November 2000

Volume 11, No. 7

Page 1

The Council of the Congregation - Santiago, Chile, Nov. 2000The Council of the Congregation is made up of the superior general, his council, the provincials, and the district superiors.  It is a way for our Congregation to think and to plan as an advisory body to the superior general; it is also a way for us to remind ourselves that we are an international Congregation.

The Council of the Congregation usually meets once each year.  The meeting is held in a different places so that we can see the different members, communities, and apostolates.

And so when the decree went forth that the meeting was to be in Chile, Brother Richard Critz (provincial of the South-West Province) and Father John Korcsmar packed the essential materials and left Central Texas.  They made their way to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport where they boarded a large plane for the 9:00 p.m. flight for Santiago.  At first they thought that they had boarded the wrong plane because it did not leave until almost 10:00 p.m.

After arriving in Santiago and making their way through immigration and customs, they were met by Father Fermin Donoso, the district superior of Chile.  He made sure that they arrived safe and sound at the retreat center run by the Schoenstatt Sisters.

Upon arrival Richard and John found the weather, well, chilly. Since Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, they are about to start their spring.  Although they are only one time zone over from Central Texas, there is a three hour difference in time.  Central Texas just fell back one hour, and Chile just sprang forward an hour.

The retreat center is made up of at least a dozen different buildings.  There is a central building with a chapel, conference room, dining room, work space, kitchen, etc.  Then the dorms are different buildings. 

When Richard and John arrived at the retreat center, there was a retreat going on.  A group of university students were there on a retreat with Communion and Liberation.  They all seemed very much into the retreat.  There were conferences followed by periods of silent reflection, and they were silent and prayerful during those times.

Men from the different areas were arriving on different days.  John and Richard had a few quiet days before the meetings actually began.  With people coming from many different areas, there was time to discuss what was going on in each area of the Congregation in an informal way. 

Sunday afternoon Richard informed John that it was teatime.  John went over to the place and was shocked to see they were serving tea.  He had made the assumption that it would be something like Second Vespers.  He thought for sure his friend Johnny Walker would be there, but he wasn't.  It was real tea!

At the Council of the Congregation, the wisdom of Holy Cross is brought together.  Overheard "You know what you got now; you don't know what's coming."  Brother Don Gibbs, provincial of the Midwest Province, noted that when we were wondering what might come for the next course.

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