Saturday, 2 July 2011

Gathering for Chapter

On Sunday 3 July over 90 Irish Franciscan friars will gather in Gormanston College, Co Meath, for our Provincial Chapter. This week-long gathering takes place every three years.  On Monday we elect the person who will lead us as Minister Provincial. Then we choose a Vicar Provincial and  Definitors, men who will assist the Provincial in his role.

During our time together we will reflect on the past three years, discuss the reality of the Church and society in Ireland today and, in light of that reality, plan for the future. It will be a full week. I am hoping the rain stays away so that we can get some fresh air between sessions walking the wonderful grounds.

The most positive part of the week  for me, I expect, will come from just being together. When we gather in such numbers there is a real sense of brotherhood - in the common prayer beautifully celebrated, and in the good craic,  lots of chat and banter.

We simply enjoy being together. Francis would be happy about that. He said the friars should love each other more than a mother loves her child since our bond is formed by our unity in the Spirit - we are brothers in the Lord. Looking back on his life the saint wrote: 'The Lord gave me brothers.'

So when the friars start gathering tomorrow from all over the country I know in faith these men are the brothers God's providence has chosen for me. It is God's call on our lives that unites us.

May the Spirit of the Lord be our light and encouragement during the coming days.