2019 General Chapter
The Commission tasked with preparing the next General Chapter has just held its first session in Rome on 12-14 December, to prepare the groundwork for drafting the working document for the next General Chapter, defined as “the deepest expression of the Order’s charism”, which will convene in Rome on 14 January to 5 February 2019.
As required by the Constitutions of our Institute, the General Chapter is held every six years for Brothers representing every Province, to take stock of the state of the Order, study and propose new ways of manifesting the charism of Hospitality and to elect the new Superior General and his Council.
Opening the work of the Commission, Brother Jesús Etayo admitted that “two years of preparation may seem excessive, but it is necessary to prepare this Chapter in the best possible way because it cannot be a Chapter like all the others, for it must be an occasion in which to change the way we work, and an opportunity to look to the future. We have to begin this discernment process immediately, praying every day for this intention.” The theme chosen for the 2019 General Chapter is “Building the Future of Hospitality”.
Facing up to the fact that the structures of the Order are no longer able to meet the demands of the present, Brother Jesús invited the members of the Commission (6 Brothers and 3 laypersons representing the different regions of the Order), to show their mettle: “This Chapter must be an event that will bring about a major renewal of the Order, of the kind we experienced at the Chapters following the Second Vatican Council (…) We have to review our identity and mission, and have an overall vision of the Order, laying down the criteria which will enable us to set out a new vision of our Institute, attentive at all times to heeding what the Holy Spirit is expecting of us.”
It is obvious that the Superior General is appealing to the whole Order, Brothers and Co-workers alike, to make a major stride forward and to avoid standing still: “Hospitality is having major impact today, in terms of the Gospel, our charism and society, and will have the same impact into the future. This is why we must find new ways and new means of ensuring that the Order will rediscover its visibility. We can count on the example of the Saint John of God and all those who have preceded us along the path of courage, to ensure that we shall also be in readiness to go out to wherever the Lord is calling us”.
The 2019 General Chapter Preparatory Commission is therefore moving precisely in this direction, to set out and offer the Brothers a form of organisation and a methodology which will enable us to discern the core criteria for a new vision, looking ahead to the new proposals which will emerge from the General Chapter.