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austraLasia #3401



ROME: 24 March 2014 
D = Discernment!

As the entire Congregation is already expressing it thanks to the man who has led it for 12 years, thoughts now turn to he - and those - who must lead it into the future.

Monday is Discernment Day. Not everything happens on Monday! It leads to Tuesday, Wednesday ... We could expect to have a new RM on Tuesday.

We provide here some insights into how this discernment process will take place. It is an 'open field', in some ways perhaps more open than ever before, and the facilitator will be reminding 230 Chapter members of just that.

           But first - we say thank you to Fr Pascual Chávez. He has led the Congregation wisely, gently, firmly for 12 years. Thank you!  It is expected that Fr Pascual will address a brief letter to the entire Congregation this Monday 24 March. It will undoubtedly be made available on

Now, D-Day

First some interesting little details that might escape general notice.  Since the decision was made last week about  which regions are which in the Congregation,  the new configuration will obtain for anything in discernment involving regions.  For example:

- There are seven churches or chapels, no less, in the General House, of different sizes (two of these have been especially 'created' but the others already exist as chapels). Each region is assigned its chapel/church. A meeting hall is likewise assigned to regions. So the new Region configuration for Europe, North Central and Mediterranean will already be in place.
- Since there will be a degree of reflection and discernment going on at Regional level, the oldest confrere (if willing) or the next one down in age until someone is willing (!) will help with discernment.
- current Sector and Regional councillors have the option of joining in with their region of origins (UPS which is a tiny region is already assigned this way anyway). In which case they can vote with that region. They may also choose not to.

Fr Garcia Paredes cfm, Claretian, who will be facilitating the discernment, will lead the chapter members through a reflection on Monday which will, amongst other things, invite them to look at this 'sacramental' moment. He will remind them of conscience and the Spirit, that this is community discernment as well as personal. He will speak 'in praise of slow, substantial time' so they can 'discover the David (1 Sam 16:12) amongst them'.

On another occasion today he will remind them that this is an ecclesial, congregation and even global moment, given the extension of our Congregation. he will provide two biblical texts for personal lectio divina. He will invite them to think about what the spiritual features of a 21st century leader might be, and he will remind them of Pope Francis' stirring words in Evangelii Gaudium: "I once more invoke the Holy Spirit. I implore Him to come and renew the Church, to stir and impel her to go forth boldly to evangelise all peoples".

The actual steps towards electing a Rector Major
In practical terms he will lead them into the more immediate steps for discerning and then voting for the new Rector Major:
1. Being aware of the theological and spiritual significance - what is God's will in the context of the Congregation, the Church, the world? Here they will write things down which will be shared with the whole Assembly. There will be time for personal prayer and to consult with others.
2. This leads them to the second step, where the chapter members look at the Congregational context. Here, after an inspirational introduction by the facilitator (see above on the spiritual features of a 21st century leader) he will invite them to think of the profile of a good Rector Major for today. Again, personal prayer, lectio, consultation, 'corridor' chats, they will write something down on this - the profile.
3. First straw vote: there will have been convergences and divergences in such a profile. This is where the facilitator can also help. But this time they begin to look for names of individuals - who are the people the Spirit is offering us - which way is the 'wind' blowing.
4. This step is based on having a list of names from the earlier stage - names emerging with more than just one 'backer' - may 10, 20. At this point two things can happen - someone who in conscience did not want to be part of that list could indicate so, and there might still be people not on that list at all who can enter in at a subsequent point.
5. By this step, an alphabetical list of names is provided. Then there is Mass, invocation of the Holy Spirit and the election tales place - for as many rounds as is needed.

The entire Congregation is invited to pray for this moment.