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N

otes

from

R

ome

By Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC

I am writing this article from Lithuania where I’m

attending just such an event.

It is a chance to continue to rejoice over this great

moment in our

Congregation’s history

and to help

more people come to know this new saint who has

proven to be

a powerful intercessor f

or Marian Helpers

around the world.

But we’re not just looking back — we’re very much

looking ahead. Indeed, another task that we have

before us in our Roman House right now involves

getting ready for our Marian Congregation’s next

General Chapter, which will take place in February.

Our Congregation’s General Chapter is an impor-

tant meeting that takes place every six years in Rome.

About 30 Marians from around the world will attend.

Either they were elected as delegates from their prov-

inces or vicariates, or they are the religious superiors

for a specific region. During the General Chapter, the

Chapter members elect a superior general and his four-

member council who will help him to oversee the work

of the Marians all over the world.

The General Chapter usually takes about two to

three weeks to complete. The Chapter members listen

to and discuss reports given by the various superiors

on the progress of their provinces and vicariates over

the past six years. The life of the religious community

is analyzed and discussed. We talk about whether the

Lord might be calling us to open a new mission else-

where. Marians from all over the world can offer pro-

posals that will be voted on and perhaps adopted as

decrees or recommendations for the Congregation.

During this next Chapter, the

Marian Constitu- tions,

which are our rule of life, will be discussed.

A commission has been meeting in Rome over the

last six years to prepare proposals on possible changes

to update our Constitutions. A two-thirds majority

vote by the Chapter members is needed to make any

changes to the Constitutions, and from there we need

the approval of the Holy See. We always hope that

any such changes will better express our charism —

the gift of our identity as a community that God has

given us through our Founder. The Marian charism

involves devotion to the

mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prayer for the souls in Purgatory,

and assistance to diocesan

priests in the apostolic works of the Church.

The Marian Constitutions state that the purpose

of the General Chapter is primarily to protect the

patrimony of the Congregation. This includes our

history, our traditions, our properties, and all that

we have inherited from the Marians who have gone

before us. Our Congregation has existed for more

than 300 years, and so we must plan and organize

so that we can continue into the future, if it is the

Lord’s holy will. The Chapter should represent the

entire Congregation and express the fraternal unity

in charity of all the members and their concern for

the common good. The General

Chapter is a way of opening our lives

to the movement and guidance of

the Holy Spirit. I have participated

in three General Chapters, and it is

always a powerful experience.

I ask you to pray for our

Congregation as we prepare for this

important moment in our history.

May we be open to the guidance

of the Holy Spirit! Amen.

F

ollowing the joyous

canonization

of our Marian Founder,

St. Stanislaus Papczynski,

on June 5 in St. Peter’s Square, the members of our General

Curia have had the opportunity to attend Masses of Thanksgiving in

various countries.

THE NEXT CHAPTER

Father Joe Roesch, MIC, i

s the vicar general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate

Conception. He lives in Rome.

M

arian

H

elper

• W

inter

2016-17

  •

marian.org

7

Fr. Joe’s message