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 ourCongregation’s history
and to help
more people come to know this new saint who has
proven to bea 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, theMarian 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 themystery 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.
ollowing the joyouscanonization
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
THE NEXT CHAPTERFather Joe Roesch, MIC, i
s the vicar general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate
Conception. He lives in Rome.
7Fr. Joe’s message