From Monday October 9 to Thursday October 12, the Provincial Chapter of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Great Britain and Ireland was held in Dublin. The Provincial Chapter was held at the same time as the synod on synodality in Rome, which is marked by a spirit of listening.
From Monday October 9 to Thursday October 12, the Provincial Chapter of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Great Britain and Ireland was held in Dublin. In addition to members of the GBI province, there were two observers: Father Stephen Huffstetter, General Councillor, and Brother Daniel Yemtsa of the SCJ province of Cameroon.
At the beginning of Provincial Chapter, Fr Hugh Hanley (Provincial Superior) remarked that our meeting was the very first since Covid 19, and it was an exceptional moment of reunion and celebration between the confreres. It was also a moment of listening and testimony for the province’s older confreres. The Provincial Chapter was held at the same time as the synod on synodality in Rome, which is marked by a spirit of listening.
The Provincial Chapter was an opportunity to diagnose the present and future of the GBI province, but also to look to the future with hope, thanks to a message of encouragement from the Superior General, Fr Carlos, played at the start of the meeting. The Provincial Chapter is an important moment in the life of the province and of the Congregation,” said Fr Carlos. He wished the meeting every success, as the SCJs of the GBI province gather to reflect on the present and future of the entity.
This gathering is a Kairos at a time when we need to renew our commitment to the Church, especially in Europe where mission is a real challenge. We need to reflect together on how we can offer ourselves to the Church and to society. Like a small seed, we need to find our place and grow where we are. The Congregation is ready to collaborate, but we need to dream and dream together,” continued Father Carlos.
The Provincial Chapter guidelines of the Provincial Directory served as the compass for this important meeting. Fr. Stephen Huffstetter’s address encouraged the members of the province and gave the state of the congregation in terms of membership and its development from north to south. In keeping with the synodal spirit, at the end of the chapter each confrere was given the opportunity to mention in one word what he would like to retain from this meeting.
The most important thing is that we’ve met as brothers, that we’ve listened to each other, that we’ve exchanged opinions, that we’ve had the spirit of building the province. We’re still active, and that’s the most important thing. We are an international province. The passion for our vision and our identity is the kind of debate about our identity that needs to happen more often. We’re encouraged to get together more often. We’ve had some happy times getting together as a province, sharing good news, experiences, and listening to other people’s points of view. It was an opportunity to express ourselves, a very convivial moment. It’s great to meet up with everyone after a very long break, the place was great, but it was realistic. Our hope is that this is the beginning of a vision, of a momentum to try to take courageous steps for the future. Thank you all for the joy and best wishes for the future. There was an energy, a kind of unity.
The closing mass dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was presided over by Father Stephen Huffstetter in the chapel at 66 Inchicore Road. During this mass, we prayed for our jubilarians, Father John Kelly, who celebrated 25 years of priesthood, and Father Bobby Mann, who celebrated 40 years of priesthood. God’s love grows in the community when we are aware that our Lord Jesus Christ is hidden in the community through every brother,” said Father Stephen. We now look forward to next year’s General Chapter in Rome, where our elected delegate, Father Marian Szalwa, and Provincial Father Hugh Hanley will represent us.