Convocation of the General Chapter of the Order
To all the brothers of the Order
Dear Brothers in Christ and Saint John of God,
I am writing to convoke the 70th General Chapter pursuant to article 84 of the Constitutions and article 118 of our General Statutes.
The Chapter will be held from 15 October to 7 November 2024 in Częstochowa (Poland). The venue will be the Arche Hotel, very close to the shrine of Our Lady. The address is Ul. Olenki 20, 42-200 Częstochowa, tel. +48/22 319 80 80, (www.Arche.pl).
After consulting the Provincial Superiors, the General Definitory chose to convene the Chapter in Częstochowa, next to the Shrine of Our Lady. We believe that this is a sign of fraternity, support and solidarity with the Polish Province, and in particular with the Drohobycz Community (in Ukraine), who are living through, and suffering first hand from the war, and who very deeply involved as Hospitallers in providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the war. In view of the freezing cold weather in Poland in January and February, pursuant to article 118a of the General Statutes, the General Definitory decided to bring the Chapter forward by a few months.
The theme of the Chapter will be: “HOSPITALITY IN A CHANGING WORLD”. For years now, we have been living through and witnessing major changes in the world in general, and in the life of the Church and our own Order in particular. Changes are occurring with ever-increasingly speed and ever more profoundly, throwing down major challenges to which we are obliged to respond without delay.
A General Chapter is always a spiritual event of the utmost importance for our Hospitaller Family of Saint John of God. We also want it to be a synodal experience, in line with what the Church is asking of us precisely at this time. All of us who belong to this great Family are being called to walk together, actively and positively listening to one another, and above all listening to the Holy Spirit who must lead and shed light on the path we need to take in order to rise to the challenges which our charism and our mission of Hospitality are currently confronting, in all the different places and cultures in which it is present.
This synodal journey demands a bold, responsible and hopeful response from us. This is why we intended to adopt some of the suggestions made by the participants at the last Chapter in 2019, to make provision for a preparatory phase with the broadest possible participation, starting with the Regional Conferences we convened last year, as a starting point for this Chapter process, and which is being continued in the so-called "sensing" groups that are working in all the Provinces. This will not only ensure wider participation, but it will also give the Chapter a global vision, offering a good number of concerns, anxieties and hopes to be addressed and discerned in the light of the Holy Spirit.
this present juncture we need a General Chapter based on the criteria indicated above of active listening, prayer and spiritual discernment, which will address the issues currently challenging our very identity as Religious, our mission in what is often an inhospitable and unsupportive world, and our facilities and structures, which have to be in keeping with the present moment.
We have chosen to work through all the phases of the General Chapter, from the preparation to the Chapter itself and the post-Chapter stage, using a different methodology this time, which was explained in forums at the beginning of the preparatory phase. It is a methodology based on the criteria just mentioned. Matthieu Daum, a lay consultant, who will be the Moderator-Facilitator of the General Chapter, is assisting us throughout the whole process. The Preparatory Commission appointed at the time and coordinated by the General Councillors, Brothers Joaquim Erra and Pascal Ahodegnon, has been working with him for more than a year.
The Commission has also been appointed to handle the logistics for the Chapter, coordinated by Brother André Sène, the Secretary General, and Brother Jose Augusto Gaspar Louro, the General Councillor and Bursar. Later on, they will be sending us all the information we need to ensure the smooth running of the Chapter and will be available to attend to any needs that the Capitulars might have.
In addition to playing our part in this preparatory phase of the Chapter, as members of the Hospitaller Family of Saint John of God we are all being called upon to keep the intentions of the Order and of the General Chapter in our prayers, asking the Lord, through the intercession of Saint John of God, to enlighten and accompany the deliberations of the Chapter.
Let us commend our 70th General Chapter to Our Lord, and invoke the help and intercession of Our Lady of the Patronage, Saint John of God and all our saints and blesseds, to lead our Hospitaller Family onward to enable us to reap the desired fruits.
With our fraternal best wishes, united in the Hospitality of Saint John of God.
Brother Jesús Etayo
Brother André Sène
- The election of the Vocals must begin immediately upon receipt of this letter. You must carefully comply with the provisions of Article 85 of the Constitutions and Article 120 of the General Statutes, as well as those indicated in the Handbook (for the use of the Provincial Secretaries), pp. 24 ff. in German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Polish; pp. 25 ff. in English; pp. 26 ff. in French;
- The Provincial Superiors are kindly requested to acknowledge receipt of this convocation. The receipt and all matters concerning the election of the Vocals should be sent to the General Secretariat of the Order by mail or email. We also need to know the name of the Co-worker who will be attending the Chapter for the sessions established by the General Definitory.
- This letter must be read publicly in each one of our communities. Please make sure that all the brothers are acquainted with it before filing it.
- The House where the Chapter will be held will be available from Monday 14 October until Friday 8 November, inclusive.
- Although the complete and detailed programme will be sent out at a later date, we would like to inform you that the Co-workers will attend the Chapter from 15 to 24 October. The participation of the Co-workers in the General Chapter is regulated by Article 102a (The General Definitory appoints the Co-workers to participate in the General Chapter, acting on the proposal of the Provinces) and Article 120e of the General Statutes.
- Please note that a web page is now available where you can access all the information concerning the General Chapter.: www.generalchapter-2024.org