How is a general chapter prepared?

The pre-capitular commission has been working for the previous months to transfer the suggestions of the religious so that they can be treated in the 56th General Chapter in Rome.

The Constitutions of the Order of Augustinian Recollects indicate that ten months before the beginning of the chapter, the prior general, with the consent of his council, should appoint the members of the pre-capitular commission, which should be composed of one religious from each province. The members of the commission shall elect the president and secretary.” The pre-capitular commission is the team in charge of preparing the themes – presented in the document “instrumentum laboris” – to be discussed at the 56th General Chapter. On May 1, the team of four religious was appointed by the Prior General and, since then, has been working on listening to the concerns of the members of the Order and drafting the document.

The team is composed of the Augustinian Recollects Javier Tello, José Alberto Moreno, Raúl Adíval and Ernil Almayo. “The main function of the Pre-capitular Commission is that the voice of the religious be heard in the General Chapter”, affirms Javier Tello, president of the Commission. Among the functions described in the Constitutions are “to prepare and send out, nine months before the chapter, surveys and questionnaires to know the opinion of the religious” and “to elaborate an “instrumentum laboris”, taking into account the study carried out by the general council and the answers given by the religious, in order to concretize the guidelines that should guide the work of the brother capitulants”.

“The pre-capitular commission – Tello explains – is the way to guarantee that there is no interference from the government of the Order in the preparation of the chapter or the diagnostic.” In this way, the religious can express themselves freely and spontaneously, indicating without hesitation those things which, in their judgment, should be changed or the priorities by which the Augustinian Recollects should be governed in the coming years.

In summary, the work of the team is divided into three parts: the formulation of questions for the reflection of the religious, the analysis and summary of the responses collected, and the delivery of the final document.

Process

Once the team was appointed, the Commission divided up the tasks. On this occasion, unlike 2016, it was decided to prepare a monthly bulletin for the religious in which different topics would be addressed and questions for reflection and participation would be suggested, based on the data and the report on the state of the Order prepared by the Prior General. For this purpose, he was assisted by the Order’s Communications Office. In addition, specific consultations were carried out with groups of interest: educational centers, economic managers of the Order, members of the commissions or secretariats….

The work of the Precapitular Commission, in addition to asking the questions, consists in compiling the data. Absolutely all the answers are included in the final dossier that is given to the Prior General. “With these answers, the Commission establishes the lines of action that show the answers of the religious”, assures Javier Tello. Likewise, in the document the reflections of the Augustinian Recollects are arranged according to their relationship with each of the points of the Project of Life and Mission.

The final dossier, which was handed over to the Prior General in December 2021, includes: the official letter of appointment of the Commission, the minutes of all the meetings, the statistics of the consultation, the syntheses according to the chosen blocks, the bulletins sent and all the responses received.

From this document the Augustinian Recollect religious will begin their reflection and will make their decisions from March 1 at the 56th General Chapter of the Order.

All the information about 56th General Chapter