41st General Assembly
The 41st General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission will take place in 2010.
Reclaim our heart, creative fidelity to the Mission
“Faithful to the gospel... attentive to the signs of the times... open up new ways and use new means... remain in a continual state of renewal” (cf. C. 2).
June 2-5, 2009 New York
Letter of announcement
October 7, 2008
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with us always!
The members of the Preparatory Committee are writing to inform you of the details for Provincial Assembly 2009. The Assembly, which is preparatory for the General Assembly in Paris in 2010, has as its theme Creative Fidelity to the Mission. This theme will weave its way through our days together as we look to the future, striving to foster and deepen our commitment to ministry and community life. Your participation is essential to the process and the discussion of several important issues.
We are being asked by the Preparatory Commission for GA 2010 to enter into a dynamic of dialogue. The confreres are being invited to talk about what is important for us and our life together. We are called to enter into a process of honest conversation as to what a confrere needs to remain faithful to his Vincentian vocation.
The following components will be part of the Assembly:
- Preparation of materials for the General Assembly of 2010
- Provincial business: Provincial’s Report, Treasurer’s Report, Ongoing Formation
- Planting of Seeds for the Provincial Plan for 2009 -2012
- Review of Provincial Norms and Ordinances
- Postulata for the General Assembly and the Province
In preparation for our Assembly, we ask that each house call at least two domestic assemblies (larger houses may need as many as four) between now and February 2, 2009.
Before December 15th, we ask that you attend to the following agenda items:
1. the present Provincial Norms and Ordinances (attached), 2. Postulata, if any, which affect the Province, and 3. Postulata for the General Assembly, according to the directives from Rome (attached). 4. According to Norm #16: the election of one member of the house to attend the Assembly as the “official” delegate of the house
The Preparatory Committee asks the Superior of each House to do the following:
- Ask each confrere in his house to submit written material concerning the first three agenda items at least two days before the scheduled domestic assembly.
- Give each confrere in his house a copy of the submitted written postulata from the confreres in the house prior to the domestic assembly.
- Forward the name of the elected confrere, the names of all confreres who wish to be delegates to the Assembly, and the written results of this agenda to Joe Agostino before December 15th at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax (718-452-3738), or by mail to St. John the Baptist Parish.
We suggest the following process for the domestic assembly dealing with these agenda items:
- Provide time for personal prayer.
- Provide time for discussion and vote on each of the present Provincial Norms and Ordinances noting at the end of each the number of confreres in favor, the number against, and the number of abstentions.
- Provide time for discussion and vote on each of the written postulata submitted by the confreres of the house noting at the end of each the number of confreres in favor, the number against, and the number of abstentions. Also, note the postulata, if any, that have been withdrawn.
- Provide time to elect an “official” delegate to the Provincial Assembly.
Please note that this process does not prevent an individual confrere from submitting his own postulata for the Provincial Assembly. The Preparatory Committee, however, strongly encourages an individual confrere to present his postulata to the domestic assembly for discussion and vote.
Before February 2, 2009, we ask that the confreres of your house enter into dialogue on the Reflection Questions sent from Rome (attached). This agenda for the Domestic Assembly invites the confreres to speak to one another about those core values which lie at the heart of their Vincentian vocation.
We ask you to send back to us a synthesis of your dialogue. In order to facilitate this, please name a confrere who will prepare the synthesis which will be sent back to the committee.
The synthesis should be a summary of what the confreres felt lay at the heart of the conversation. It is not a report (minutes) of the details of the conversation. It is a representation of the themes that were the foundation of the dialogue.
We suggest the following process for the domestic assembly dealing with these agenda items:
- Before the dialogue, confreres are asked to personally address reflection questions 10 – 12
- At the domestic assembly, the dialogue can focus on at least one question in each grouping of themes: evaluation since GA2004, ongoing formation, and creative fidelity to the mission. It is not necessary to answer every question.
- Present the synthesis to the house before sending it to the Preparatory Committee to see that all major themes have been represented.
- Forward the synthesis to Joe Agostino before February 2, 2009 at email@example.com, or by fax (718-452-3738), or by mail to St. John the Baptist Parish.
We will review the written responses developed by the domestic assemblies, organize the material and send it to the local houses in preparation for Provincial Assembly 2009.
Finally, please be aware that prior to opening the assembly you will be asked to declare your status as a voting member of the assembly according to Norm #16.1 which states, “All incorporated members are invited to attend and participate with the right to vote, provided that they are present from the beginning and remain for the duration of the assembly.”
Your cooperation is appreciated as we work together for the Province to develop and pass on our charism to future generations.
Let us continue to pray for one another as we forge a future full of hope!
Joseph Agostino, CM (chair) Kevin Creagh, CM Patrick Flanagan, CM John Freund, CM Patrick Griffin, CM Stephen Grozio, CM Michael Nguyen, CM Astor Rodríguez, CM
Guidelines for Preparatory Meetings
A Process for the “Reflection Questions”
The Preparatory Commission identifies four areas of reflection for the General Assembly: An Evaluation of the Progress from GA2004, Ongoing Formation, Creative Fidelity to the Mission, and an Invitation to Dialog with those outside the Congregation. We have divided the Reflection Questions into these four categories. Recognizing the creative freedom of the Provinces in dealing with these questions, we would like to offer one method of proceeding.
Before the Domestic Assemblies:
- Confreres are invited to address questions 10-12 by having individual conversations with the poor whom we serve, with those with whom we serve, and with the other members of the Vincentian Family.
- The individual confreres could then synthesize the results of these dialogues with the domestic assembly.
The Domestic Assembly:
- In several sessions, confreres could address one of the questions from each of the major areas of reflection (questions 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12). Thus, four questions.
- A local confrere could be asked beforehand to act as the synthesizer for these domestic assemblies—listening to the conversation and culling the important ideas.
- The synthesizer could later create a “report” which captures the spirit and direction of the conversation. This “report” could take many forms and involve different media. Perhaps, individuals could be invited to participate in the “report.”
The Provincial Assembly:
- The Province will create a Preparatory Commission for the Provincial Assembly. It will :*Taking into account the reports of the Domestic Assemblies, this Commission will determine the best method for the Provincial Assembly to acknowledge the successes in :*This Preparatory Commission will also study the syntheses received from the Domestic Assemblies and determine the best way to present these to the gathered Assembly. Perhaps with personal or visual presentations.
- Having considered the results of the Domestic Assemblies, the Provincial Assembly could then allow the Assembly to divide into three groups around the major themes of Ongoing Formation, Creative Fidelity, and Dialogue with Others. Each of these groups could converse in depth on the questions suggested.
- A member of each group could then present its best thinking to the entire Assembly and invite dialogue.
- The synthesizer/s would be attentive to the movement of the Assembly and gather the most important points of reflection. These could then be presented to the entire Assembly for comment and approval.
- Sometime after the Assembly, the synthesizer/s would prepare a “report” to be sent to the Preparatory Commission for the General Assembly with concrete suggestions and ideas.
Questionnaire - for Domestic and Provincial Assemblies
Evaluation of the road since the General Assembly 2004
- Revitalize our vocation. How did you concretely express (as individual, as local community, as province) the revitalization of your vocation since the General Assembly 2004?
- Reinvigorate our apostolic activities. When did the Spirit of God lead you (as individual, as local community, as province) to reinvigorate your apostolic activity? How did you concretely respond to the Spirit?
- Renew our community life. Saint Vincent called us to live “as dear friends” (see C 25, 1°): In what practical way did you respond to his call as indicated in the General Assembly 2004?
The theme of General Assembly 2010 Ongoing Formation
- The normative Vincentian texts (Constitutions, Statutes, Provincial Norms, etc.) should be a part of your growth as a Vincentian: How did you value them? To what extent do they prod you in your process of ongoing formation?
- Given the importance of personal motivation, what kind of experiences contributed to reinforce your desire to continue your formation?
- Do you have any experiences, ideas, suggestions or proposals to share?
- Article 2 of our Constitution invites us to a “creative fidelity to the mission.” Knowing that Jesus Christ, who is the rule of our mission, is the center of our lives and activities (cf. C 5), what can we concretely do in the next six years:
- a.to respond to the demands of fidelity to the gospel as followers of Jesus Christ, evangelizer of the poor.
- b.to respond to the signs of the times as people of the 21st Century
- c.to open up new ways and new means as new men
- d.to respond to the “calls of the Church” as her sons
- The Congregation of the Mission is spread throughout the world and has remarkable human and financial resources. How can we respond to the needs of today’s world with increasing speed and flexibility? What structural changes do you think are needed for effective creativity?
- For a long time in our Congregation we have been talking of reconfiguration: a term that can carry different meanings. Our Constitutions (n. 2) invite us to carefully revise and coordinate works and ministries in order to be in a state permanent renewal: Do you have successful experiences in the process of reconfiguration (at a provincial level, in apostolic activities, with financial resources, etc.) that you want to share?
Invitation to dialog with others
- With the poor: Since we not only evangelize them, but are also evangelized by them (cf. C 12, 3°), what do they tell you about themselves, their condition, and their needs (we invite you to make use of pictures, videos, as well as stories told with their very words)?
- With dynamic apostolates: What new forms of apostolates have struck you in these past few years for their dynamism and creativity? What contributed to their success?
- With the Vincentian Family: What can other members of the Vincentian Family teach us? To what do they prompt us?
Preparation for Postulatum
Indications for the Presentation of Postulates to the General Assembly
- 1.- Every missionary, community, province or region of the Congregation of the Mission has the legitimate right to send its wishes, suggestions and petitions to the General Assembly (cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 631, 3°).
- 2.- Not every wish, suggestion or petition presented to the General Assembly is, per se, a postulate. A postulate, properly so called, is every petition, desire or suggestion legitimately sent to the General Assembly by a physical or moral person of the Congregation, in view of the good of the entire Congregation or of almost the entire Congregation, be it according to the Constitutions and Statutes, be it against the Constitutions and Statutes, be it outside the Constitutions and Statutes, and which the General Assembly must treat.
Concretely, the following constitute material for a postulate:
- Requesting some modification in the Constitutions (cf. C. 137, 4°), or in the Statutes (cf. C. 137, 3°);
- Asking to have a Decree promulgated (cf. C. 137, 3°);
- Requesting the authentic interpretation of some point of the Statutes (cf. C. 137, 5°);
- Asking that the authentic interpretation of some point of the Constitutions be requested of the Holy See (cf. C. 137, 5°);
- Requesting a declaration of doctrinal or exhortative character;
- Requesting that the General Assembly include some particular theme in the project of the Congregation for the next six years.
3.- The General Assembly, as the supreme authority of the Congregation, has the right to determine which of those presented as postulates it desires to treat during the Assembly itself and which it does not, referring the latter, as it sees fit, to other forums (Superior General, General Council, Visitor, Provincial Council or Assembly, etc.).
4.- Before the General Assembly, the Preparatory Commission studies the postulates received and makes appropriate recommendations to the Assembly as to how those postulates should be studied, always safeguarding the right of the Assembly to discuss and study them as it wishes (cf. Directory of the General Assembly).
5.- Postulates are approved by an absolute majority of the valid votes, with the exception of those which suppose an amendment to the Constitutions or request an authentic interpretation which must be sent to the Holy See (cf. C. 137, 4° and 5°), for which a majority of two-thirds is required (cf. Directory of the General Assembly).
6.- To facilitate the work of the Assembly, it is helpful that the postulates be formed with attention to these formal criteria:
- Each postulate must be limited to presenting only one point and must be drafted on an independent sheet.
- The postulate must be written in a positive/declarative sense, in such a way as to allow one to pronounce clearly with a YES or a NO.
- Each postulate must be motivated in a clear and precise way, distinguishing between the postulate properly so-called and its motivation. The name of persons or communities (province or region) who present it must also be included in the presentation of the postulate.
- It is not convenient to be lavish in the presentation of postulates, nor to propose to the General Assembly that which could be the result of taking into account the principles of co-responsibility, unity in diversity, subsidiarity and decentralization (cf. C. 98).
- Look at the Past: Evaluation of the journey made from the 2004 General Assembly to today
- A Look at the Present: The “signs of the times” which challenge the Congregation of the Mission today
- A Look at the Future: Fidelity to the Mission
- Creative Ministries
- The Methodology of Systemic Change
- Ongoing Formation
- Dialogue with the Poor and the V. F.
Report of the Superior General
Voice of the Brothers
Provincial Assembly - Eastern Province
June 2-5, 2009 New York