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Provincial Chapter - Closing address by Br. Peter Carroll


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30/09/2015: Australia



I want to sincerely thank you for these special days.

In all honesty I have to admit that I arrived here at the Chapter with a certain degree of anxiety and uncertainty about my new role and the years ahead; however that is not my prevailing feeling as we finish. Rather, I have a strong sense of anticipation and excitement.

And that is due to the openness I have sensed, the generosity I have encountered and the equanimity I have experienced.

I thank each and every one of you for that; for creating that sense of community and that spirit of receptivity – this Chapter has been a real experience of Brotherhood and of shared vision for the future! However I would like to especially acknowledge the work of the steering committee: John, Graham, Michael and the Chair, Anthony. This has been a very efficient and decisive Chapter. And I believe this is due in large part to the thorough preparation and planning and the very careful execution and operation of these days. Thank you for the time and creative energy you have brought to the process of shaping our second Chapter.

Our time together has been enriched by the dignified and meaningful prayers, liturgies and opportunities to share our faith. From the Commissioning Mass to this final Eucharist, all have been creative, well planned, and carefully conducted. Thank you Justin for crafting these so carefully. We have also been most fortunate to have a Chaplain of the calibre of Fr Tony Gittins. Thank you Tony for sharing these days with us, and for gifting us with your insight and wisdom. And once again thanks to Greg McDonald for the musical skills that have added immeasurably to our liturgies.

Michael Akers has looked after our other ‘spirit’ needs; thanks for the hospitality Michael. To all those who have chaired sessions, made presentations, offered insights ‐ sincere gratitude!

And of course there is our hard working, committed and efficient Secretarial Team: Matt Clarke, Greg McCrystal and Justin. It is not an easy task to keep recalcitrant technology operating, to provide accurate transcripts and respond to the requests of a range of presenters. Thank you for your patience and competence.

Our global consciousness has been enhanced by the presence of our international guests…special thanks to Terry Costello and Jean Marie for taking the time away from your own responsibilities and communities to contribute to our Chapter. We have appreciated you presence and contribution.

Similarly to our Vicar General, Joe McKee, who must live in a near state of constant jet‐lag. A brother among brothers we have valued the effort you have made to be here Joe, for your insights into our Institute and for the warmth of your presence.

And of course thanks to Bill and Bob and the entire team here at The Hermitage. Once again you have all excelled at making us feel at home and looking after us in a 5 star way!!

Brothers, over these days we have spoken about doorways to the future. We have identified and explored these spaces. Indeed these openings to the future are the real gift of this Chapter to the Council and the Province...

‐ Our Marist Association
‐ Mysticism
‐ Presence to the Peripheries
‐ Brotherhood in community
‐ Internationality.

These are clear, specific, unambiguous directions you have given us, and as Joe McKee said earlier today they are very much aligned with the Institute’s priorities.

I sense in fact that we are gathered at these doorways, we are on their threshold…ready to step through…into something new…

But of course doorways are not expansive…we can’t all fit through at the same time… Some of our Brothers are ready, in fact some have already entered and are on the other side saying “what’s kept you? What are you waiting for”?

Others we will have to encourage…there are some we will have to help through these doorways, especially those who are in one way or another, or for some reason, immobilised.

And that is the task as delegates we take away with us: to go back to our ministries and communities… to explain, encourage, challenge and invite, so that we all move forward.

But we will have to be patient…in some cases very patient; conversion can be a slow process. What is the path that’s led to this doorway?

It’s been a long one, at times a circuitous one, at points we’ve had magnificent vistas, at other points we’ve travelled through deep valleys; at times it’s been rocky and rough, anything but smooth…

But no matter what the terrain the path has continued…we have kept faith with the original intuition, have remained faithful to Marcellin’s passionate vision.

Now we are at this doorway: what’s on the other side?

Well we can’t know for sure…it’s not entirely new, but it is unpaved! And we will need to work together to pave it, to smooth it and to navigate it…we will need to trust in Him who leads us along his way…but as we’ve had prayed so often: “what need we fear with the Lord at hand?”

Thank you for helping to identify these doorways to our future. I look forward to your continued collaboration in making our destination clear and our path to it unencumbered…

Safe home and God bless.

Peter Carroll - Provincial

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