The Provincial Chapter occurs every 3 years. Superiors and those chosen as representatives “examine the state of the province and to foster its progress in all aspects…” It is also a time to “verify common work and seek together the signs of the will of God, with a great sense of responsibility in regard to the community that they represent (CO 242).” To keep all of our 3rd Order, friends and benefactors informed, we offer this short summary of the proceedings:
On 30 May 2015 at 9am, with the Holy Mass in honor of our Most Holy Mother, we began the 32nd Chapter of the Roman Province that includes 13 Italian communities, 6 from the USA, and 6 from India.
Present were all 38 Capitular Fathers; Fr. General spoke of Mary as a model of our Consecrated Life, and Inspirer of every Mercedarian work.
At 10:30 am, the Capitular Asslembly opened with the prayers prescribed by the Ritual, and the greeting of Fr. General which, making reference to the teachings of the Holy Father Francis, invited all to fall in love with the Mother of Mercy, keeping in our hearts attention to the peripheries of freedom.
Then, the Chapter passed to concrete aspects:
- Fr. General nominated Fr's. Nunzio Masiello and Matthew Phelan as moderators
- He then nominated Fr's. Aristotle Franco Wellesly and Sergio Girau as Scrutinizers
- The Assembly voted for the election of the Secretary of the Chapter: Fr. Stefano Defraia was elected, and Fr's. Eugenio Caramia and Francesco Podda will assist him in his work
- The Liturgical Commission - for the animation of the celebrations will be composed of Fr's. Pasquale Agostino, David Spencer, and Martin Naduvilezuthaikal
- The Commission in charge of Communications was formed with Fr's. Sundar Raj Madalaimuthu, Scottston Brentwood, and Efisio Schirru
- The responsibility of the "Convocator" at various points was given to Fr. Justin Freeman
In the afternoon, at 4 pm, Fr. Sandro Barlone proposed to the Assembly a reflection on the Chapter as a time of dicernment, leaving some points for personal prayer and meditation.
At 6 pm, the Assembly held a session of listening and dialogue.
At the conclusion of the day, all prayed Vespers together, and celebrated the Saturday Mercedarian Devotions.
Today, in the Universal Church we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which overrides the Feast of the Visitation, the titular feast of the Roman Province, which, however, we still wanted to remember.
At 7:30 am, we all returned to the renovated chapel for the celebration of the Office of Readings and Morning Prayers.
Special booklets were prepared for the liturgy with the texts in both Italian and English, as our Province embraces brothers of the two languages. This is why the liturgy was today, as well in the coming days, will have this diversity of languages, in a communion that goes beyond words and finds unity in prayer.
After the prayers, and a moment for breakfast, we returned in the Capitular Hall for the second session which began the Informative Phase.
The first to speak was Fr. Francesco Podda who, as Provincial, presented the report on the state of the Province and of the triennium which just ended.
We were given some information: as of 30 May 2015, the provincial community was composed of 110 in Solemn Vows, of which 96 are priests, 4 are non-clerical brothers, and 10 are Solemnly Professed and on their way to becoming priests, 6 of which are already ordained Deacons. The Religious are distributed among 25 communities, of which 13 are in Italy, 6 in the USA, and 6 in India.
At the moment, there are 18 Simply Professed in the Province, of which 2 are in the USA, and 16 in India.
There are no Novices, however, there are 17 Postulants, of which 2 are in Italy, and 15 in India.
Next followed the reports of the Vicar of the USA, Fr. Kenneth Breen, and of the Delegate of India, Fr. Vincenzo Pennella, who gave information on the actual situation in the USA and in the Mission of the India.
In the afternoon, it was possible to ask the three speakers questions, and then, as time permitted, we began to hear the reports of the local communities. We began with Alghero, followed by Cagliari.
At 7 pm, the Holy Mass and Vespers were celebrated.
The intention of the prayer today is for the oppressed and persecuted, while the liturgy reminds us of St. Justin Martyr: a beautiful event since two of the Capitular Fathers celebrate their name day. They are the Fr’s. Justin Freeman of the USA and Justin Alex of India.
After the celebration of the Office of Readings, Morning Prayers, the community prayers and breakfast, at 9:15 am, we had the session of the Chapter which took up with the reading of the reports of individual houses for those related to Italy. We began with Carpignano, followed by Florence, Naples, Nemi, Orvieto, and Padova.
There were some relative questions to be answered and clarified, then there was a break.
At 11 am, we continued with the other reports: Palermo, S. Maria della Mercede - Rome, and the Studentato (St. Peter Nolasco).
In the afternoon we took up the reading of the reports of San Cataldo, San Vito dei Normanni, and with these, we concluded the part related to Italy.
Afterwards we followed with information from the Vicariate of the USA: beginning with Mt. Carmel in Cleveland, and followed by St. Rocco (also in Cleveland) and Our Lady of Lourdes in Philadelphia.
After a break, we continued with reports from the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy in Philadelphia, Le Roy, the Nolasco House in St. Petersburg FL, and the report of the Formators in Italy. The one responsible for formation in the USA combined the data of this area to the report of the local community.
After dinner there was a time of celebration in honor of the Community and of the brothers who were celebrating their name day, and we spend some time in healthy leisure.