It has been a busy July and August with two major events back-to-back, the Associates Commitment Weekend and the Brothers’ General Chapter in Rome.
The Associates Commitment Weekend was a wonderful couple days at the Bon Secours Retreat Center. Brooke Schaab and I had the chance to make our commitment and many other Associates who attended took the opportunity to renew their commitment, as well. Thank you to all those folks who helped in the planning of the event or lent a helping hand as the weekend unfolded. Thank you to the presenters, who did a beautiful job with their presentations: Chuck Belzner, Peg Weidner, Brother Larry Harvey, Brother Jerry O’Leary, Mike McGeehin, Brother Paul Feeney, and Brother Joe Pawlika. Also a big thank you to those who helped led us in prayer: Brothers Cornie Hubbuch, Paul Murray, and Bonaventure Scully, Fr. Dan Magni, Mike Buckley, and Jeannette Suflita. And, of course, thank you to all of you who were able to attend the whole weekend, or some part of it, or were able to join us on the webcast, there was no doubt a great sense of community and celebration. More on the weekend below.
As mentioned in a video update from Brother Richard Mazza, the General Chapter included a working committee on Associates. The delegates in that committee were Brothers Richard Mazza, Bob Green, Vincent Misiati (Kenya), and Serge Lumbala (Congo). Brother Joe Pawlika and myself also participated in the discussion. The discussion and presentation to the Chapter Delegates were both very positive. Brothers Serge and Vincent expressed a desire to explore introducing the Associates program to their respective countries, and overall there was a clear affirmation of the Associates program and our Charism statement. More details on the Chapter below.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer. Enjoy the remaining weeks.
All the best,
Xaverian Brothers Associate & Coordinator of Membership
The satellite group continues to hold their meetings on Google+ Hangouts. They met on July 13 to share prayer and discussion. The discussion centered on two quotes—one from Ernest Becker’s book, Denial of Death, and the other from the Fundamental Principles—and the group tackled the reality of our human mortality and what that means for our lives and our faith. The group is setting up a meeting in September or October. They are also attempting to stay more connected over email in regard to the prayer lives; sharing resources and thoughts from time-to-time. They also brought up the idea of gathering face-to-face at some point in the next year or so.
The Brooklyn Associates take the award for best attendance at the Associates Commitment Weekend; there were five of them: Vincent and Amelia Maligno, John Gillen, Bill Gorman, and Ann Marie Marcello.
One of the Maryland groups is planning a gathering for September 8 at the Carmelite Monastery in Towson. The group will attend Mass together and then enjoy Brunch at a local restaurant.
The New England Xaverian Associates continue to pause for prayer each Thursday at 4 PM.
Photos from the Commitment Weekend
Associates Commitment Ceremony
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the webcast of Commitment Ceremony, it’s still online.
Commitment Weekend Presentations
Brother Jerry O’Leary has provided a PDF version of his talk on Peace & Justice. And Brother Joe Pawlika has shared his notes from his presentation on Spiritual Listening. Brother Joe’s pamphlet of resources on listening can also be downloaded. We’re working on putting together a video version of Brother Larry and Chris Irr’s presentation on Xaverian Mission. In the meantime, a video presentation of the Brother’s Charism statement was presented at the Chapter, and it captures some of the content from the mission presentation.
Associates Committee at the General Chapter
As mentioned above, coming out of the General Chapter, there is much to be hopeful about regarding the Associates program. The Committee proposed the following four statements, and one suggested practice, to the Chapter Delegates, who went on to affirm each. These are taken from a draft of the full Chapter report. That document is still being edited and we’ll pass it along as soon as we have it available.
1. The 27th General Chapter affirms the Xaverian Brothers Associate Program as a means to accompany others in the development of an integrated life of contemplation, service, and communion with the Brothers in the Xaverian Way.
2. The 27th General Chapter embraces the “Description of the Charism as lived by the Associates” as a faithful expression of the Xaverian Way for those who have been called to the single, married, or priestly life.
3. The members of the 27th General Chapter recommend that our African regions in Congo and Kenya explore the establishment of Associate programs in conjunction with communication and support from the African Brothers and Congregational leadership. The Founder’s global aspirations may further encourage us to explore a similar expansion of this Association with members of our Xaverian family who reside in Belgium, England, and other missionary regions of the Congregation.
4. The members of the 27th General Chapter acknowledge the responsibility of the Brothers to familiarize ourselves with the Xaverian Brothers Associate Program and to welcome the Associates into our lives. The coordinators of the Program will provide updates and resources to the Brothers on a regular basis.
Practice: The Xaverian Brothers strive to serve our Associates in their ongoing formation through personal relationships and accompaniment as well as through providing spiritual and formational resources from the Congregation’s unfolding tradition. These resources may include prayer forms and services, historical materials, audio and visual media, and apostolic guides, in addition to opportunities for retreats, days of recollection and reflection.
Brother Edward Driscoll
Brother Edward Driscoll was elected the 16th General Superior of the Xaverian Brothers. Brother Edward is currently the Coordinator of the Louisville Associates group. As he will be moving to the Generalate in Baltimore, we will be seeking to replace Brother Edward with a new brother-coordinator down in Louisville. Brother Edward and the newly elected General Council addressed the Chapter Delegate before the conclusion of the Chapter and outlined some hopes and vision for the Congregation.
Save the Date
We have booked the Bon Secours Retreat House once again next year for the Associate Retreat Weekend. June 20th – 22nd, 2014. This will be different from the Commitment Weekend in a couple of ways. There will not be a commitment ceremony and the program will not focus on orientation, but rather deepening in the call to be an Associate. All of the Brothers will also be invited to attend this weekend retreat. We are currently seeking a retreat leader and will pass that info along as soon as we have it!