|The 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
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
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
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.