Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings and good wishes to you. I hope this communication finds you in good health and filled with God’s blessings.
September 1, 2021 marks the completion of three years in my mandate as Superior General. When forming the General Council, I asked four Viatorians to join me in service to the international Viatorian Community. At that time, I told them that their term for service on the General Council was for three years, renewable if they so wished. After consultation with the members of the General Council, Father Claude Roy and Father Robert Jean have decided not to renew their terms as General Councilors.
I am deeply grateful to Claude and Robert for their collaboration and partnership these past three years. I fully understand their decision—for Robert because of the difficulty of obtaining the necessary visas for international travel and for Claude the opportunity to pursue additional responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Montreal. I will miss their wisdom and insight but wish them well and express my gratitude for their service on the General Council.
Andre Crozier and Claudio Rios have decided to continue serving on the General Council for the next three years. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in service to the international Congregation. I have asked Father Claudio Rios to serve as Vicar General and he has agreed to serve in that capacity.
After consultation with the Provincials, I am very happy to announce that Brother Benoit Tremblay and Father Carlos Orduna will join the General Council, effective September 1, 2021. Both Benoit and Carlos will serve as part-time Councilors, while maintaining some level of ministry. Carlos will maintain his residence in Ivory Coast and Benoit will be returning to Canada after completing his work in Peru at the end of this month. I am very grateful to both of them for their willingness to say “yes” to my request and I look forward to working closely with them as we work together with the other members of the General Council.
As you know, from the very beginning of my term the members of the General Council agreed to work in a more de-centralized mode of operation, given that there was no General House in Rome. Like the previous General Council, we live in our home Province and agreed to meet every six weeks at some location in the Congregation. This would allow us the opportunity to do the business of the General Council and also allow us to informally meet with and dialogue with confreres in that location. Initially the Council met in Arlington Heights, Canada, Spain, Colombia, France and Santiago.
February, 2020 saw the arrival of COVID-19 across the globe. We have all seen the devastating impact that virus has had on the world population. Over a yar of isolation and lockdown confronted all of us in the Provinces and Foundations. The General Council has not had the opportunity to meet in person since February, 2020. We have been meeting via ZOOM connections, but it is very difficult as we speak three languages, through translators, on ZOOM. To say that it has been challenging would be an understatement. The resurgence of the virus in some places has caused a return to travel restrictions, limited personal contact and mask wearing. The future is uncertain regarding international travel which would allow us to resume our work and pastoral visits to the Provinces and Foundations.
I am fully aware that you have suffered through those same restrictions and limitations. Provincial Councils and Chapters have been forced to meet via electronic means. Schools, parishes and many places of ministry have been forced to restrict or eliminate aspects of your ministry. The sense of isolation and frustration has affected all of us. While the future is uncertain, I hope that you join me in continuing to pray for all those who suffer from this horrible virus and, in a special way, all those who work to bring healing and hope to the sick.
As we embark on the final three years of our mandate, the members of the General Council send you our good wishes and deep gratitude for all that you do to advance the charism of Father Querbes. May your lives be blessed with God’s grace. Good wishes to you for safety and good health.
Sincerely in Viator,
Robert M. Egan, CSV