There followed a plenary session which gave the Capitulants an opportunity to comment on progress so far and explore what the next steps might look like.
On Saturday the morning prayer was a reflection on Living in a Synodal Church, led by Hugo and Simon. Then, in the first session, we shared around what had emerged for us during the mini-retreat. What might the Spirit be whispering to us? What might have been breathed into this space beyond our own thoughts and feelings?
Today we also celebrated the birthday of Jan Walczak and anticipated the birthday of Tony Hempenstall before ending the day with a delicious dinner and a sing-along.
Sunday is a free day. A good number of the capitulants are travelling to Westcort, Callan and to Mount Sion, Waterford. Others will attend the funeral of Br. Con Hurley who has died in the Callan community, while the remainder will enjoy the freedom and relaxation here at Emmaus.
Day 5 - Thursday, January 27th
Our theme for morning prayer today was the meaning of being a religious brother in the Twenty-first Century. The morning was spent in work groups. Some had the task of producing a synthesis of the thinking in the 28 Scenarios, the Concerns and Challenges in the Padlets, and the 27 Questions which we had generated just as the Chapter in Lima was brought to a sudden ending in March 2020.
Another group spent the morning looking at how Brothers are engaged and could become more engaged in future processes for shaping our lives together. Meanwhile two other groups were working on the Submissions sent to the Chapter, and the work to be done on the Constitutions and Statutes.
All of this work came back to a plenary session in the afternoon. The other session of the day was spent on the details of the proposed process for the election of the CLT next week. The proposed process is similar to what has occurred at recent Chapters.
Before supper the Capitulants met once again in their Orientation Groups to have some time to reflect on their own experience of the day and share that in the small group.
After the evening meal there was the opportunity to watch the 2021 Hook Lecture: What do We Want to Sustain? Thinking about Faith and The Climate delivered by Dr Carmody Grey available HERE
Day 4 - Wednesday, January 26th
Today has been a very rich and energising day for all of us here at Emmaus. Two of the four sessions of the day were spent in Zoom calls with Brothers from around the world – about 125 men in the earlier session and 114 in the second gathering. The rest of the day was spent considering what was shared by the Brothers in those Zoom meetings.
It was wonderful to hear such positive feedback from Brothers who had taken part in the various Zoom calls during these past two years, specifically in the work of the scenario building, but including experiences such as the prayer groups which continue to meet. For so many, these have been rich experiences of belonging to an international brotherhood, and they have been enriching and life-giving.
Many Brothers expressed appreciation for being included in the Chapter process today, and in the conversations there was a high level of desire to continue the process of shaping our future together. There is an awareness that many documents have been generated and a concern that this might become overwhelming – how can we sift all this material and somehow focus on a few key areas to progress together? Are there some themes which are more critical and central to our living as religious brothers today that require more urgent attention?
We would like to express our thanks to all of our Brothers who participated today. You have enriched us and brought life and love to the Chapter process. Your presence has made a significant contribution to our deliberations here.
TRASNA by Raphael Considine PBVM
The pilgrims paused on the ancient stones
In the mountain gap.
Behind them stretched the roadway they had travelled .
Ahead, mist hid the track.
Unspoken the question hovered:
Why go on? Is life not short enough?
Why seek to pierce its mystery?
Why venture further on strange paths, risking all'
Surely that is a gamble for fools - or lovers.
Why not return quietly to the known road?
Why be a pilgrim still?
A voice they knew called to them, saying:
This is Trasna, the crossing place.
Choose! Go back if you must,
You will find your way easily by yesterday’s fires,
there may be life in the embers yet.
If that is not your deep desire,
Stand still. Lay down your load.
Take your life firmly in your two hands,
(Gently… you are trusted with something precious)
While you search your heart’s yearnings:
What am I seeking? What is my quest?
When your star rises deep within,
Trust yourself to its leading.
You will have the light for first steps.
This is Trasna, the crossing place. Choose!
This is Trasna, the crossing place. Come!
Day 3 - Tuesday, January 25th
Our day began with Morning Prayer on the theme of Religious Brotherhood. Our facilitator, Matthieu Daum had arrived overnight after some Covid complications and was introduced to the group. Matthieu took the opportunity to guide us through the 2-week Chapter programme. As we look to the coming days, initially we are reconnecting with each other and sensing all that has emerged since our time in Lima almost two years ago. As we begin to get a clear picture of the whole, we will look at what God is asking of us as Brothers for the world today.
The rest of today was spent exploring the various experiences of the past two years in the Zoom calls, specifically the experience of the Scenario Building process. Brothers expressed appreciation for the opportunity to gather online and engage in shaping the scenarios. Later in the day we looked at the fruits of the various Zoom calls and explored what might be missing or under-represented.
Day 2 - Monday, January 24th
The day began with the usual meditation session which was led by Hugh, and then Mass was celebrated. It was a lovely bright, sunny morning here in Emmaus so some Brothers were able to enjoy a quick walk around the grounds.
This morning we gathered for a reflective ‘Berakah’ prayer of blessing on being brother. We prayed with the Trasna poem that captures much of where we are as a Congregation. We concluded by joining the central symbol of the boat with the crossing place (Trasna) in the hymn The Water is Wide. This prepared us for the integration group work that followed.
The morning was spent in the original Integration Groups, remembering the experience of Lima in March 2020, and naming the feelings, memories and issues that have stayed with us from that experience. Brothers recalled a sense of brotherhood and belonging during our time in Lima, and were also aware of a broad diversity among us in terms of age, cultures, world-views, theologies and spiritualities.
As well as the personal impact, the afternoon session invited us to look at the impact of the last two years living with Covid on our Brothers’ communities, Provinces and on the world around us. We were particularly impacted by the added suffering of poor people – those who had relied on marginal employment to feed their families, families walking hundreds of kilometres from the empty cities to return to their home villages in search of food, our students who didn’t have the resources to connect to online learning, and so many more instances. All of this forms the backdrop to our gathering here in Emmaus and will shape the reconvened Chapter in the coming days.
In the evening we had a visit from Dr. Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin. Initially he addressed the Chapter during a social gathering and then he joined us for the evening meal. The Archbishop spoke about the role of leaders in the Church today, and in naming some of the issues facing the Church in Dublin, he touched on several issues very relevant to our Congregation and the agenda of the Chapter.
Day 1 - Sunday, January 23rd
The Brothers gathered at 11am for Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Michael Brady O.M.I. The themes from the Mass readings challenged us and resonated with the theme of Chapter, listening, discipleship and ministry among poor and disenfranchised people.
Just before lunch, Br. Joseph Turay arrived from the airport. Joseph is the last of the Brothers to arrive, so we now have a full contingent. Some may not be aware that because of Covid issues and local close-contact regulations, Brs. Paul Conn, Kevin Griffith, Parag D’Costa and Bernard White have not been able to make the journey to Dublin. Brs. Peter O’Loughlin and Tim Moloney were called upon as substitutes in the last few days and are here with us.
There was a house-keeping session in the afternoon so that all are familiar with how the house operates, where to find things you might need, what rooms are being used for what purposes, etc.
The Opening Ritual for the reconvened Chapter began at 5pm. Many brothers watched the livestream of the event, though in some parts of the world the timing was not ideal. Hugh O’Neill welcomed everybody and each of the five Province delegations and the CLT were called forth. Various symbols were added to the boat that makes up the centrepiece of the Chapter. The lighting of the Chapter candle brought the ritual to a close.
The guiding scripture text that has been chosen by the Chapter Planning Group is Luke 8: 22-25 in which Jesus calms the storm
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
Accompanying this text is the image by Fr. Sieger Köder
As we continue to discern your will and to co-create our future as Religious Brothers,
we pray that we be free from all self-interest and fear.
Open us to your ever-present creative Spirit
which leads us to see your love in all things and all people.
Renew in us the charism of our Founder, Blessed Edmund Rice
who saw Christ present and appealing to him in the poor.
Help us to engage in enriching conversation with our Brothers and all people
as we seek to deepen our response to the invitation of Jesus
to see everything with the eyes of faith,
to do nothing but with a view to You
and to ascribe all to You.
May the Brothers who gather in Chapter
be faithful to our deepest aspirations
and at this time of change and challenge, give us the courage to say
‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord’.