It is important that all take actively and wholeheartedly part in the provincial and continental preparation so that the Chapter may reflect everyone’s contribution.

I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full (Jn 10:10).

I am happy in the Cross, which, when borne willingly out of love for God, gives birth to victory and eternal life (Writing 7246).

Dear Confreres,

The journey towards the General Charter 2009 is going on. Its remote preparation includes the work done on the Ratio Missionis during the past years and its formal preparation started in September last year with the appointment of the “Thematic Commissions”.
These Commissions have worked to prepare their reports on the themes of the Ratio Missionis, Formation, Government and By-laws (Statute). This work, completed last September, produced an abundance of documents which we have entrusted to the “Chapter’s Preparatory Commission”, asking them to prepare an introduction, as a guideline and help to these documents.
We are happy to present to you, now, the results of the Preparatory Commission with the other documents, which form the basic text on which we shall work, from now till the start of the Chapter.
We ask all the confreres to study these basic documents (Reports of the Thematic Commissions on the Ratio Missionis, Formation and Government). These and all other relevant documents will also be made available on our Website.
It is important that all take actively and wholeheartedly part in the provincial and continental preparation so that the Chapter may reflect everyone’s contribution.
In particular, we ask the Chapter Delegates to conscientiously prepare themselves by studying the basic documents as well as all other reading material.

Preparation Stages

1st January – April 2009: Provincial Stage
The provincial preparation for the Chapter is programmed from January to April 2009. The preparation will take place at individual, community and possibly zonal level; the feasibility of having a provincial assembly is warmly recommended.
a. Each province has to programme the studying of the basic documents (fundamental text). It is important that all the confreres have the possibility to know the themes and to offer their contribution.
b. The contributions of the individual confreres, communities and/or zonal assemblies are to be collected by a commission (which should include the Chapter delegates) with the task of making a résumé and organising it. Where a Provincial Assembly is planned, it may approve the contents. The provincial contributions will then be presented to the Continental Assembly and forwarded to the Precapitular Commission. Confreres may send their individual proposals, if they wish so, directly to the Precapitular Commission by the 31 May 2009.
c. During this time, the Provincial Council together with the Chapter Delegates will also prepare the Provincial Report, which will be presented to the Continental Assembly and to the Chapter: the Report has to be sent to the Precapitular Commission by 31 May 2009 in two of the official languages of your choice.
d. We suggest that the methodology to be used during the Provincial stage be the one already experimented in the stage of discernment of the process of the Ratio Missionis (namely, personal reading, prayer, group work and discernment in the assembly).

II. April-May 2009: Continental Assemblies
The Continental Assemblies are mainly intended as means of formation and information for the Chapter Delegates. The Assemblies help each delegate to know and understand better the themes of the Chapter and its dynamics (By-laws). They are a time of preparation to the Chapter, where we are asked to overcome provincialisms and to aim instead at the true goal: the good of the Institute and of the Comboni mission (RV 151).
a. The Continental Assemblies form the Chapter Delegates for the event of the Chapter, its theme and importance.
b. The Assemblies help us to know and practise the methodology that is appropriate to the Chapter (By-laws). We ask you to make use of the methodology presented by those who revised the By-laws of the Chapter. It is important, indeed, that the Chapter Delegates become familiar with the By-laws before they come to the Chapter, so that they may actively contribute to their approval and, if necessary, to make further modifications.
c. During the Continental Assembly the reports of the provinces are presented and deepened in view of processing them into a Continental Report, by preferably using the capitular methodology (By-laws). In compiling the Continental Report, one has to take into account the journey made during the past five years, reviewing the aims each continent had indicated as well as the objectives achieved, with a specific reference to the formulation of the continental plans.
d. During the Continental Assembly the main themes of the Chapter are to be shared and deepened by comparing them with the contributions from the provinces elaborated during the provincial stage. The purpose of such sharing is to deepen and enrich the basic documents. The contributions of each continent, the outcome of the work of the Assemblies, are then shared with the other continents and the Precapitular Commission.
e. It is important to underline that these assemblies are the initial stage of a discernment where the dimension of knowing, deepening and sharing has to prevail, especially with regard to less known and less understood situations, avoiding to go into decision-making processes. The right to discern and decide belongs to the Chapter itself. Consent and decision are, instead, explicitly asked in the case of the Continental Report.
f. At the end of their meeting in January 2009, the Precapitular Commission will make available further information on how to plan the Continental Assemblies and will help in their preparation.

III. June-September 2009: Immediate Preparation
The Provincial and Continental Reports, as well as the reflections and proposals of the Continental Assemblies, edited by the Precapitular Commission, are circulated to all the Chapter Delegates and confreres.
In the month of June 2009 the Precapitular Commission will meet to collate and draw-up all the material to be presented to the Chapter: 1. The Report of the General Council, Secretariats and Offices; 2. The provincial and continental reports; 3. The documents on the basic themes (Ratio Missionis, Formation and Government), including the contributions of the Provinces and Continental Assemblies; 4. Any other contribution.

IV. 31 August-5 September 2009: Week of Preparation to the Chapter
During this week the Chapter Delegates will prepare themselves for the Chapter with days of recollection and reflection, guided by theologians and experts.

V. 6 September 2009: Solemn opening of the XVII General Chapter

This is, in brief, the journey of preparation to the XVII General Chapter.


We thank all the confreres who have so far actively contributed to the process of the Ratio Missionis, the members of the Thematic Commissions and those of the Chapter’s Preparatory Commission.
Let us continue to invoke God’s Spirit and the assistance of St. Daniel Comboni so that we may be able to revitalise, highlight and re-qualify the essential values of our charism, here and now. All this by following the ideal outlined by Jesus, Missionary of the Father, and experienced by Comboni, missionary of Christ.

Fraternally Yours, in the Heart of Christ

15 November 2008

Fr. Teresino Serra and his Council
Provincial and Continental Stage