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The Congregation Chapter was held in two parts due to Covid.
It began in Lima, Perú on March 1st, 2020 and was scheduled to last four weeks. A process called Theory U was used. The first two weeks focused on the Initiating and Sensing stages of listening to story, considering Reports, and getting a picture of the larger Congregation reality. As the Sensing stage was nearing the end, the world around us changed, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Congregation Chapter was suspended on its 13th day.
A group called Sustaining Our Momentum was then established to help connect the Chapter Delegates with the Brothers of the Congregation, so that we might explore how to continue our journey together. International Zoom calls took place during the last months of 2020 and during the first months of 2021. 24 international prayer groups were formed. Many of these still continue to meet. In anticipation of the eventual resumption of the Congregation Chapter, the focus of the international Zooms moved to a Scenario Building process as a further step in co-creating the future of our Brotherhood.
The Chapter began again in Dublin in February 2022, when Covid had eased somewhat and delegates were able to gather. Returning to the Sensing phase of Theory U, the Capitulants revisited the Lima experience, shared stories around the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, and reviewed the processes that had taken place since March 2020. This led into the more contemplative Presencing phase.
Chapter 2020-2022, a significant event in our ongoing journey together,
- highlighted Care of the Earth as the major issue on the world’s agenda.
- endorsed the continuation of processes engaging all Brothers in co-creating the future of our religious Brotherhood
- accepted three pairs of statements that can form a lens through which we view all that we are and do as Brothers
The Cry of Mother Earth: Care for Our Common Home
As far as we know, the only planet in an immense universe on which life has emerged is our wonderful, blue planet Earth. Earth is home to myriad creatures, ourselves included.
Today, Earth is severely diminished by human ignorance and greed. We Brothers join with Earth as She cries out in protest.
In his encyclical Laudato Si', Pope Francis calls each one of us to a transformation of heart and soul with a growing awareness of the ecological challenges facing our home, Mother Earth.
- The Congregation Chapter calls each of our Brothers to embrace the Pope’s call to love and protect our planet through contemplation, prayer, and action.
- The Chapter commits the Congregation to support the Laudato Si' Action Platform, as invited by Pope Francis.
- The Chapter calls us all into a deeper love for Mother Earth, leading to a fundamental conversion of heart, expressed in our daily life choices.
Where is the Spirit leading?
In Emmaus, after initially re-connecting with the Sensing phase of Theory U, we moved into a more contemplative space, for Presencing. We were to be present to the material, to what we had heard, to what we felt, and to stillness. What was the Spirit saying? Could we put this into one or two simple phrases?
Independently, three groups of 12 expressed what was being heard and where the Spirit seemed to be leading us:
- The Spirit is calling us to journey together through contemplative experiences leading us to ongoing transformation.
- The Spirit is calling us to acknowledge our fears and embrace our diversity in order to release energy for life and mission.
- Led by the Spirit we embrace diversity as the gift of life.
- God is love - in love there is no fear.
- You are called to rebirth your brotherhood by personal transformations.
- You are called to recognise God at work through feminine energy allowing you to see your brokenness and diversity.
As we continue to discern your will and to co-create our future as Religious Brothers,
we pray that we be free from all self-interest and fear.
Open us to your ever-present creative Spirit
which leads us to see your love in all things and all people.
Renew in us the charism of our Founder, Blessed Edmund Rice
who saw Christ present and appealing to him in the poor.
Help us to engage in enriching conversation with our Brothers and all people
as we seek to deepen our response to the invitation of Jesus
to see everything with the eyes of faith,
to do nothing but with a view to You
and to ascribe all to You.
May the Brothers who gather in Chapter
be faithful to our deepest aspirations
and at this time of change and challenge, give us the courage to say
‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord’.