Bangalore – The Third Provincial Chapter of the Divine Providence Province was not only a time of meetings, work groups and discussions, it was a time for confreres to grow in a ‘bond of charity’ and with a sense of belonging and direction for the future of the Province. The meetings, scheduled for January 12-17th, were opened, in the evening of January 12th, by Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Provincial Superior, invoking the Holy Spirit and His Seven Gifts and the singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus and the second year novices of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence (DSMP) performed a native dance. His opening address, in which he welcomed the assembly in five languages, reminded everyone of the many blessings for us in the beginning of this New Year of 2015, including the Provincial chapter itself and the Year for Consecrated Life. He welcomed Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, the chapter assembly, the DSMP’s, who hosted the event, and the 4th Year Theologians who were assisting during the chapter. After this opening of the Chapter, the officers were elected as moderators, secretaries and tellers. The real work of the chapter was ready to begin.
For the following five days, the assembly members heard and discussed the Provincial’s report, the financial reports and engaged in group work. The real focus was important day-to-day issues affecting the province and the confreres: Vocation Promotion/Formation, Community Life, Mission as well as the theme of the chapter in the aspects of the Bond of Charity, Sense of Belonging and Fraternal Correction. Through the group work, their subsequent reports and assembly discussions some concrete motions and proposals were drafted on the topics.
Another task of the assembly was to go over the draft statutes of the province and to make any necessary changes to duties or guidelines. Once this full document was reviewed and updated, the changes were adopted by the assembly. The fruit of the group work was given over to a small team to develop a draft of motions and proposals for the chapter and these were reviewed and edited by the assembly. The final day of the Chapter was a day for any final edits and voting on the motions and proposals and the assembly adopted thirty-five (35) motions and proposals that have been submitted to the General Council. During closing remarks, Fr. Soosai expressed his gratitude for all the work that had been accomplished and for the ‘renewal of prayer and the bond of charity’ and then the Provincial Superior celebrated a closing Eucharistic Liturgy.
Though a great portion of the Provincial Chapter meant a lot of hard work and thought, the confreres were also blessed with moments of beauty, song, dance, prayer and fraternal solidarity and left with the feeling that the blessings Fr. Rathinam spoke of were added to through the fruits of the celebration of this Third Divine Providence Provincial Chapter.