Sunday, 10 July 2011

Leadership: He gives me strength

Hugh, our new Provincial Minister, and Cletus at Chapter
After several full days gathered together our Chapter drew to a close on Friday.  At the end of the concluding Eucharist the Book of the Gospels and the Rule of St Francis were placed on the altar. 

Each of the nearly 90 friars present approached and placed his hands on the sacred texts, silently rededicating himself to live the Franciscan life and mission that is our calling. Then he received a Tau Cross, so beloved of St Francis,  from Hugh McKenna, our new  Provincial Minister. It was a simple moment of grace for each of us.

Hugh was chosen by the friars with a resounding majority. He begins with a great deal of prayerful good will. Many friars commented on the heavy burden this cheerful, outgoing man now takes on. Leadership is never easy and in the Church today has its own particular challenges.

But speaking to his brothers Hugh was clear that while aware it would not always be smooth sailing ahead he was not fearful. He told us that during a particular dark period of his life he was sustained by repeating the promise of  Scripture: 'I can do all things in the power of him who gives me strength.'  With that trust in God's goodness and grace at work in our lives and Church he  takes up his task.

St Francis prayed often that the grace of  the Spirit of the Lord be especially active in the 'ministers and servants' chosen by the brothers. May Hugh experience the reality of that empowering presence.