From June 14 to June 18, 2010, I presided at the Ordinary Chapter of the Pennsylvania Province. There was a wonderful, fraternal spirit among the 94 official delegates and the numerous guest-friars who attended the Chapter. The Province chose to reflect during the Chapter on the four core values of the Capuchin life mentioned in the General Minister's fourth circular letter, Let Us Fan the Flame of Our Charism, namely, fraternity in minority, contemplation, closeness to the poor and continuing renewal. In preparation for the Chapter, the friars of the Province met in regional assemblies during the past twelve months to discuss their experiences of these values and how they wanted to live them more deeply in the future. At the Chapter itself, the friars met in small groups to discuss the topics further and to formulate suggestions for the new definitory. The groups came up with many practical, yet challenging ideas for helping the Province live these values more authentically.
The liturgies and the moments of prayer during the Chapter were also well-planned. For lack of a suitable retreat center large enough to accomodate the Chapter, it was held at a conference center. Despite the lack of a real chapel, the space created for the liturgies was quite prayerful. The musicians and liturgists helped to create a prayer spirit during the Chapter, which no doubt contributed greatly to the overall sense of peace and fraternity that I sensed.
Congratulations to the new Provincial Council that was elected. May they be blessed in this fraternal ministry for which they have been chosen.