Rome, Friday, 21 September 2012
The Intercapitular Assembly devoted the whole day of 19 and the morning of 20 to the preparation of the next General Chapter in 2015. Fr. Mariano Tibaldo and Fr. Antonio Villarino presented the research that both of them have made about the methodology and the statutes followed by other Institutes in their Chapters. Fr. Alberto Pelucchi (in the photo) reminded all about what the Rule of Life of the Comboni Missionaries upholds in this regard. It was followed by individual prayer times, teamwork and sharing in the hall in order to offer indicative guidelines to the General Council about the next General Chapter. Days 21 and 22 September were reserved to the superiors of the circumscriptions for meeting with the GC.

The participants to the Intercapitular Assembly.

The General Chapter XVII - concerning the preparation of the General Chapter of 2015 - had asked the General Council (GC) to present to the Intercapitular Assembly “a study made by experts to identify different methodologies that could be used in the preparation of the Chapter as well as in its organisation. This study should also include the evaluation of the By-laws followed in this Chapter and propose other types of By-laws, consistent with the methodological options identified” (CA ’09, n. 196). N. 27 of the Guide to the Implementation of the XVII General Chapter and the Planning of the General Council have reiterated the same point.

This study requested by the Chapter of 2009 was entrusted to Fr Mariano Tibaldo and Fr. Antonio Villarino who presented the procedures - from the preparation to until after the Chapter - followed by the Institutes of the Consolata Missionaries, Xaverian and PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions). The Vicar General, Fr Alberto Pelucchi, quoted and commented on the numbers (146, 151, 153, and 154) of the Rule of Life of the Comboni Missionaries which relate to the theme of the Chapter, the supreme authority of the Institute. There followed a short time to ask for clarification.

In the afternoon they worked in language groups with the following objectives: to decide whether to make the next Chapter based on one single theme (monothematic) or open to different themes; which theme or themes; whether to be guided by a facilitator or not; whether to fix the duration of the Chapter in advance or not and, finally, to appoint, if appropriate, a commission for possible simplification of the Statute Chapter, so that it would be a reference tool that is flexible in the running of the Chapter and would leave more space in facilitating it or to the central committee. In the last session of the day, representatives of the groups presented their proposals in the hall.

On the morning of Thursday, September 20, the suggestions of the groups became the topics of a long debate. The participants in the Intercapitular Assembly identified the guidelines about which all agreed, so they voted, by a majority, on the essential points for a monothematic (one single theme) Chapter assisted by a facilitator. They also agreed about the duration of the Chapter fixed beforehand and the need to revise the Chapter Statute. As for the main topic of the next Chapter, the provincial and delegate superiors have been directed towards the theme of being Comboni Missionaries in the time of the new evangelization. These conclusions will serve as a guideline for CG.

The Assembly spent the last afternoon to exchange ideas on some of the activities of the Institute in the field of Justice and Peace. Following the agenda, Fr. Daniele Moschetti spoke about the conclusions of the Comboni Forum on the Integrity of Creation, which took place last June in Rio de Janeiro, and on the next World Social Forum (22-28 March 2013) that will be followed by the Comboni Forum (29-31 March 2013) in Tunis. Fr. Daniel gave each participant a CD - a recent production of the Comboni Family – by the title “Stolen Lands/ Rights denied”, on the issue of land-gabbing in the southern hemisphere. Afterwards, Fr Simon Bauce briefly presented what’s being done in the Comboni province of Ecuador concerning Justice and Peace.

The Intercapitular Assembly was closed by the Superior General, Fr Enrique Sánchez González, who thanked all those present for their work during these three weeks and for the missionary service that are carrying out in the countries where the Comboni Missionaries are present. “Thank you - he said - for the passion with which you live the mission and for the witness of all the confreres who live the mission close to the poor and needy. Our concern should always be the people. (...) I am grateful for the loving presence of the Spirit of God and the charism of St. Daniel Comboni in the lives of the confreres and in the Institute.”

After the final words and a short break, all moved to the chapel to celebrate the Eucharist presided over by the Superior General. In his homily, Fr Enrique said five keywords: loyalty, trust, urgency, hope and faith, explicitly linking them to God, to St. Daniel Comboni and the Comboni Missionaries. At the end of the Mass, he also thanked the community of the General House for their fraternal welcome.
Days 21 and 22 September were reserved to the superiors of the circumscriptions for meeting with the GC.

Fr. Mariano Tibaldo and Fr. Antonio Villarino.

Fr. Daniele Moschetti.