Brothers from the Lasallian Regions of Latin America and North America who will attend the 46th General Chapter now have a greater understanding of each other’s lived realities following a three-day virtual gathering held January 17-19. The meeting offered the capitulants opportunities to get to know one another, learn about each other’s experiences with mission and community, and share their perspectives on priorities identified in the soon-to-be-published Report of the Brother Superior General. Moved from an in-person gathering due to the pandemic, the meeting took place over six online sessions with interpretation offered in English and Spanish.
“The meeting was an opportunity for the Brothers to share the realities, concerns and visions for the Lasallian mission. In spite of the challenges before us, the virtual gathering was an uplifting affirmation of our shared vocation,” said Brother Chris Englert, Midwest District Auxiliary Visitor.
The realities shared by representatives from each Region and District included their ministry types and locations, along with experiences with association, shared leadership, serving the poor and formation. They also discussed challenges, like developing visions for the future, making education accessible and sustainability.
“Having the time to consider the realities of two of the five Regions of the Institute with eyes of faith fills one with hope to continue building the Kingdom of God, through De La Salle’s vision, in the world of education,” said Brother Jeanpierre Zambrano Palma, FSC, Visitor of the Lasallian District of Norandino. “And one can find the charism’s vitality in co-existing together as Brothers and Partners for the sake of the Lasallian educational mission.”
In looking to the future, the Brothers addressed the question: “What urgent needs do we foresee for the Institute in the future, in the short, medium, and long term, related to the two priorities set by Brother Superior and the General Council: Association for Mission, Leadership and Governance?” The discussion included topics of the importance of formation for Brothers and Lasallian Partners, Lasallian pedagogy and Lasallian spirituality, and further committing to serving to the poor as a way to bring about systemic changes that fight to end poverty. They also shared their dreams for the future, which included focusing on hope rooted in community and spirituality and being creative in responding to new needs of young people.
“The meeting was a wonderful opportunity to meet the capitulants to the 46th General Chapter. It provided the opportunity to recognize relevant issues in both Regions, as well as the strengths and challenges of the Lasallian family in the Americas,” said Brother Carlos Manuel Castañeda Casas, FSC, Visitor of the District of North Mexico. “It helped me to get to know the realities of the Districts of North America and be more aware about concerns experienced by Brothers in RELAL and RELAN. I believe that the Chapter is called to open new pathways, especially with regard to networking in the Lasallian family, as well as in the areas of leadership, animation and government.”
“The virtual gathering was an important part of the Chapter process,” said Brother Robert Schaefer, FSC, Visitor of the District of Eastern North America. “Opportunities like this strengthen our association and help to begin the development of a common understanding of opportunities and challenges facing the mission and the vitality of our vocation. Hearing some of the lived experiences of the Brothers from across two Regions helped to begin the discernment process of what kind of leadership is needed for the years ahead. There is still much work to be done at the Chapter but this is a good start.”
The 46th General Chapter is scheduled to take place May 1-22, 2022, at the Generalate in Rome. It was postponed from May 2021 due to the pandemic. The Brothers from RELAN who will participate in the General Chapter are:
- Brother Michael Andrejko, FSC (District of Eastern North America)
- Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC (General Councilor)
- Brother Chris Englert, FSC (Midwest District)
- Brother Michael Fehrenbach, FSC (Midwest District)
- Brother Richard Galvin, FSC (District of Eastern North America)
- Brother Florent Gaudreault, FSC (District of Francophone Canada)
- Brother Nick Gonzalez, FSC (District of San Francisco New Orleans)
- Brother Donald Johanson, FSC (District of San Francisco New Orleans)
- Brother Ernest Miller, FSC (District of Eastern North America)
- Brother Dylan Perry, FSC (Midwest District)
- Brother Robert Schaefer, FSC (District of Eastern North America)
- Brother Robert Schieler, FSC (Superior General)
The General Chapter is normally held every seven years and evaluates the life of the Institute, provides for its continuing adaptation and renewal, and sets out the main guidelines for future action. In addition, the Chapter elects the Brother Superior General and the Brother General Councilors (Rule, 112). The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools has provided a website with materials to explain the various aspects of the Chapter and the preparation that is required. Check the website for updates and search #FSC46GC on social media for the latest.
We thank Brother Chris Patiño, FSC, who served as secretary for this gathering, for his contributions to this story.