The following is a continuation of the highlights of the Provincial Chapter in Nemi, Italy. The Chapter began May 30 and concludes June 6th.
COMMUNICATION OF 2 JUNE 2015
This day began with Mass in honor of our Holy Father Peter Nolasco, in this year especially dedicated to him on our journey towards the Jubilee of 2018.
The particular prayer intention was for the Mercedarian Superiors and the whole Mercedarian Family. At 9.15 am we began the session by continuing the reading of the reports. It was time for India, and the report was read by the community Edacochin. Then followed Elantikara and Cuddapah.
After the questions, there was a pause, and we returned at 11 am.
Information was presented regarding the communities of Munnar, Patlur, and Eraviputhenthurai. Then came some information about the vocational-formative work in the Mission of India.
Before lunch, there was an unplanned event: there was the singing of the National Anthem of Italy, given today, as it is the feast of the anniversary of the Republic of Italy.
In the afternoon we entered into the programming phase, for which, after the methodology of the work was given, we were divided into 4 groups formed by 8-9 Religious composed of those from Italy, USA, and India.
It was a good way to experience the diverse sensibilities and perceptions, and to understand the various languages, cultures, ages, etc. that can be gained from the lessons and examples that help to increase communion in the Roman Province.
At the end of the work by the work groups, we returned to the Assembly where the various secretaries of the groups gave a synthesis of what was said in their respective groups regarding the first area, the fraternal life of the community.
The path that was traced that will help us follow a journey which will bring us closer to the goal that we ourselves will travel for the next triennium: The first witness is that the Religious offer to the world is their own consecration, lived in fraternity in the local and provincial community.
COMMUNICATION OF 3 JUNE 2015
At 7:30 am, the day began with the Liturgy of the Hours (the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer) and the communitarian prayers.
Afterwards, we returned to the Assembly for the reading of the Verbale and the vote on the group work in the area of Religious Life.
A very touching moment of this day was the visit of the Archbishop of Erbil (in Iraq), Mashar Warda, who was present in Rome for a few obligations and accepted the invitation to visit the Chapter Assembly.
In the presence of all the Capitulars, Archbishop Warda gave information that very clearly “provoked” us: the Christians of Iraq are fleeing because of the continual persecution. In 2003, there were nearly 1.2 million Christians in Iraq, now in 2014, it was reduced to 300,000: in ten years they were reduced by 25% of what they were before, and the persecution continues.
There is a real sale of Christian slaves, especially women and children, that they take to sell in markets.
We then returned in time to that which regards the Islamic violence confronting the Christians that do not have many possibilities to flee: either they convert to Islam, or they pay a tax, or they leave. Many times, however, they are killed.
For us Mercedarians the Archbishop asked of us:
– Prayer above all else
– To spread information to others about this theme
– Economic support
– To support the social-educative services, and bring them forward.
The Diocese of Erbil is, in fact, welcoming thousands of families fleeing persecution.
The Roman Province has “twinned” itself with the Diocese of Erbil, and now, has remembered it in prayer and in the donation of several thousand Euro.
We continued our group-work for programming the next three years, and the evening ended with Mass and the recitation of Vespers in honor of St. Charles Lwanga and Company, martyrs, while the intention of the prayer was for the dead, especially those of the last triennium.
COMMUNICATION OF 4 JUNE 2015
The day began with the Holy Mass and Morning Prayer celebrated according to the ordinary intention: for vocations and their formation.
The first gathering of the assembly was dedicated to the vote of the program, prepared by the Commission and then discussed in some cases, which was worked on in the four work groups.
As the vote was rather quick, we divided into geographic groups (one for India, one for the USA, and two for Italy) to integrate, if it was needed, the various areas of the program with initiatives and instruments of a more “local” flavor.
These initiatives were then presented in the Assembly and approved.
The election phase began in the afternoon with all of the Superiors giving their envelopes containing the verbale and the ballots with the votes for the new Provincial Government.
These ballots were opened by the scrutinizers, who counted the votes, and after the formal verification of the correct number, we proceeded to the scrutiny of the vote, at the end of which, Fr. General announced the candidates for Provincial and the Provincial Council.
After a break, we returned to the Chapel for a penitential service with the exposition of the Eucharist. Fr. Giovannino Tolu gave the Capitular Fathers a reflection on three biblical themes: the Transfiguration, the perfume of Mary that she used to anoint the feet of Jesus, and the raised hands of Moses.
The cry of joy of Peter in the Transfiguration is our cry: it is good that we are here! We want to tell the world that we do not know any other joy than to share the tent where Jesus dwells, brighter than the sun.
Mary at Bethany loves without calculating and evaluation. For many, the Consecrated Life is a waste and Religious are wasting this life. However, we choose to waste it only for Jesus, and for the captives. Only with charity to the captives, the oppressed, the imprisoned, and the least of society can we feel the fragrance of God’s love.
Moses on mountain was supported in a way that kept his hands raised.
It is a mystery, the strength of raised hands.
Who prays is like one who has hands on the wheel of history.
Without prayer you go off the road, you do not get to where you want to go.
COMMUNICATION OF 5 JUNE 2015
With the Holy Mass of the Holy Spirit, presided over by the Master General Pablo Ordone, we opened the day dedicated to the election of the new Provincial Government.
The General, in his reflective homily, spoke of the Holy Spirit as a door to peace in the hearts of the community to help facilitate dialogue. A real dialogue, without closures and fictions that makes us consider ourselves all-important within this Mercedarian community that God has dreamed up for redemptive mission.
The Spirit helps us in our discernment to lead us into a profound and existential friendship with Him; a friendship crossed by the Love of loves, able to say it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
The Holy Spirit opens us to the frontier mission, invited to go outside of ourselves, of our presence, of that which “was always this way.”
At 9:30 am, the Chapter Assembly, after fulfilling the rites, proceeded to elect our Fr. Provincial: the result was that Fr. Francesco Podda was reelected, and he accepted the grave obligation.
He then took the oath and gave the profession of faith.
After a break given by the President of the Assembly, we began the vote for the election of the Provincial Councilors.
These were elected:
– Eugenio Caramia – Samuele Salis – Stefano Defraia – Efisio Schirru
These, after the election, took the oath.
The Religious shared fraternal greetings of peace and well wishes with those elected.