Just as St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican is the crossroads for Catholics from all around the world, so is our Generalate on Via Aurelia the crossroads for Lasallians from around the world. For example, Wednesday’s lunch brought all kinds of Lasallians from the Midwest District together: Brother Louis De Thomasis, former President of SMU, who resides and works at the Generalate; Brothers Mike Quirk and Joe Saurbier, here for the International Economic Council; Roxanne Eubank and Mary Fox, (SMU), Dominic Colonna (Lewis) and Bro. Michael French, here to prepare IALU which begins next week; and yours truly, here till next Wednesday.
Dr. Colonna, along with Dr. Dennis Cremin (Lewis), also accompanied to Rome a group of college students from four out of our six US Lasallian universities: CBU, Lewis, Manhattan, and SMU. They stayed here at Casa La Salle, the hotel portion of the Generalate, and left on Wednesday morning, They are pictured here with Brother Bob and me after we had the opportunity to meet with them briefly on Tuesday morning.
However, lest you think that all we do is pose for photo ops, let me assure you there is plenty of “seat time” involved in our meeting as Visitors. The General Council has designed a full daily schedule, each with a specific focus. While much of Monday was spent acclimating and checking in with each other on our own realities, Tuesday was given to presentations and conversations around the key roles of Visitors and Community Directors, while the afternoon was centered on vocation ministry, especially as we head toward 2019, “The Year of the Lasallian Vocation”.
On Wednesday, Brother Emili, Superior General of the Marist Brothers (FMS), presented to us on leadership and association. From the photo, you can see that Lasallians and Marists are very similar; except for the word “Marist” on the slide, it could easily be our own collage. Wednesday afternoon was devoted to apostolic leadership and animating the Lasallian Mission. The session on animation involved a very good use of technology as four Lasallian Partners and one Brother shared via prerecorded video their experiences in the District of ARLEP (Spain and Portugal). Each one ended with a set of questions for us as Visitors.
One of the striking things about the Motherhouse or Generalate these days is all the changes that have happened since the General Chapter two years ago. The basic thrust is that everything has been moved to “Blocco A” or the central wing of the very large and sprawling building. This makes sense on lots of levels, plus it utilizes much underused space. The basement or lower level, which used to be dark and dingy with lots of empty space, is now sleek and modern-looking. The new “Trinity chapel” was recently dedicated; the photo above is the window that faces the hallway.
This shot of the altar, tabernacle, and back wall shows the beautiful new icon that serves as the focal point of the chapel. Based on Rublev’s famous icon, the colors and images are very striking. The roses are from the gardens on our property.
Please continue to keep us in prayer as we attempt to tackle “the big questions” that face our Institute and our thriving Lasallian Family.