Today the 42nd General Assembly began on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago, the first General Assembly outside of Europe — as well as your scribe’s first. The morning began with mass at the most beautiful church in Chicago — St. Vincent de Paul Church — with Fr. Gregory Gay, the Superior General, presiding, calling on the Congregation to “go out” and continue to bring the Good News to the poor. Afterwards, the Assembly gathered in our meeting space, taking a roll call and lifting up a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide our Assembly. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit came to help the delegates figure out how to use the electronic voting devices.
After Fr. Gay declared the assembly open, Ray Van Dorpe, the visitor of the Western Province of the United States, welcomed the delegates to Chicago on behalf of the confreres of the United States, recalling how it was 200 years ago that the Italian Vincentians began their journey here. The assembly officers were then elected: Corpus Delgado from the Province of Zaragoza as Secretary, Giuseppe Turatti from the General Curia as Vice-Secretary and Daniel Pilario from the Philippines, David Carmonda Morales from Zaragosa and Ziad Haddad from the Province of the Orient as the three moderators in English, Spanish and French.
Joaquin Gonzalez from the Preparatory Commission presented the directory, or the rules, for the assembly. Many questions were asked and clarifications about different translations before it was easily passed.
Then the Commission for Synthesis and Redaction was elected. These confreres will work to prepare the final document of the assembly. They are Lennoxie Lusabe from Kenya, Gabriel Naranjo Salazar from Colombia and Frederic Pellefigue from France.
To everyone’s surprise, the assembly was going ahead of schedule and so began meeting in small groups based on language to propose members of the Central Commission, who assist in coordinating and directing the assembly. They then voted on the slate of names to be chosen. Fr. Marcelo Manimtim, the president of Adamson University in the Philippines, was elected on the first ballot. On the second ballot, Fr. Miles Heinenof the Vincentian Solidarity Office, Christian Mauvaisof France and Fr. Tomaz Mavricof the Vice-Province of SS. Cyril and Methodius were elected. One last vote was taken before closing for the day and Fr. Joaquin Gonzalezof Madrid became the final member of the Central Commission.
So the first day is in the books and all went as smooth as possible, considering the varied backgrounds of the 111 delegates that were present today. So evening will pass and morning will follow for the second day.
Did you consider religious life? Did you consider becoming a missionary?