The delegates to the 45th General Chapter in the Lasallian Regions of North America (RELAN) and Latin America (RELAL) held a pre-Chapter meeting January 14 – 18, 2014 in Brazil.
“A purpose of this meeting was to allow all the delegates to meet each other and get to know one another better before the Chapter,” said Brother Robert Schieler, General Councilor for RELAN. “It was also important that we discussed topics and shared our points of view on issues that will be considered by the upcoming Chapter, including the election of the next Superior General.”
Given the new model of General Councilors for the Region, approved at the 44th General Chapter, this was perhaps the first time that General Councilors participated in such a gathering. Brothers Edgar Nicodem and Robert Schieler, General Councilors for the two Regions, began the meeting with a session focused on how each Region has carried out the mandate and decisions of the 44th General Chapter. The 34 Brother delegates gave reactions and reflections on various documents, including the Report of the 2013 International Mission Assembly, the Report of the International Assembly of Young Brothers, and the proposed revisions to the Brothers’ Rule. Translators helped at this truly international event by translating in English, French, and Spanish.
During the final day, delegates brainstormed topics for possible consideration by the Chapter. Such topics include: qualities of leadership needed, evangelization and pastoral ministry of vocations, deeper understanding of Lasallian association, a review of our governance and management models, and our commitment to the service of the poor.
There was also time throughout the week to socialize, visit nearby sites and Brothers’ communities, and experience traditional Brazilian food. The Brothers had opportunity to build association with two other Lasallian groups who were also gathered at the same retreat center: 15 RELAL Brothers preparing for final vows and Brothers from the District of Brazil-Chile who were on retreat.
Meeting with the 15 RELAL Brothers was a highlight for Bro. Robert. He recalls a statement made by one of these young Brothers during their meeting that filled him with hope. The young Brother was referencing the statement that says the Brothers are the “heart, the memory, and the guarantors of the Lasallian Mission.” This Brother said, “Young Brothers do not think of themselves in terms of being a memory. We believe we are hitching our wagons to something that is vital, that has a future.”
The 45th General Chapter of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools will take place in Rome April 22 – June 8, 2014.