Dear Members of the Viatorian Community,
Greetings and good wishes to you. I hope this message finds you in good health and renewed spirit as we journey in these days of Advent preparing to welcome the Lord into our lives. May these Advent days be for you a time of reflection and preparation.
For some time, the members of the General Council, with other members of the Viatorian Community, have been discussing and planning for the 2024 General Chapter. I write to share some of those plans and to strongly encourage you to participate in the time of preparation for the 31st General Chapter of the Congregation to be held at Casa Divin Maestro in Ariccia, Italy from July 3-24, 2024. This important moment in the life of the Congregation invites us to reflect on and deepen our commitment to the future of the Congregation.
We want to summarize all these tasks in a theme that we propose for the 31st General Chapter: “VIATORIANS: LET US RENEW OUR COMMUNION AND MISSION.” To this end I invite you to enter enthusiastically into a process of preparation and to adopt a methodology that will be different from those of past Chapters.
This process and methodology will help us to rediscover the identity of our Viatorian vocation, in the light of the experience of Father Queries’ charism, the call of the Church to “go forth” and in the face of the challenges that the world offers us today. I am sure that if we live this process with authenticity and openness to the Spirit, the renewal of our communion and mission, whatever our personal and community situation, will find a new and renewed vigor.
In a recent address to the Union of Superiors General, Pope Francis reminded us that General Chapters serve as a living example of the call to synodality in the Church today. These become moments when we actively listen to each other as we collectively discern the future directions of our Congregation. I hope that our gathering at Ariccia will become that moment for our Congregation as together we discern the direction of our Congregation for the next six years.
In the coming weeks you will receive a description of the process to be used in preparation for the General Chapter. This will include several questions for personal, communal and Provincial reflection. Your participation in this process in the months leading up to the General Chapter will be essential to preparing for a successful Chapter. I will be asking the Provincials and leaders of the Foundations to facilitate this reflection and to prepare a synthesis of those local and provincial conversations.
From the summaries of the discernment carried out by the Provinces and Foundations, we will invite the delegates of the General Chapter to live a longer period of time during the Chapter itself for listening, prayer, dialogue and discernment as we seek to discover what the Spirit is awakening in our Congregation.
The program and process of the 31st General Chapter will provide time in the first week to receive the report on the State of the Congregation, the Financial Report, the results of the synthesis of discernment that has taken place at the local and provincial levels and significant time for listening, prayer and reflection.
I stress again that your personal and community participation in the months prior to the Chapter will be critical to the success of this process. Your reflection on the challenges facing the Congregation in Communion and Mission and the apostolic preferences for the Congregation in light of those challenges is one of the most important aspects of our collective preparation for the next Chapter.
The second week will provide time for work in committees on the questions submitted for the agenda of the 31st General Chapter. Specifically, this moment will, hopefully, succeed in light of the reflection and discernment of the first week.
Finally, the last days of the General Chapter will enable delegates to offer concrete conclusions and recommendations for our renewal in Communion and Mission. These days will also see the election of the Superior General and final conclusions for the next six years in the life of the Congregation.
The General Chapter is the supreme authority in the Congregation (C 43) and is responsible in a special way for the fidelity of the Congregation to the intentions of our Founder and to our Constitution. It is also responsible for promoting the vitality of the Congregation. Like all religious communities today, we must continually discern how we choose our priorities for action as we read the signs of our time. It is my hope that the 31st General Chapter will promote that vitality with a renewed enthusiasm and creative fidelity to Father Querbes’ vision.
As we embark on this time of preparation I ask again for your participation and personal commitment to preparing for the next General Chapter. May God’s Spirit instill in each of us the openness and courage to look to the future with faith.
My best wishes to you with a prayer for God’s blessings in your life.
Sincerely in Viator and Querbes,
Robert M. Egan, CSV