One of the perks of being here at “The Casa” during this lovely time of year is pictured here: fresh apricots! The weather really has been very pleasant: cool nights and sunny days. We had last Saturday off, so I headed out to a museum and then to Ostia, which is on the Mediterranean. It was nice to just stroll along the beach and see the Italians enjoying themselves on a weekend afternoon.
By the end of Friday, we Visitors had totaled 20 sessions! Again, that’s a lot of stitting and listening (in multiple languages). Thursday morning was focused on the two issues of Aging and Aged Districts (like North and South Belgium) and restructuring. The Lasallian East Asia District (or LEAD) is now five years old, and Bro. Edmundo is the Visitor. Here is a map of LEAD:
So, whenever I complain about traveling in the Midwest District, I just have to recall what Bro. Edmundo has to do to get from one part of the district to another. As you may recall, I did experience two sectors last January while visiting Brothers Marty Sellner and Larry Humphrey in the Philippines and Singapore.
On Thursday afternoon, Brother Ambrose Payne from Australia and interim head of the International Ecomonic Council shared a rather sobering assessment of current Institute finances vis a vis the trajectory of rapidly aging districts. On Friday, we spent lots of time discussing General Chapter Propositions 19 and 27, dealing with new international initiatives. Each Region is asked to identify an initiative that is in direct service to the poor as well as one that can serve as an international vocation discernment community. Our RELAN group had a good discussion about what makes sense for us, given the importance of sustainability in initiatives that are currently serving the poor, much less new ones. We end each day with a mass at 6:30pm. Needless to say, we were all grateful that this rather grueling week was at an end.
Ah, nothing like a good (Bavarian) beer on a Friday night with the guys, in this case, Bro. Leonardo, Visitor of Bogota, and Paulo, General Councilor (RELAL) from Brazil. It was so nice to unwind. That combined with the free day Saturday really helped me rejuvenate. Sunday was a day of recollection for us and the theme was: “Our Ministry of Leadership.” Bro. Tim Coldwell led us through the day which consisted of three sessions combined with prayer. I really appreciated the time to reflect upon my role as Visitor.
While we are meeting here in Rome, so are the leaders of the Congregation of Christian Brothers (more commonly known in the US as the “Irish Christian Brothers”), and so the General Council invited them to join us for a social and dinner. In this photo, Bro. Bob is welcoming our guests to our rooftop, where we had dinner. Beside him is Brother Hugh O’Neil, CFC Superior General. It was a delicious dinner, with lots of grilled meat and also seafood and salad. Brother Diego Munoz, Archivist, did the grilling, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the results.
So, week two begins, and we’ll finish Wednesday noon. Keep us in your prayers as we get down to discerning how best to utilize the 2018 Intercapitular Meeting.