September 29, 2021
Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels
On April 5, 2021, Fr. Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, invited the provinces of the Congregation to convene a provincial chapter in 2022. Therefore, in accordance with Article 172 of the Constitutions, and after consultation with the provincial council, I call together a provincial chapter, beginning Sunday, July 10, 2022, and concluding Friday, July 15, 2022, to be held at the Don Bosco Retreat Center, Stony Point, NY.
With the full support of the provincial council and in keeping with Regulation 168, I am appointing Fr. Michael (Mike) Mendl, SDB, as the moderator of the provincial chapter. He proved his ability to serve the province in this way when he was entrusted with this role in 2019. Together, we thank Fr. Mike for obediently accepting this task again. To assist Fr. Mike, I appoint the following confreres to the preparatory commission:
- Br. Donald Caldwell
- Fr. Dennis Donovan
- Fr. Luc Lantagne
- Fr. David Moreno
- Fr. Steve Shafran
- Fr. Dieunel Victor
Regulation 163 indicates that the provincial is to determine the grouping of communities that have fewer than six confreres, for the purpose of electing the delegate to the provincial chapter and his substitute. I, therefore, announce that the following communities are to be grouped for the elections: East Boston and Washington, DC; Surrey and Edmonton; and Montreal and Sherbrooke.
Fr. Martoglio recognizes that the provincial chapter can be “a fruitful provincial chapter can be “a fruitful experience of communion, discernment, and practical convergence within the province community.” This fruitfulness, in part, is the result of active participation by each confrere and each provincial chapter can be “a fruitful experience of communion, discernment and practical convergence within the province community.” This fruitfulness, in part, is the result of active participation by each confrere and each local community in the preparation for the chapter. The regular meetings at the local level give us the opportunity to prayerfully look at our life as Salesian religious and listen carefully to God’s call in our present reality and respond generously. This is a privileged moment for us, in very practical ways, to make “the Valdocco option.” I am announcing the provincial chapter early in the year so the communities will have these nine months to engage in meaningful discussions in an unhurried way, ensuring the fruitfulness of the chapter. The preparatory commission will give you more specific directions about the number of community discussions, the questions to be discussed, and a timeline to follow.
GC28, the post-chapter reflection, and the Congregation’s action program all present again the need for SDBs to see themselves as co-responsible with lay colleagues for Salesian formation and mission. The director can find ways for the local community to invite young people and colleagues into the process of preparing for the provincial chapter. This might include shared moments of prayer, listening sessions, participating in the community discussions when appropriate, surveys, etc. The preparatory commission will recommend ways for the young, their families, colleagues, and members of the Salesian Family to be involved in the provincial chapter.
Next week in Salesian News, I will write to you about the themes to be considered at the provincial chapter. I take advantage of this letter to remind the confreres and communities to complete the surveys on the revision for Formation Ratio if you have not already done so.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels. May God’s providential care, manifest through the ministry of these heavenly spirits, guide us and protect us. And may Mary, Queen of Angels, be our teacher and help in renewing the Salesian charism in our province.
Fr. Timothy (Tim) Zak, SDB