General Chapter in Rome – UPDATE FROM FR. CHARLES POLIFKA, PROVINCIAL
Greetings from the Capuchin International College of San Lorenzo in Rome! I met Father John Pfannenstiel in Charlotte, NC. We were both on the same flight to Rome. We arrived here in Rome right on time at 9:17 a.m. (October 19th) Rome time and were met by one of the brothers who whisked us to the International College along with Fr. Frank Gasparek from New York and three friars from Spain. After getting a room assignment, several of us English speakers gathered for Mass.
Bishop John Corriveau was the main celebrant for the General Chapter’s Mass on October 20th. He delivered a wonderful homily on the theology of communion as the Church’s answer to secularism. He tied it to the Gospel of today and to the Capuchin response to the new evangelization: fraternity.
After the Mass, Minister General Mauro Johri led the prayer service which involved a long procession to the Chapter Hall (the “aula”). A Capuchin/Franciscan Litany of Saints was chanted during the procession. Mauro opened the Chapter from the Aula once all the delegates had entered. A roll call was taken with pictures of each delegate projected on a large screen as his name was called. All but two were present. The first session dealt mainly with technical issues – like how to use the electronic devices for hearing the simultaneous translations, etc.
The first meeting of the “coeti” (language groupings) took place after the general session. John Celichowski, NAPCC president, was chosen as our Coetus president, Mark Schenk was chosen as the representative to the Steering Committee, Matthew Elshoff was chosen as secretary. Our coetus discussed rather candidly some issues about the Constitutions. The vote on whether or not to accept the Constitutions into the Chapter agenda will probably take place on Friday. If the vote is “yes,” to place the Constitutions on the Agenda, then the next vote will be on whether to use the present constitutions as the text for discussion or the “proposed” text.
Fr. Charles Polifka, O.F.M.Cap.