John O’Connor, one of more than 150 Franciscans participating in the Extraordinary Chapter in Assisi, describes the final week. The chapter’s closing ceremony on Oct. 1 is pictured.
This past week was spent in further discussion of the themes of the chapter, vocation, fraternity and mission. The last three days of the Chapter were spent finalizing the report of the Chapter and visiting the Rietti valley specifically Fonte columbo and Greccio. Our visits to these two special places in the life of Francis took place in the context of a day of recollection.
We all agreed that it was an excellent experience and a great way to bring the chapter to conclusion. We met over the two weeks in both large and small groups with the small group discussions being the most productive.
I am proud to say that a valuable section on the importance of partnering with the laity was added to the final chapter document as a result of the intervention of members of the English-speaking Conference.
An extensive account of the day-to-day happenings at the Chapter can be found on the Order’s Web site. In addition, I have written my own report of the chapter’s events which I will be sharing with the Council and the guardians of the province at upcoming meetings. I will ask the guardians, in turn, to share what they hear with the members of their communities.
All in all, some very good things happened at the chapter, but because the English Speaking Conference met the week before the chapter began, it made for a long and tiring three weeks.